Revisionist History by Malcolm Gladwell

28/07/2016 at 20:48 Leave a comment


gladwellI am a podcast geek and proud of it. This American Life took one of their segments and dedicated it to Malcolm Gladwell‘s new podcast Revisionist History. All I can say – LISTEN UP PEOPLE! As a fundraiser and nonprofit professional he makes me ask myself and my donors great/different questions. His speciality, as the podcast name implies:

Revisionist History will go back and reinterpret something from the past: an event, a person, an idea. Something overlooked. Something misunderstood.

Because sometimes the past deserves a second chance.

In particular episodes 4, 5 and 6 is a “three-part Revisionist History miniseries taking a critical look at the idea of capitalisation—the measure of how well America is making use of its human potential.” But that is so understated…I am listening, yelling at the podcast and finishing his sentences. It is all about our work as fundraisers. The impact we can or don’t have on people and communities.  I’m going to make this real easy for you to listen: But subscribe …like now.

Episode 4 -“Carlos Doesn’t Remember” takes a critical look at the idea of capitalisation—the measure of how well America is making use of its human potential. N.B. It made me mad and cry.

Episode 5 – “Food Fight,” on opening up college to poor kids, focuses on a seemingly unlikely target: how the food each school (Bowdoin and Vassar) serves in its cafeteria can improve or distort the educational system. N.B. Really sad, just sad decisions.

This last one is the kick in the pants of any fundraiser – and caused a “twitter meltdown” according to Malcolm’s own admission.

Episode 6 – “My Little Hundred Million” is the third part of Revisionist History’s educational miniseries. It looks at the hidden ideologies behind giving and how a strange set of ideas has hijacked educational philanthropy. N.B. O-M-Gosh and that was NOT what I yelling while listening.

And just in case you didn’t have philanthropic history at your fingertips and as a teaser to episode six,

In the early ’90s, Hank Rowan gave $100 million to a university in New Jersey, an act of extraordinary generosity that helped launch the greatest explosion in educational philanthropy since the days of Andrew Carnegie and the Rockefellers. But Rowan gave his money to Glassboro State University, a tiny, almost bankrupt school in South Jersey, while almost all of the philanthropists who followed his lead made their donations to elite schools such as Harvard and Yale. Why did no one follow Rowan’s example?

This is the episode that really caused me to stop in my tracks………let me know what you thought….pass it on, pay it forward, please share the podcast.

Entry filed under: Fundraising. Tags: , , .

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