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Tiny Spark

Tiny Spark

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We investigate philanthropy, nonprofits and international aid. In-depth interviews and shoe leather reporting from across the globe. Send us your tips. www.tinyspark.org
For Volunteer Humanitarians, “Solidarity Is Not a Crime”

30:26 | Jul 1st

Appalling conditions in the ‘Jungle’ migrant camp in France drew people from across Europe to help. A volunteer shares her experience and explains how rising anti-immigrant policies are turning ordinary citizens into humanitarians.
Baby Bonds: A ‘Birthright To Capital’

24:17 | Jun 12th

We explore ways to decrease wealth inequality in the US with economist Darrick Hamilton who proposes giving every newborn thousands of dollars in a ‘baby bond’ account which they can access when they turn 18.
A Plan To Reverse "Economic Apartheid" In The U.S.

25:16 | May 29th

As inequality grows, we look at look at ideas for narrowing the economic gap between the races, from reparations to raising the minimum wage.
On A Mission To Make White People Uncomfortable

21:51 | May 9th

Using fiery Instagram posts, and uncomfortable tweets, the social media campaign No White Saviors challenges white people to examine race, power, and their own roles when attempting to 'help' in communities and countries not their own. Its co-founder...Show More
Orphanage Voluntourism – Trafficking on Good Intentions

29:46 | Apr 23rd

Is it possible for charity to worsen the lives of those they purport to help? We investigate how a global surge in one form of “voluntourism” exploits vulnerable children and contributes to child trafficking
The Ethics of Nonprofit Storytelling: Survivor Porn and Parading Trauma

29:00 | Apr 5th

We explore nonprofits’ propensity to create “survivor porn” and the ways in which the sector trades in “parading trauma".
How Philanthropy "Captures" Social Movements

36:33 | Mar 22nd

Megan Ming Francis explains how philanthropists—even well-intentioned ones—can “capture” the social movements they fund and, in doing so, steer grassroots organizations and activists away from their original missions.
Could ‘Radical Tough Love’ Improve The Internet? These Women Think So

24:01 | Mar 8th

On International Women’s Day, we speak to the founders of #VisibleWikiWomen about their efforts to decolonize the Internet, and to “make all of the wonderful women in the world visible” on one of the world’s most popular websites: Wikipedia.
A Place Where You Can Speak Your Mind to That Foundation

27:07 | Feb 21st

The co-directors of GrantAdvisor, a Yelp-like site that rates the nation's charitable foundations, describe how fears of retribution in the field inspired them to launch the platform, and why honest dialogue between nonprofits and foundations can hel...Show More
Nonprofit AF: Fragility, Frustration And Funding

37:44 | Feb 7th

Whether vocally critiquing the sector on his blog Nonprofit AF, or working to develop leaders of color at his nonprofit in Seattle, Vu Le’s frustrations fuel his drive to make the industry do better.
A Cost Of Med School Debt: Poor Patients, No Doctors

20:19 | Jan 25th

Hoping to diversify the next generation of doctors and deal with a drastic decrease in the number of primary care physicians in the US, New York University is now offering free tuition to its medical school students. But will it work? And is free tui...Show More
In Epidemics, Outbreak Culture Is As Toxic As Disease

37:40 | Jan 10th

In their new book, Outbreak Culture: The Ebola Crisis and the Next Epidemic, Dr. Pardis Sabeti and journalist Lara Salahi argue that epidemics don’t just spread deadly diseases, they can also breed a toxic culture among those who are helping.
Inequalities In Crowdfunding: An ‘American Struggle’

31:05 | Dec 7th, 2018

This Giving Season, we look at the growing phenomenon of online crowdfunding for medical bills. Who is winning on these platforms, and who is falling short? And what does the rise of sites like GoFundMe say about our fraying social safety net?
Hey America, Let's Talk About What Divides Us

35:06 | Nov 15th, 2018

In the face of growing political polarization, spaces for thoughtful dialogue across ideologies have all but disappeared. Spaceship Media seeks to fill this void by bringing people together to talk about contentious issues. In this conversation, an N...Show More
Is Big Philanthropy Destroying Democracy?

