#1284 How progressive philanthropy strangles progress

Air Date: 6–25-2019

Direct Download

Today we take a look at the surprisingly varied ways that progressive, well-meaning, do-gooding philanthropists have consistently held back the social movements they are attempting to help and have strangled attempts to implement truly egalitarian policies designed to help everyone

Episode Sponsors: Bombas.com/BEST  |  Madison-Reed.com (Coupon Code: LEFT)

Amazon USAAmazon CAAmazon UKClean Choice Energy

Get AD FREE Shows & Bonus Content: Support our show on Patreon!


Ch. 1: How philanthropy captures social movements - Tiny Spark - Air Date 3-21-19

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.

Ch. 2: Toxic Avenger Extraordinaire on the problem with Big Green - Ralph Nader Radio Hour - Air Date 3-29-19

Toxic Avenger extraordinaire, Walter Hang, joins us to talk about how they outlawed fracking in New York State and why Big Green groups have failed to stop Donald Trump’s anti-environment agenda

Ch. 3: How Nonprofits Made the LGBT Movement Straight with Myrl Beam - Tiny Spark - Air Date 10-11-18

Myrl Beam started to notice the ways big philanthropy, corporate sponsors, and wealthy donors stymied the LGBTQ movement from his own experiences working in nonprofits.

Ch. 4: Anand Giridharadas: Winners take all - Jacobin Radio - Air Date 9-27-18

Anand Giridharadas, author of Winners Take All, on the win-win business- and plutocrat-friendly philanthropy of today’s nouveau riche.

Ch. 5: Is big philanthropy destroying democracy? How progressive parents undermine public schools - Tiny Spark - Air Date 11-7-18

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.

Ch. 6: Dana Kawaoka-Chen Justice Funders’ Framework for Philanthropic Transformation - Next Economy Now - Air Date 5-15-19

Dana Kawaoka-Chen partners and guides philanthropy in reimagining practices that advance a thriving and just world. She is a co-author of “The Choir Book: A Framework for Social Justice Philanthropy”

Ch. 7: Fragility, frustration and funding - Tiny Spark - Air Date 2-7-19

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.


Ch. 8: A reading and watching list for you - V from Central New York


Ch. 9: Final comments on the Prisoner's Dilemma of fighting for just causes

MUSIC (Blue Dot Sessions):

  • Opening Theme: Loving Acoustic Instrumental by John Douglas Orr 
  • Beast on the Soil - Desert Orchard
  • Glass Runner - Marble Run
  • Chrome and Wax - Ray Catcher
  • Milkwood - The Cabinetmaker
  • Rafter - Speakeasy
  • Glass Beads - The Balloonist
  • Voicemail Music: Low Key Lost Feeling Electro by Alex Stinnent
  • Closing Music: Upbeat Laid Back Indie Rock by Alex Stinnent


Produced by Jay! Tomlinson

Thanks for listening!

Visit us at BestOfTheLeft.com

Support the show via Patreon

Listen on iTunes | StitcherSpotify | Alexa Devices | +more

Check out the BotL iOS/Android App in the App Stores!

Follow at Twitter.com/BestOfTheLeft

Like at Facebook.com/BestOfTheLeft

Contact me directly at [email protected]

Review the show on iTunes and Stitcher!

Showing 3 reactions

  • Laura Smith
    commented 2019-07-02 02:27:06 -0400
    Excellent episode, and I agree with Pat about Anand Giridharadas - I heard Anand speak in San Francisco and have read his book, I highly recommend it!!!!

    We need to get rid of tax deductions for charitable and religious institutions. It is such a stupid system.
  • Jay Tomlinson
    commented 2019-06-28 22:07:46 -0400
    Hi Pat,

    Sorry for the confusion, I just messaged you through Patreon about accessing all of your member’s bonus content. All bonus content is managed directly through Patreon, not through this website.
  • Pat Connor
    commented 2019-06-26 14:53:07 -0400
    Great episode but where are the bonus tracks? This site is very well organized except for accessing bonus material. It seems to me that once a person signs in their membership status should be identified and the bonus material would automatically follow the regular program.
    As to this week’s program I think this is VERY important information. I wish that Anand Giridharadas would have been featured more. He was interviewed on several podcasts when his book “Winners Take All” came out. He is a clear thinker and an articulate speaker. I strongly recommend his book to anyone who would like to read more about this week’s topic.
    Anyway great job Amanda and Jay. Thank you for all your hard work.
Sign up for activism updates