About the only joy of living on airplanes is that I get to Europe frequently and can then tune in to all the channels of the BBC.

One of my favorite programs (programmes) on the Beeb as the Brits call it, is Hard Talk. The sometimes puckish, often downright aggressive talking heads, always preppy and well-groomed, well-suited interviewers take on everyone and everything.

Last night

Stephan Sakur, Hard Talk's smooth interviewer with the impressive credentials of 15 years as a BBC foreign correspondent, and a tight-jawed style that would make every American wannabe Anglophile jealous of his style, took on Dr. Salvatore LaSpada the head of a British organization called the Institute of Philanthropy. Dr. LaSpada is an American ex-pat and a very smooth one at thatproselytizing mega-giving and offering advice to mega-donors.

As a former associate director of the Rockefeller Foundation, with lots of experience from other philanthropic ventures , he does know something about mega giving and mega wealth.

Setting aside my personal prejudice against folks who are too slick and too smooth and far too glib, the fact is that Dr. LaSpada turned out to not only overcome my prejudice against well-coifed, bearded, smooth talkers. He was was eloquent in terms of defining and defending the role of the private/independent sector.

Defending and helping to define the future role of private philanthropy in fundamentally socialist countries (meaning the state/national government predominently pays and the public doesnt feel much responsibility) in the UK and the Continent aint easy for any American. The values of the old vs. new country are remarkably different. And George W. Bush sure ain't helping us bridge that gap!

What LaSpada did so well is to define why American philanthropy is what it is and why the values behind it may well be exportable.

Read on below for key takeaways….

Continue reading “No Money Please, We're British”

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