31:22 | Nov 8th, 2018

Stanford professor Rob Reich’s new book Just Giving: Why Philanthropy Is Failing Democracy and How It Can Do Better investigates how charity can undermine democratic values, and explores the ways federal policies help to facilitate greater inequality...Show More
‘Rage’ or Resolve? Women Are Giving More In 2018

24:19 | Nov 1st, 2018

Following the 2016 election, there was a spike in charitable giving, especially among female donors. We hear how women are wielding their financial and political muscle ahead of this year’s midterm elections.
What Can We Do About The White Savior Complex?

28:45 | Oct 25th, 2018

A viral video of an American missionary abusing local hotel staff in Uganda exposed the ongoing racism and colonialism that continues to infuse global aid and development. Through voices with deep experience in the sector, we hear how the white savio...Show More
How Nonprofits Made The LGBT Movement Straight

32:16 | Oct 11th, 2018

In his new book, 'Gay, Inc: The Nonprofitization of Queer Politics,' Myrl Beam argues that as many of the largest queer nonprofits have accepted millions from wealthy donors and foundations, the LGBT movement has become less radical.
Museums Must Open Doors To Today's Realities

23:32 | Oct 4th, 2018

When the Brooklyn Museum hired a white woman as a curator for African Art, the institution was criticized for being ‘tone-deaf’. The backlash focused attention on a long-standing problem: the profound lack of diversity in America’s finest cultural in...Show More
Crisis in Home Health Care Will Soon Affect You

32:19 | Sep 27th, 2018

From rural Wisconsin to the urban Bronx, there’s a crisis in home healthcare. It may be one of America’s fastest growing industries, but there just aren’t enough workers to meet this demand. In sharing the daily lives of care workers and their client...Show More
Winners Give More As America Loses Out

29:01 | Sep 20th, 2018

Global elites have been credited for using their power and privilege to ‘change the world’ whether through apps that purport to tackle poverty or by making large donations to charity. In his new book, Winners Take All, former New York Times correspon...Show More
Update: 'Women Won' Justice After Terrain Hotel Attack

29:24 | Sep 18th, 2018

In an updated podcast, Sabrina, an Italian aid worker, reacts to an historic verdict that just came out of South Sudan: ten soldiers sentenced to jail for their part in an attack on the Terrain Hotel. During the siege, aid workers were sexually assau...Show More
John Valverde: The CEO Of Second Chances

24:48 | May 17th, 2018

As the leader of a second chance program for young people, YouthBuild USA’s John Valverde describes what it means to live out his own second chance.
Charity Auctions: What’s In It For Artists?

16:04 | Apr 27th, 2018

Many artists are asked to donate their work to charity auctions. The nonprofit raises money for a good cause, the buyer gets a beautiful piece of work, but what does the artist gain?
The ‘Hypocrisy’ Still Hurts After UN Staffer’s Assault

21:49 | Apr 5th, 2018

Nearly a decade after being violently assaulted while working for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Sri Lanka, Shannon Mouillesseaux has tough words for her former employer.
Should We Give Our Cash To The Homeless?

21:51 | Dec 22nd, 2017

Want to give to the homeless this holiday season? Three insights into the benefits and the harm of giving money directly to people on the street.
Natural Disasters, Aid Groups, And Donor Questions

12:18 | Oct 26th, 2017

Nonprofits, tech companies and even NFL players have raised millions to help after recent natural disasters. But giving may be the easy part. Having an impact is harder.
Why Charity Is 'No Solution' In Unequal Times

25:13 | Sep 13th, 2017

In an increasingly unequal world, where money and power are closely linked, sociology professor Linsey McGoey says philanthropy is part of the problem.
Successful Social Change Takes Patience and Audacity

24:50 | Sep 1st, 2017

We discuss fifteen successful social change campaigns that have had major impact, from South Africa's anti-apartheid campaign to the legislative success of marriage equality in the US. We learn what made them successful and why lasting social change ...Show More
In Global Migrant Crisis, When Are Smugglers 'Saviors'?

