Aug 02, 2016

NGPF Podcast: Tim Talks to Eileen Heisman about Effective Philanthropy

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A big thank you to Eileen Heisman, President and CEO of the National Philanthropic Trust (NPT), for the great conversation we had recently on the podcast. Eileen heads one of the largest grant-making organizations in the United States and is a perennial pick on those “most influential” lists you see in the world of philanthropy. Eileen’s perspectives on charitable giving are informed from her decades of service as an educator, non-profit board member, entrepreneur and leader of the 6th largest donor-advised fund in the United States. She shares insights on how educators might structure an activity to teach students about charitable giving and also has some great tips on what to look for in vetting a non-profit organization. I also enjoyed the examples she gave of the most inspiring gifts that she has seen. We hope to pair this podcast with a lesson/activity in philanthropy (late Fall release) to provide students with examples of how money can be used as a tool to improve society.


  • 0:00~1:30 – Introduction
  • 1:30~4:57 – Eileen’s job
  • 4:57~8:47 – What is ‘philanthropy’?
  • 8:47~10:34 – How does giving vary by peoples’ wealth?
  • 10:34~12:26 – Which groups/causes tend to receive the most donations?
  • 12:26~14:33 – Large gifts to universities
  • 14:33~15:58 – Changes in charitable giving
  • 15:58~17:40 – What’s happening globally when it comes to charity?
  • 17:40~20:12 – Finding the ‘fair’ way to use funds
  • 20:12~24:37 – Transparency in charities
  • 24:37~27:07 – Emotional ties to giving
  • 27:07~33:02  – Finding a good charity to donate to
  • 33:02~36:11 –  What to watch out for with charities
  • 36:11~36:39 – A word from our sponsor, Next Gen Personal Finance
  • 36:39~42:02 -Most inspiring charitable gifts that Eileen has seen
  • 42:02~45:29 – An activity idea to teach students about the basics of philanthropy
  • 45:29~52:12 – NPT project on 500 years of philanthropic history
  • 52:12~53:22 – Can we teach people to be charitable or is it innate?
  • 53:22~54:32 – Conclusion
  • “I think Americans have this impulsive response where they see something is wrong some place and they want to do something about it”
  • “Just reading their 990 [editor’s note: 990 is an annual financial form that non-profits are required to file each year] isn’t enough,  just talking to their board members isn’t enough,  you have to do at least three things to get a sense what they [the charity] are doing”
  • “Cancer, children, and veterans tend to be the three areas where you see people creating new charities with names that sound a lot like very reputable charities”



About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.

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