Nonprofit Leadership Podcasts

“From Aristotle to Zuckerberg”, Learn How and When Philanthropy First Started and Where We Have Gone Wrong Today

Ever wondered how philanthropy and charity first began? The answer may surprise you! The Greek roots for the word “philanthropy” refer to the “love of humankind”.

Paul Vallely, author of “Philanthropy: from Aristotle to Zuckerberg”

Rob’s guest today is author Paul Vallely who has written a new book that serves as an encyclopedic review of the origins and history of philanthropy and charity over the centuries. Paul argues that today, too many people and organizations have lost the true purpose of charity and he offers a way back to the roots of good philanthropy.   

Paul shares what led him to research the history of philanthropy, what surprised him most about how money moves through philanthropic organizations and who really benefits from donations. He also talks about how organizations can help recapture the missing element in philanthropy, particularly as it relates to the relationship between the rich and the poor. In short, Paul argues for having a more human and holistic vision of philanthropy that marries the head and the heart. Finally, Paul digs into why more nonprofit leaders need to focus on building partnerships by listening to and respecting the people they are trying to help and how the pandemic has actually strengthened philanthropy as a third pillar in society alongside government and the market. 

Learn more about Paul’s book here:

Paul Vallely: Website | Twitter |  

If you have questions or want to come on the show, email Rob at

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