19:47 | Jul 8th, 2017

Human smuggling has grown into a multibillion dollar industry. We explore the complex relationships between migrants, refugees, and the myriad players involved in smuggling them across borders.
‘Don’t Discount Kindness’ When Fighting Hate

26:04 | Jun 26th, 2017

There are over 900 hate groups operating across the US right now. Ryan Lenz monitors them, and former skinhead Angela King works to deradicalize those who want to leave them. They discuss their work and why they do it.
The 'Perils' Of Checking Your Privilege

20:44 | Jun 9th, 2017

As aware citizens, it might feel good to check our privilege and that of others, but writer Phoebe Maltz Bovy says that privilege awareness has its problems.
Why Big Philanthropy Needs Scrutiny Not Gratitude

21:13 | May 25th, 2017

Instead of feeling gratitude towards billionaire philanthropists, Stanford professor Rob Reich says we should scrutinize the power they wield.
After 'Evil' Experiment, Psychologist Inspires Heroes

15:43 | May 9th, 2017

Forty years after making his name with a famous psychological experiment about what makes good people do bad things, Philip Zimbardo has decided to flip the script. He tells us about his project that teaches people how to act heroically and describes...Show More
The Rise of Philanthropy's 'Shadow Giving System'

28:26 | Apr 18th, 2017

We explore the growing influence that private donors are exerting in national and local politics and why the power the wealthy are wielding today is likely to intensify in the years ahead. An interview with David Callahan, author of The Givers: Wealt...Show More
Forget Straight A's, Connections Count At Top Colleges

27:06 | Mar 28th, 2017

At the nation’s top universities and colleges, children of privilege are taking spots away from straight A students without the same connections, and the problem is only getting worse.
An Idealist's Guide to Avoiding Burnout

20:01 | Mar 17th, 2017

Whether you’re a professional aid worker or just an engaged citizen, doing good for others requires that you to take time to be good to yourself, too. We speak to a veteran aid worker along with the author of a new book, The Idealist’s Survival Kit.
Tech Resistance: Giving Voice To The ‘Silent Majority’

18:04 | Mar 1st, 2017

Some were surprised to see Silicon Valley tech workers protest Trump’s new immigration policies, but one civic tech leader tells us they are fighting for the fundamental values of openness and connection that made the internet itself great.
The Problems With Your Valentine’s Day Tip

18:39 | Feb 13th, 2017

When you're eating out, tipping might seem like a good thing. But, on this Valentine's Day, we explore the many problems that America's tipping culture creates for restaurant workers.
Worked Up About Trump? Make Time For Art & Music

27:18 | Feb 3rd, 2017

Maaza Mengiste came to the US as a child, after her family fled Ethiopia’s civil war. Even so, the New York based writer explains why she feels strongly about not calling herself a refugee, why activists need to take breaks from Twitter, and reflects...Show More
The Case Against Empathy

24:01 | Jan 18th, 2017

Do you think a little more empathy would help in our increasingly divided and unequal world? Not so, says Yale professor Paul Bloom. In his book ‘Against Empathy,’ he argues that empathy is short-sighted, prejudiced and often makes the world a worse ...Show More
Born to the One Percent, Dedicated to the 99

21:06 | Jan 4th, 2017

Chuck Collins inherited a half million dollar trust fund from his parents but decided to give it all away, allowing him to "unflinchingly look at the growing income and wealth inequalities that have opened up over the last 30 years." This one-percent...Show More
The Giving Code: Silicon Valley's 'Prosperity Paradox'

19:35 | Dec 15th, 2016

Silicon Valley is celebrated as a bastion of innovation. But it now suffers from one of the greatest income gaps in the country. Nonprofits are struggling to meet the demands caused by rising inequality. We explore the disconnect between the immense ...Show More
Sun, Sea And…Laying Cement? A New Type Of Cruise Tries To Do Good

