Culture

Giving It Away: TED Radio Hour examines generosity and philanthropy

Posted by: Shirin Samimi-Moore

giving_it_awayHow can we give in better and smarter ways? This week’s new episode of TED Radio Hour explores the effects of giving – of your money, your time and your love.  As our consciousness of philanthropy is shifting towards crowdsourcing and justice-centered discourse, people begin to self-organize around the causes they are passionate about. This episode describes how we, on a grassroots level, can give in new ways.

Volunteer firefighter Mark Bezos kicks off the hour with a story of a small, seemingly insignificant act of heroism. Through a tiny act of kindness, he realizes the dozens of possibilities we have in a day to be heroes in our own humble ways. Next, self-named “renegade ecolutionary” Ron Finley describes the garden that he began on the sidewalk in front of his house in South Central Los Angeles, meant for anyone to eat from. Finley expresses the importance of the yin and yang of giving and receiving — one cannot simply take, but must create a cycle of giving.

The second half of the show continues with Dan Pallotta, who wonders why we are so much more willing to invest in a private company’s enterprises than we are to donate to a non-profit. Pallotta stresses the paradigm shift that we need to enact — away from viewing non-profits as things that must produce results in the here-and-now to seeing them as organizations that can grow and thrive on long-term investments. Amanda Palmer closes the show, sharing her experience as a musician in a budding economy built on trust. As she talks, she emphasizes the importance of the simple act of asking when you need something — and the joy that comes from the connection found through mutual support.

To hear TED Radio Hour’s “Giving It Away,” check your local NPR schedule to find out when the show airs today. Or listen to it via NPR’s website »

Head to iTunes, where the podcast is available now »