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Charities Aid Foundation's Giving Thought podcast explored the big issues, themes and news stories relating to philanthropy and the work of civil society. 

This podcast is no longer produced.


Nov 12, 2019

In episode 60 we look at the relationship between philanthropy, diveristy and inclusion, and in particular at what we can learn from the historic role that philathropy has played in campaigns for social change about some of its strengths and weaknesses when it comes to driving greater diversity and inclusion. Including:


  • Overcoming the ‘tyranny of the majority’: philanthropy and civil society plurality as a means of giving voice to minorities
  • Is philanthropy particularly good at accepting the political and reputational risks required to support unpopular or marginalised causes and bring them into the mainstream?
  • Does philanthropy have a longer-term time horizon than the public or private sector, and does this make it better at sticking with issues?
  • Does the fact that philanthropy is not accoutable to voters or shareholders make it able to take the risks necessary to drive social change?
  • Why should we be alarmed about suggestions that philatropy should be measured against public opinion?
  • Can appreciating the historic campaigning role of philanthroypy and civil society help us to counter current political anitpathy and the worrying “closing space for civil society” around the world?
  • Why is the process of philanthropy important, as well as the outcomes it produces? Can it teack people vital civic skills, or create greater social cohesion?
  • Is philanthropy too paternalistic, and too often about decisions being made about marginalise communities rather than by them?
  • Can philanthropy obscure the need for more radical reform?
  • Why is the disctinction between charity and justice so important?
  • Can philanthropy lead to ‘hyper-pluralism’, where vast range of smaller idenitiy groups emerge and end up obscuring the bigger picture of an issue?
  • The history of the anti –slavery movement: long-termism and creating a borad base of support
  • The fight for civil rights: how did philanthropists go against the status quo, and how do institutions interact with movements?
  • Women’s rights: what role did philathropy play in paving the way for universal suffrage, and did it also work against women’s fight for the vote?
  • LGBTQ+ rights: the battle between pragmatism vs idealism, and does mainstream funding bring legitimacy as well as financial support?
  • Disability Rights: “nothing about us without us” and the importance of giving marginalised communities power to claim their rights, rather than relying on charity.


Related Content

-Rhod’s Presentation slides on Philanthropy, Diversity & Inclusion

-“Does Philanthropy Help or Hinder Democracy?”, Giving Thought blog

-“Innovation, discovery and the legitimacy of philanthropyGiving Thought blog

-“Working on Commission: Some thoughts on the Charity Commission's new strategic plan” Giving Thought blog

- Our Giving Thought podcast interview with Megan Ming Francis on “Philanthropy, Civil Rights & movement capture” (and Megan’s paper “The Price of Civil Rights: Black Lives, White Funding and Movement Capture”)

-Our GT podcast on “Philanthropy & Women

-Our GT podcast interview with Rob Reich

-Kristin Goss’s paper on philanthropy and the feminist movement

-LGBT Funders paper on “40 Years of LGBT Philanthropy 1970-2010

-The British Library, “A short history of LGBT rights in the UK

-Merseycare, “A Disability History Timeline