20:35 | Nov 26th, 2016

A new kind of cruise gives travelers the chance to experience the culture of the Dominican Republic while volunteering in activities like planting trees, building water filters and teaching English. We speak to travel agent Julie Schear, who says she...Show More
Midnight Basketball: A Popular Distraction to Real Problems

16:27 | Nov 1st, 2016

Midnight Basketball was a popular program to get young men from high crime areas off the streets and into gyms. But did the program live up to its promise?  Author and sociologist Douglas Hartmann describes the underside of Midnight Basketball and wh...Show More
Forget “Teach A Man To Fish…” Just Give Him Cash

20:08 | Oct 10th, 2016

This month the charity GiveDirectly will start giving thousands of Kenyans about a month’s salary, every month, for a decade or more --- with no strings attached. GiveDirectly co-founder Paul Niehaus discusses the sustainability of this project, why ...Show More
One Year On, Water Crisis Stays Personal for Flint Foundation Leader

14:23 | Sep 27th, 2016

One year after the Flint water crisis, we look at how philanthropy responded, how it can better serve its communities, and what it needs to know about Flint in the decades ahead. Isaiah Oliver of the Community Foundation of Greater Flint joins us.
Power, Patronage and Problems: When Private Wealth Transforms Public Schools

15:49 | Sep 9th, 2016

In the early 2000s, prominent philanthropists saw a big problem in America: a broken school system. They set out to fix it by funding in a charter school movement on a massive  scale. Megan Tompkins-Stange has looked at the initiative and has uncover...Show More
If Public Universities Offer Free Tuition, Who Will Be Left Behind?

15:11 | Aug 29th, 2016

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is proposing free tuition at in-state public colleges and universities. But many of these schools already serve a number of wealthy students, and many low-income students of color attend small, private ...Show More
Global Health Volunteering: Billions of Dollars, Few Rules

17:20 | Aug 16th, 2016

Global health volunteering is a growing, multibillion dollar industry. But is it effective? “It seems like an awful lot of resources to invest in something for which there’s practically no evidence of its impact,” says Lehigh Professor Judith Lasker....Show More
To Advance Racial Justice, Philanthropists Will Need to be Courageous

20:37 | Aug 5th, 2016

An African-American leader of one of the nation’s largest foundations speaks about racial tensions, philanthropy’s diversity problem, and why these times require philanthropists to be courageous. We talk with W.K. Kellogg Foundation CEO La June Montg...Show More
Heinz Endowments Chief: Philanthropy Faces Critical Test on Racial Equity

14:25 | Jul 15th, 2016

Is philanthropy doing enough to address racism and inequity in the U.S.? We speak to Heinz Endowments President Grant Oliphant. He’s among the few philanthropic leaders who has spoken up about the shooting deaths of two black men by white police and ...Show More
Who Really Benefits When Billionaires Give Away their Wealth?

10:54 | Jul 7th, 2016

Criticism of wealthy donors who give to their alma maters instead of the poor; concerns about Bill Gates and Warren Buffett’s effort to get billionaires to donate more than half their wealth to charity. We speak to the National Committee for Responsi...Show More
NPR Reporter Exposes Charity’s Failings

16:30 | Jun 21st, 2016

NPR investigative correspondent Laura Sullivan discusses why aid organizations are not completely transparent about how they spend donor dollars. “I think that the numbers aren’t pretty, and I think they know that Americans would be frustrated by the...Show More
What's in the Dumpster? Exploring Food Waste and Hunger in America

14:42 | Jun 7th, 2016

Alex Barnard spent eight years researching food waste, which included regular dives into dumpsters and foraging in trash bags of major retail chains across New York City. He chronicles his experience in the new book Freegans: Diving into the Wealth o...Show More
Doctors Without Borders Explains Decision to Pull Out of World Humanitarian Summit

12:29 | May 23rd, 2016

The first ever World Humanitarian Summit is underway, but one of the world’s most respected humanitarian organizations will not be there. Doctors Without Borders decided to pull out.  The organization acknowledged that the gathering has “never been m...Show More
Why I Want to Take Over the World with Shea Butter

