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Field Notes in Philanthropy

A podcast from the Johnson Center and WGVU Public Media

Philanthrōpía: love for mankind.  When we say “philanthropy,” we’re including the entire ecosystem of nonprofit workers, organizations, donors, foundations, and volunteers who make up the social sector in the United States.

One in ten American workers is employed by the nonprofit sector, but it seems that most philanthropy in this country happens off the front page. We still struggle to talk about the impact of philanthropy — on elections, on policy, on communities — but we’re living it every day. So we started a podcast to host these conversations, to explore the places where politics, current events, and philanthropy meet.

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Our Hosts
Patrick CenterPatrick Center, WGVU
Matthew DowneyMatthew Downey, Johnson Center
Tory MartinTory Martin, Johnson Center
Header: Podcast Episodes
Episode 5: 'This One Counts'
The 2020 U.S. Census is at a “high risk” for failure, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Given that the decennial Census is how our government divvies up Congressional representatives, federal program dollars, and a host of other assets, a failed Census could spell chaos for our country. And for the nonprofit sector.

Philanthropy has played a key role in previous censuses, providing the resources and know-how to mobilize community groups, neighbors, and businesses to help ensure an accurate count. Perla Ni, founder and CEO of the Census Outreach Project, and Kyle Caldwell, Executive Director of the Johnson Center for Philanthropy, join the hosts to talk about what nonprofits can do this time around.

Published June 18, 2018

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Episode 4: 'That's a Lot of Letters'
The European Union just set the bar for digital data privacy. On May 25, 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect, giving internet users in the EU broad powers to monitor and control how organizations and businesses keep, manage, and use their personal data.

What’s more, the GDPR gives EU citizens rights to their data wherever it’s held — even if that’s in the United States. And in an era when organizations like Facebook and Cambridge Analytica are dominating headlines because of their misuse of personal data, the GDPR poses some compelling questions for U.S. privacy laws, nonprofit data management, and philanthropy in a global age.

Jason Bryce, Head of Risk and Compliance with the UK-based Charities Aid Foundation, joins the hosts for perspective.

Published May 24, 2018

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Episode 3: 'What's the Story?'
We set out to talk about how and why journalists and the media struggle to cover the news of philanthropy. What we discovered is that it’s often a struggle to cover anything at all. Since the 2016 election, U.S. philanthropy has woken up to the idea that fact-based, independent journalism might need their help — as long as there’s a strict editorial firewall in place.

Nina Sachdev, Communications Director for Media Impact Funders and Bruce DeBoskey, writer of the Denver Post nationally-syndicated column On Philanthropy, join the hosts to discuss a blossoming symbiotic relationship between the free press and the charitable sector.

Published April 25, 2018

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Episode 2: 'Sittin’ Here on Capitol Hill'
Philanthropy and policymaking came head-to-head in national conversations this winter during the tax overhaul debates. Among many others, foundation leaders and associations jumped in to advocate on behalf of the charitable sector. But many foundations have the means, the expertise, and the will to shape other kinds of public policy — the kinds that shape our communities, governance, and daily lives.

Vikki Spruill, President and CEO of the Council on Foundations, and Dr. Jason Franklin, W.K. Kellogg Community Philanthropy Chair at the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy, join us to explore the many ways foundations can get involved in shaping public policy, and whether or not they should.

Published March 14, 2018

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Episode 1: 'The Evolution of Philanthropy'
When the Greek titan Prometheus stole fire from the gods to give it to the struggling human race, Zeus accused him of being a “philanthropos tropos” — a being who loves humans.

Since ancient times, our understanding of why people give has changed considerably. From the Catholic Church to the IRS, the social and political structures that support giving have changed, too. So where are we now? And where are we headed, as a sector and as a philanthropic society? University of Notre Dame historian Dr. Marc Hardy and Ruth McCambridge, Editor-in-Chief of Nonprofit Quarterly, join us to discuss.

Published March 13, 2018

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