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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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Jan 30, 2018

In episode 18 of the podcast, Rhod takes a look at the relationship between philanthropy and technology. Including:


  • Supporting technology: How has philanthropy has supported the development of new technologies over the years? We look at the rich history of the Rockefeller Foundation’s Department of Natural Sciences and the growth of the open source movement. We also consider the blurred lines between long-term tech investment and philanthropy, and the “moonshot” approach of Silicon Valley figures like Elon Musk.


  • Harnessing Technology: How have philanthropic organisations used new technologies to further their missions? We consider some current examples of “Tech for Good”, and take a brief detour into the history of Victorian chimney sweeps to see how similar approaches have been used in the past.


  • Challenging Technology: New technologies may have negative as well as positive impacts, and charitable organisations are often required to play a part in addressing these problems. What new social and environmental challenges might disruptive technologies pose in the future, that charities will be called upon to help solve? What role can philanthropy play now in helping to avoid some of the potential downsides of new technology?



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