14:15 | May 17th, 2016

Rahama Wright was working as a Peace Corps volunteer in Mali when she saw firsthand the challenges women faced, trying to take care of themselves and their children. So in her early twenties, she founded a company to empower women in West Africa who ...Show More
Mom Survives Terrorist Attack With Baby, Vows to Keep Fighting Violent Extremism

16:56 | Apr 21st, 2016

Charline Burton and her baby hid in a bathroom for two hours as terrorists struck a beach resort in Ivory Coast. We speak to the Belgian national about her near-death experience, how she managed to keep her baby quiet, and why she plans to remain in ...Show More
Is Philanthropy Fueling Wealth Inequality?

18:51 | Apr 5th, 2016

We speak to Pablo Eisenberg, a long-time observer and outspoken critic of American philanthropy. “The same people get the benefits, the same people serve on boards, and the foundations have the same priorities they had a hundred years ago,” he says. ...Show More
Doing Good as Muslim American and Being Shut Down

16:53 | Mar 24th, 2016

In the wake of this week’s terrorist bombings in Brussels and heated anti-Muslim rhetoric in the U.S. presidential race, we read with interest Beenish Ahmed’s NPR essay, Learning — And Unlearning — To Be An 'Ambassador' For Islam. We invited Ahmed to...Show More
In Solving Global Crises, How Useful Are Hashtags and Likes?

19:19 | Mar 15th, 2016

When it comes to promises made by social movements, human rights scholar Rebecca Hamilton has heard it all. “Share this Facebook link and you can save the life of a child in Uganda. Wear this bracelet and you can bring peace to Darfur,” she recalls. ...Show More
From War Photographer to War Crimes Investigator

21:05 | Mar 1st, 2016

MacArthur “genius” award winner Corinne Dufka was a photojournalist for Reuters, covering armed conflicts in 17 nations. But inside a hotel room in Rwanda, she had an “epiphany” that compelled her to leave photojournalism at the height of her career....Show More
There's More Aid than Ever, So Why are Poorest Nations Getting Less?

12:37 | Feb 15th, 2016

Foreign aid reached its highest point in 2014 but less has been going to the poorest nations. Development economist Owen Barder gives reasons for this trend and explains why he won’t sit on panels that exclude women.
Ardent Aid Critic Says He's Misunderstood

12:31 | Feb 2nd, 2016

It turns out that one of America's fiercest aid critics is just a soft-spoken guy from Ohio. "A lot of people start characterizing your work who really haven’t read you very closely, or even at all. And they paint you as more extreme than you really ...Show More
Promo: Doing Good in Repressive Regimes

01:00 | Jan 28th, 2016

Promo: Economist Bill Easterly talks about the challenges of doing good in repressive regimes.
Occupy Charity: Big Money in Few Hands

10:45 | Jan 12th, 2016

Until recently, Ken Berger led the world’s largest charity evaluator. He found that money wasn't necessarily flowing to the best charities. “I don’t see a correlation between where the dollars are going and impact. The brand that is most well known w...Show More
Promo: Charities Must Measure What Matters Most

01:00 | Jan 5th, 2016

Former CEO of nation's largest charity evaluator says few nonprofits know if they're having impact.
Why are Billions of Charitable Dollars Sitting in the Bank?

11:24 | Dec 21st, 2015

U.S. laws allow billions of dollars in charitable assets to sit in bank accounts and private foundations. Ray Madoff says it’s time to change those laws so that charitiable dollars are put to work tackling society's most pressing problems.
Promo: Why are Billions of Donor Dollars Sitting in the Bank?

01:00 | Dec 16th, 2015

Next time on Tiny Spark: The case for releasing billions of dollars in charitable assets now sitting in banks and private foundations.
Part Three: Is This Charity Any Good?

