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Welcome to the Giving Thought Podcast, a bi-weekly exploration of trends in global philanthropy and civil society from the Charities Aid Foundation’s in-house think-tank, Giving Thought.

In each episode your host Rhodri Davies (formerly with co-host Adam Pickering) explores a big issue, theme or trend and analyses what it means for philanthropy and civil society around the world.

Be sure to check the show notes for each podcast and find blogs, reports and videos from Giving Thought and do get in touch if you have questions or suggestions at

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Oct 15, 2019

In episode 58 we talk to Jim Minton, CEO of Toynbee Hall- the UK's oldest university settlement and an East End of London institution that has also played a key role in wider social reforms. We discuss the role of local civil society organisations and the opportunities and challenges that come with place-based philanthropy. Including:

  • The history of Toynbee Hall
  • Are enough charities today playing a role as drivers of social reform?
  • Have recent changes such as the Lobbying Act or the use of advocacy clauses in grant contracts made this harder?
  • Can the successes of place-based initiatives inform activities or policymaking at a regional or national level? How can organisations based in one place ensure they ‘influence upwards’?
  • Is “place” more complex than it is sometimes presented? I.e. at what geographic level do we feel a sense of belonging or identity?
  • How do you coordinate philanthropy and voluntary action in a particular place without stifling it?
  • Are place-based organisations particularly well-suited to adopting participatory approaches?
  • What is the particular importance of shared physical space and community buildings in a local area?
  • Does taking a place-based, rather than cause-based approach make it easier to address the multiple, cross-cutting needs of people and communities?
  • Do you think people and communities always have the best answers to their own problems, or do they sometimes need organisations to act for them in their own best interest?
  • What role can philanthropy and voluntary action play in building bridging social capital, bringing diverse communities together or fostering wider civic engagement?


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