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TED Talk Salon: Charity Redux

Join in our TED Talk Salon for a brain-stimulating presentation and lively discussion. For the curious world citizen, you may enjoy this video-style book club.

This month's topic:  The Way We Think about Charity is Dead Wrong

Activist and fundraiser Dan Pallotta challenges us to change the way we think about changing the world.

"The nonprofit sector is critical to our dream of changing the world. Yet there is no greater injustice than the double standard that exists between the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. One gets to feast on marketing, risk-taking, capital and financial incentive, the other is sentenced to begging,” Dan Pallotta says in discussing his latest book, Charity Case. This economic starvation of our nonprofits is why he believes we are not moving the needle on great social problems. “My goal … is to fundamentally transform the way the public thinks about charity within 10 years.”

Pallotta is best known for creating the multi-day charitable event industry, and a new generation of citizen philanthropists with the AIDS Rides and Breast Cancer 3-Day events, which raised $582 million in nine years. He is president of Advertising for Humanity, which helps foundations and philanthropists transform the growth potential of their favorite grantees.


3:30...Watch the TED Talk, discuss in small groups
5:00...Whole group summary/further discussion
5:30...Socializing until the library closes at 6


Monthly, we view a recorded TED Talk (of about 20 min.) from those posted at Talks are by a person notable in their field, who has interesting things to say. After viewing their piece, we'll break into smaller groups and talk about the ideas raised (with the occasional tangent! ;-)

Talks are selected because they catch the interest of Rebecca, our TED salon moderator, and are likely candidates for good conversation. (Participant recommendations are welcomed-email Rebecca.)

Please join us!

Join or login to comment.

  • Andre G.

    Doug, thanks for the stats. It does look like the %GDP for federal spending has been flat over the long term, though with about a 20% variation and a recent big uptick. However, I think the chart I showed of total spending, not just federal, is the relevant measure. The question is how much do we spend on government, is the trend up or down, and is the money well spent? shows the federal breakdown by category. Notice that DOD is by far the largest chunk, and debt service is pretty damn huge. Do we need that much defense when nobody is really attacking us? And think what we could do with the money we're now using to pay off past debts, if we hadn't been so irresponsible to run up an alarming total?

    1 · June 8, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    If you are interested in the effects of future spending on Medicare and Social Security, you will find this article very interesting:

    June 3, 2013

  • Jerry S.

    While I was initially worried about the interestingness of this topic, it turned out to be great! The TED talk generated interesting questions on its own terms, and lent itself to discussions of much broader and more important issues. One of our best!

    June 2, 2013

  • Rebecca

    Really good discussion! I enjoyed the diversity of perspectives and the lively-yet-respectful conversations.

    June 2, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I found this link which offers Office of Management & Budget tables that indicate federal spending as a % of GDP has been constant for many years: ( & also that the gov spends all the money on defense, interest ( via the treasury), medicare, Medicaid, and social security.)

    I am not sure how the chart we saw was compiled. Is it disputing the OMB numbers or adding in extra spending?

    June 2, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I enjoyed it very much. Thanks.

    June 1, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Thanks for the meetup folks! You guys are groovy.

    June 1, 2013

  • Ginny R.

    Coming from a 2:00 funeral--hopefully won't be late!

    May 27, 2013

  • Claire

    Looking forward to this conversation!

    May 3, 2013

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