11:41 | Dec 8th, 2015

In the final segment of Tiny Spark's Guide to Good Giving, Columbia University professor Doug White says before giving to charity, donors should ask key questions of certain people there.
Tools for Good Giving

14:18 | Dec 1st, 2015

How do you vet solicitors calling on behalf of big name charities? Should we rate charities based on overhead costs? Why is it important to give year-round and not just this holiday? In Part Two of Tiny Spark's Guide to Good Giving, we hear from The ...Show More
Is it Better to Give Locally or Globally?

13:18 | Nov 23rd, 2015

We explore effective altruism, which urges donors to stretch their charitable dollars as far as possible by giving to the world's extreme poor. But aren't families living in our local homeless shelters equally deserving? We dive into the local versus...Show More
The Great Surge in Developing Nations No One is Talking About

10:53 | Nov 12th, 2015

Think people in developing nations are worse off than ever? Steven Radelet says it isn't so. “The biggest misperception is that people are stuck in poverty. That might have been true up until 25 years ago, but the situation has dramatically changed s...Show More
Good Deeds in Cold Blood: Extreme Altruists

17:35 | Oct 16th, 2015

Would you consider giving most of your money to charity? Donate your kidney to a stranger? New Yorker staff writer Larissa MacFarquhar talks extreme altruists.
Quick Update for our listeners

01:22 | Oct 7th, 2015

Quick update to let you know what we're up to.
When a School Markets Students as Charity Cases

17:33 | Sep 16th, 2015

Anthropologist Amy Brown gives a behind-the-scenes look at the sometimes troubling ways a NYC public school markets its low-income students of color to donors.
Promo: Public School Teachers Get Cozy with Donors

01:00 | Sep 2nd, 2015

Author and anthropologist Amy Brown goes inside a NYC public school and emerges with tough questions about marketing, race and philanthropy.
No Tech Solutions for Poverty, says former Microsoft Researcher

08:40 | Aug 13th, 2015

A Yale and Harvard-trained computer scientist worked for Microsoft in India for several years, trying to see how tech could improve the lives of the world's poor. His conclusion? Computers and smart phones will never solve the world’s problems. This...Show More
Curing Violence Like an Infectious Disease

12:07 | Jul 30th, 2015

American communities are still reeling and healing from recent gun violence, including the June mass shooting at a church in Charleston, S.C., and the gang violence that killed 10 people over July 4th weekend in Chicago. But our guests say there is s...Show More
Building a Self-Reliant Africa from the Bottom-Up

12:55 | Jul 9th, 2015

Ugandan-born writer and entrepreneur TMS Ruge challenges the current model of aid intervention. “Just because you're doing something for the poor doesn't mean you're doing it right.”
Your Letters: 'Cultural Imperialism,' Aid Work Advice

02:59 | Jul 7th, 2015

We hear your advice on a moral dilemma involving aid work, plus your reactions to John Paulson's $400M gift to Harvard.
How Much is a Celebrity Worth? Nonprofits Pay For Star Power

19:03 | Jun 29th, 2015

Politico reporter Ken Vogel discovered that the Clinton Foundation has collected as much as $11.7 million in speaker fees from nonprofits. Some argue that celebrity appearances create buzz and more donations for nonprofits, but critics say the high p...Show More
Your Letters: An Ethical Dilemma and Business vs Philanthropy

03:39 | Jun 16th, 2015

A listener poses a moral dilemma regarding aid work; another weighs in on whether the business mindset can improve philanthropy.
Does $400M Gift to Harvard Support a Worthy Cause?

17:19 | Jun 11th, 2015

Billionaire John Paulson recently gave $400 million to Harvard University. Critics say the money could have done more good elsewhere. Should large donations be scrutinized and debated? Or should we all just be thankful that Paulson is parting with $4...Show More
Effort to Chart Global Deaths Draws Backlash

24:29 | Jun 4th, 2015

How do you figure out exactly what people suffer and die from in every part of the world? Christopher Murray decided to try. His resulting Global Burden of Disease initiative ended up causing controversy among aid groups and large institutions like...Show More
Tracking the Aid Money: Mission Impossible

