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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.

Aug 31, 2017

In episode 8 of the Giving Thought podcast, Rhod and Adam look at the long and complicated relationship between philanthropy and education, including:


  • Charitable status of UK public schools: we look at the ongoing controversy over the charitable status of fee-paying schools in the UK. What is the history behind the definition of “educational purposes” in charity law? How do we interpret “public benefit” for public schools?


  • The US Charter School movement: we explore the role that philanthropy has played in the growth of the charter school model in the US, and why this has raised questions about philanthropic legitimacy. We look at the controversial intervention of donors like Mark Zuckerberg in the New Jersey school system, and what we can learn from it.


  • Universities: we look at the rich history of the relationship between philanthropy and universities. We consider the role that giving played in opening up higher education to the masses, and the current landscape of giving to universities in the US and UK, in which mega-donations are becoming the norm.


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