The philanthropic sector has been buzzing since the airing of The Philanthropist pilot on NBC.  You may not spend your summer watching TV, but you may want to set your PVR to record an episode or two and see what you think.

Next week (July 21), the Hudson Institute is sponsoring a debate between the Tom Fontana, Executive Producer of the show, Sean Stannard-Stockton of Tactical, and Ian Wilhelm of the Chronicle of Philanthropy.  The debate is in Washington DC, but transcripts and video will be available afterwards.

Here’s a bit of what I’ve written previously – along with some others’ thoughts:

The hero’s British accent, his American company, and the African music accompanying the intro, commercial breaks, and credits lay it on quite thick.  He’s successful in his mission and the hour show wraps up with a warm fuzzy feeling – except for that awkward neocolonialist pang in your stomach. 

Philanthropy is hard work – and yes, it is exciting and no, it doesn’t have to be colonialist (though that could be an entirely separate blog).  The complexities of philanthropy are much more than this series acknowledges – or are at least much more mental, than physical.  But if the show at least gets folks talking – about what Philanthropy is and isn’t, then  perhaps it will have been a worthwhile show to have watched.

There are likely to be many opinion on the show.  For other’s check out these:

  • Round up of Media commentaries:  from good to worse
  • Steve Gunderson, Council on Foundations – “The Philanthropist is to charitable giving as The Pink Panther is to police work.”
  • Jeff Trexler, Uncivil Society – “It’s empire. It’s racial supremacy. And it’s something we should not indulge.”

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