20:51 | May 22nd, 2015

Billions of aid dollars were devoted to reconstructing post-earthquake Haiti and fighting Ebola in West Africa. Economist Vijaya Ramachandran and journalist Amy Maxmen tried to track that spending. They found more questions and a lack of transparency...Show More
A Global Detour Before College

18:39 | May 13th, 2015

Graduation season is here, but not all high school seniors are taking the direct route to college. In recent years, some 350 seniors have chosen to put higher education on hold for Global Citizen Year, which offers them year-long apprenticeships in A...Show More
Promo: A Global Detour Before College

01:00 | May 6th, 2015

Abby Falik says high school graduates should immerse themselves in year-long apprenticeships abroad before going to college; Falik's Global Citizen Year is their ticket.
Not If, When: Planning for the Next Nepal

16:06 | Apr 30th, 2015

Nepal continues to mourn the thousands who died after a massive earthquake. A global relief effort is now underway to assist more than a million people in need food assistance and other forms of relief. Our guest, Brian Tucker, says responding to cr...Show More
Promo: Preventing Disasters

01:00 | Apr 30th, 2015

Seismologist Brian Tucker says we need to do more than help the victims of natural disasters; we need to prepare vulnerable communities before disaster strikes.
Promo: Philanthropy & The Business Mindset

01:00 | Apr 22nd, 2015

The Center for Effective Philanthropy's Phil Buchanan says nonprofits should push back when the business world says it has the answers to our big social problems.
Why Philanthropy Should Push Back Against the Business Mindset

15:52 | Apr 22nd, 2015

“Folks sometimes forget that philanthropy is addressing the very problems that have defied market solutions or in some cases are the result of market failure," says Phil Buchanan, President of the Center for Effective Philanthropy. But sometimes tha...Show More
Spring Cleaning? Before You Donate It…

14:34 | Apr 2nd, 2015

A small percentage of the second-hand clothes we donate to charity actually end up on the store shelves of our local Salvation Army or Goodwill, according to our guest Andrew Brooks. Eventually the clothes end up in the hands of for-profit companies...Show More
Journalist Questions Her Paycheck After Aid Scandal

17:46 | Mar 11th, 2015

Emily Troutman photographs and writes about people living in poverty across the globe. She's a freelancer and to help pay the bills, Troutman sometimes took lucrative commissions - up to a thousand dollars a day - photographing the work of aid group...Show More
Charities: Flattering Results, Poor Data

13:35 | Feb 23rd, 2015

Nonprofit advisor Caroline Fiennes has a lot to say about how we assess charities. She used to run one herself. In those days, Fiennes tried figuring out whether her organization was achieving its goals but admits she wasn't always forthcoming about ...Show More
HIV Disclosure: Privacy, Pressure and Public Health

18:40 | Feb 5th, 2015

Adia Benton spent two years looking at HIV support groups in West Africa. What she saw unsettled her. "It calls into question what international programs like this do to people," she tells us. Benton is an assistant professor of medical anthropology...Show More
Teaching the Next Generation of Global Innovators

15:25 | Jan 20th, 2015

Carrboro High School in Carrboro North Carolina is an unlikely meeting place for leaders from the world of international aid and development. But over the years, global studies teacher Matt Cone has given his students face time with an impressive lis...Show More
Ebola: One Doctor in a Firefight

08:27 | Jan 6th, 2015

“It's confounding for doctors, for me, when you see that your idea of how a patient is doing is completely wrong, and deadly wrong,” says physician Joel Selanikio about his time treating Ebola patients in Lunsar, Sierra Leone. Looking to the future...Show More
The Bright Continent: Rethinking Modern Africa

16:43 | Dec 3rd, 2014

Dayo Olopade discusses her new book The Bright Continent: Breaking Rules and Making Change in Modern Africa. The Nigerian-American journalist spent two years traveling across 17 nations in Sub-Saharan Africa. She comes away with a promising view of t...Show More
Promo: The Bright Continent

01:00 | Nov 20th, 2014

Nigerian-American journalist Dayo Olopade discusses her new book, The Bright Continent: Breaking Rules and Making Change in Modern Africa.
Essmart: Helping The Poor and Charging a Fee

