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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

Finally, please subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or your podcast provider of choice.

Feb 12, 2019

Episode 43 is an Oscars special! We explore philanthropy at the movies: what films there are about philanthropy (if any), what insight they can offer, and some ideas for future films that could be made. Topics covered include:

  • Why aren’t there any genuinely great portrayals of philanthropy or the big questions it raises on film?
  • Fictional philanthropists in movies
  • The philanthropist as plot device or cinematic shorthand
  • Do comic book adaptations offer the most insightful portrayal of philanthropy issues in the movies?
    • Is Tony Stark (Iron Man) an example of the challenge of doing good with tainted money?
    • What does X Men’s Charles Xavier tell us about enlightened self-interest?
    • Is The Marvel Avengers: Civil War storyline really about the tension between philanthropic liberty and democratic accountability?
    • Does Black Panther highlight the challenges of issue-based vs place-based identity in philanthropy?
    • Is Thanos an effective altruist?
  • Pitching some of the great philanthropic stories we could tell on film:
    • Carnegie, Rockefeller and the Walsh Commission
    • Julius Rosenwald and the Civil Rights Movement
    • Angela Burdett-Coutts and Charles Dickens: the philanthropic odd couple
    • William Rathbone: head vs heart
    • James Oglethorpe and the founding of the State of Georgia
    • John Howard: the grumpy Indiana Jones of philanthropy



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