Giving Back

Program 4 • 29 mins


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In this episode of Humankind, we hear from people, some wealthy, some of very modest means, who have given unusually careful thought to the hows and whys of charitable giving. Hear how a young Boston couple started a tiny philanthropy as a way of giving back to their community. Listen also to an older husband and wife who have methodically tithed their wealth for their entire marriage. And consider the provocative comments of a highly successful investor who has analyzed the process of calculating how much we can spare for charitable purposes. A very beautiful testament to the joys of giving, this episode will have you thinking and talking about that very real human quality: charity.


  • How can we judge when and to whom charity should be given?
  • What is the charitable impulse and do we have an actual responsibility to give back to others who are less fortunate?
  • How do we give when we have limited financial resources?

People don’t pull themselves up by their bootstraps alone. We’re all in debt for something. If we have brains and intelligence, we didn’t make it—it was given to us! We owe for that. If we had loving parents, we’re in debt for that. So we have a debt to pay… and an opportunity for alleviating past injustices, faults, weaknesses, whatever…”

—Eloise Houghton


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