09:08 | Nov 6th, 2014

Diana Jue and Jackie Stenson wanted to figure out a way to bring high-quality products to the world's poor. So, they founded Essmart, a for-profit company that uses India's network of ubiquitous mom-and-pop shops to reach rural consumers.
Lessons from an Expat Aid Worker

32:39 | Aug 22nd, 2014

A veteran humanitarian aid worker offers candid insights into the lessons he's learned - and the personal dilemmas he's faced - during a long career trying to do good across the globe.
Promo: Lessons from an Aid Worker

01:00 | Aug 6th, 2014

Promo: Lessons from an Aid Worker by Tiny Spark
Slingshot Documentary - An Inventor Doing Good

09:45 | Jul 18th, 2014

I recently watched a new documentary about inventor Dean Kamen. He's the guy who invented the Segway, that impressive but only moderately successful people mover. Well, Kamen is back with a new invention called the Slingshot; a high tech solution th...Show More
The Case for Evidence-Based Aid

13:56 | May 28th, 2014

We speak to Dean Karlan, Yale economist and co-author of the book More Than Good Intentions. Karlan advocates evidence-based aid and has devoted his career to figuring out which programs work and why.
What Works? The Case for Evidence Based Aid

01:00 | May 23rd, 2014

What Works? The Case for Evidence Based Aid by Tiny Spark
The Soccket: A Follow-Up Investigation

09:15 | Apr 8th, 2014

The Soccket: A Follow-Up Investigation by Tiny Spark
Should Impoverished Volunteers Be Paid?

09:56 | Jan 27th, 2014

This story was originally broadcast on PRI's The World. In the latest installment of our Tracking Charity series, I travel to Senegal to spend time with some community health workers who have been working for a decade without pay. Our story explores ...Show More
Tracking One Man's Quest to End Extreme Poverty

28:48 | Sep 18th, 2013

Vanity Fair contributing editor, Nina Munk, decided to document a high-profile campaign to end extreme poverty. For six years, she followed celebrated economist Jeffrey Sachs’ Millennium Villages Project; a five-year campaign designed to eradicate po...Show More
Bed Nets & Malaria: Following Up on A Promising Idea

14:06 | Aug 16th, 2013

Here's the first installment in a new series I'm producing with the public radio program The World. It's a global investigative project called Tracking Charity. In this story, we investigate a promising new technology designed to combat malaria. I vi...Show More
Promo: TOMS Shoes

00:59 | Jan 25th, 2013

Promo of Tiny Spark's story on TOMS Shoes and whether giving away free shoes is good aid.
In Praise of Lost Causes

14:55 | Oct 29th, 2012

In this holiday edition of Tiny Spark, we explore what happens when someone refuses to accept the idea of a "lost cause" and instead gets down to the work of transforming a troubled life.
International Adoption - A Complicated Quest to Do Good

19:32 | Oct 29th, 2012

Jennifer Hemsley and her husband wanted to adopt a girl from Guatemala but they immediately suspected fraud. Jennifer feared the worst: that the infant might have been kidnapped. “We were very concerned that her mother might be looking for her,” Jenn...Show More
Medical Volunteers In Crisis Zones - Doing Good or Doing Harm?

22:03 | Oct 10th, 2012

In our latest episode, Tiny Spark takes a look at the quality of care medical volunteers have provided in crisis zones. We discover that many volunteers who deployed to Haiti after the earthquake had never before worked in international humanitarian ...Show More
TOMS Shoes - Is it Good Aid?

19:09 | Aug 20th, 2012

TOMS founder, Blake Mycoskie, says there are millions of children around the world who are in need of shoes. He's based his entire business model on this premise. His for-profit company has enjoyed handsome gains by getting consumers to buy into his ...Show More
Promo: Medical Volunteers

01:00 | Aug 15th, 2012

When an earthquake struck Haiti, medical volunteers from around the globe flew in to try and help. Many arrived having worked in crisis zones before, others had received training in disaster medicine. But it appears that a number of well-intentioned ...Show More