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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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Dec 5, 2017

In episode 15 of the Giving Thought podcast, “Hollywood philanthropy”, Rhod and Adam (in his last appearance) look at the relationship between philanthropy and celebrity. Topics covered include:

  • Where are the great movies about philanthropy? The history of philanthropy is full of colourful characters and inspiring stories, yet there have been very few if any movies about the great philanthropists. Why is this? Could the new ‘Golden Age of Television” heralded by Netflix, Amazon Prime et al change this?
  • The film biz and philanthropy: Who are the great film star philanthropists? Does the modern tendency to highlight charitable activity through PR risk undermining credibility? Can films themselves be used to further philanthropic aims?
  • Is celebrity support a double-edged sword? For charities, having a big name star on board can be a real blessing if they are genuine and committed, but what if that person turns out to be a poor ambassador. Recent scandals over the historical misconduct of many celebrities have also and highlighted the long-term risks that can come with partnering with celebrities. What does this mean for charities looking to use star power?



Related Giving Thought content:


-Lights, Camera, Altruism: Philanthropy at the movies


-Killing Them With Kindness: Philanthropy as a Weapon


-The Life Philanthropic: Angela Burdett-Coutts


-Ice, Ice, Baby: Is the Ice Bucket Challenge bad for charity?