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111: Amy Schiller – Revolutionizing Philanthropy: Amy Schiller’s Vision

In this episode, I speak with Amy Schiller; a Writer and Political Philosopher who has spent over 15 years in major gift fundraising. Amy’s insights into philanthropy are both profound and practical, as she explores how we can use our resources to truly enrich our communities. We dive into her new book, “The Price of Humanity: How Philanthropy Went Wrong and How to Fix It,”We also discuss the importance of loving humanity in its fullest sense—beyond just survival, but also our ability to imagine, create, and connect. Amy’s perspective is a refreshing take on how philanthropy can be more than just a transaction; it can be a meaningful extension of our values and a way to build a richer civic fabric.

Throughout our conversation, Amy shares her thoughts on the current trends in philanthropy, the pitfalls of a purely ROI-driven approach, and the unique role that philanthropy can play in our society. She highlights inspiring examples, like LeBron James’ work in Akron, which beautifully illustrates how giving can be rooted in personal experience and community connection. Amy also touches on the balance between government responsibility and private giving, advocating for a more holistic approach to addressing societal needs. This episode is a must-listen for anyone interested in how we can make our giving more impactful and aligned with our deepest values.

Key Takeaways

00:04:08: Importance of Philanthropy

00:09:46: Cultural Shifts and Philanthropy

00:13:32: Historical Context of Philanthropy

00:16:22: LeBron James’ Philanthropy Example

00:19:41: Philanthropy and Hierarchical Dynamics

00:20:42: Philanthropy in a Capitalist Structure

00:23:31: Government for Bread, Philanthropy for Roses

00:24:51: Advisors’ Role in Shifting Philanthropy Conversations

00:27:41: Importance of Unrestricted Giving

00:28:48: Local vs. Broader Philanthropy

Memorable Quotes

“Philanthropy is this wonderful opportunity to engage with money as an expression of intrinsic value. Again, not just performance, but something that we feel is beautiful, has an evergreen significance, is important, is outside the utilitarian framework.”

“I want to make this feeling possible for kids, but it is theirs to absorb in their own autonomous way that I don’t need to surveil or control in the future.”

“Philanthropy is not the right vehicle for meeting those needs. It only heightens the need for social policy and public spending to play that role because that’s the only way people are able to access those necessities with a sense of dignity and with a sense of stature.”

Guest Resources

Website – https://www.amybessschiller.com/

LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/amyschiller

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/amytheschill

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/amytheschill/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/AmyTheSchill

Book Mentioned

The Price of Humanity: How Philanthropy Went Wrong and How to Fix It – https://www.amazon.com/Price-Humanity-Philanthropy-Went-Wrong_And/dp/1685890229

Mindful Money Resources

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Episode Transcription

Amy Schiller 0:00 – 0:43
What does it mean to love humanity? It’s not just about ensuring the minimum survival or the sort of minimum quality of life for the maximum number of people. But humanity is to love what makes us human, our ability to imagine, to create, to collaborate, to enjoy leisure and each other. There’s lots of things that really make us feel human and express our full humanity. So that’s really where I direct my attention, is how can philanthropy fulfill this ideal? And then what are the kind of practical applications of that ideal that are in the ways we deploy money and the sensibility that guides it?

Aundefined 0:46 – 1:08
Do you think money takes up more life space than it should? On this show, we discuss with and share stories from artists, authors, entrepreneurs, and advisors about how they mindfully minimize the time and energy spent thinking about money. Join your host, Jonathan Dio, and learn how to put money in its place and get more out of life.

Jonathan DeYoe 1:11 – 1:52
Hey, welcome back. On this episode of the Mindful Money Podcast, I’m chatting with Amy Schiller. Amy is a writer and political philosopher. She’s currently a visiting scholar at Dartmouth College. She is held additional fellowships at Stanford, Bard, City University of New York, where she received her PhD. She’s had a 15 year career in major gift fundraising. Her writing has been seen in the Washington Post, the Atlantic, the Nation, the Daily Beast. She’s been quoted in the New York Times, the New Yorker, Bloomberg, and Slate, probably other places I didn’t dig out. I wanted to have Amy on the Mindful Money podcast to discuss her new book, the Price of how Philanthropy went wrong and how to fix it, published in December 23 by Melville House. Amy, welcome to the Mindful Money podcast.

Amy Schiller 1:53 – 1:54
Thanks so much for having me.

Jonathan DeYoe 1:54 – 2:06
I’m excited for the conversation. I said this a second ago. I think I have become part of the problem, and you were so graciously saying I might be part of the solution as well. So we’ll see. But before we begin, where do you call home and where are you connecting from?

Amy Schiller 2:06 – 2:32
I reside primarily in Burlington, Vermont, a New Yorker, constitutionally and logistically part time. I spent a long time in the city. Emma Clevelander Originally, which you will see referenced at several points in the book, including the prominent position of LeBron James, a couple of other things. So theres a couple of notes. But I would say right now I primarily split my time between Burlington and New York.

Jonathan DeYoe 2:32 – 2:40
So growing up in Cleveland, what did you learn about money or entrepreneurship or even philanthropy as a kid?

Amy Schiller 2:40 – 4:07
So this may not have been expressly clear to me as a kid, but it did seep into me. Cleveland is one of those cities that has sort of cultural landscape that is shaped by big philanthropy, big turn of the century industrial revolution, gilded age philanthropy. So there were a lot of things that I cherished growing up, our art museum, our symphony, a lot of the beautiful, the metro parks. There’s all these beautiful cultural and natural resources that are underwritten by philanthropy and by endowments that have their origin in major philanthropy and at sort of high watermarks for the city and for that kind of giving. And that ended up being something I wrote about extensively in the book, I think, more diffusely. I was very embedded in community, both in Cleveland and in. In a place slightly west of Cleveland, where we have a deep community at the Chautauqua Institution, which is a place that’s also underwritten by a lot of philanthropy, but also a lot of community action and connection. So I saw a very rich civic fabric all around me and started to piece together that was the product of a lot of people’s effort and attention and their money, and started to see the real upsides of having those resources available and deployed for the purpose of sort of sustaining that ecosystem.

Jonathan DeYoe 4:08 – 4:19
So before we dig into how philanthropy is broken, why is it important? Like, why you just named a few things, like some legacy philanthropy, but why is it important as part of the fabric of our culture?

Amy Schiller 4:19 – 5:24
I defend philanthropy. I want to redeem philanthropy because it is the kind of money that can affirm people’s value and the values of our communities beyond their productivity, beyond their efficiency, beyond their market performance. I think that’s so important now, as so many things are getting sort of squeezed into that model, so many institutions are finding themselves pressured to prove themselves as somehow viable for a market or some kind of self self sustaining model. And philanthropy is this wonderful opportunity to engage with money as an expression of intrinsic value. Again, not just performance, but something that we feel is beautiful, has an evergreen significance, is important, is outside the utilitarian framework. So I think it’s precious and important and necessary. And that’s why I wrote a whole book about how to sort of guide it back to that place where it can serve that function.

Jonathan DeYoe 5:25 – 5:37
So you’re a philosopher. I love the fact that you just embraced that in your basic bio. So can we start with defining the term? Like, when you say philanthropy has gone wrong, what is the philanthropy that’s gone wrong?

Amy Schiller 5:37 – 6:48
So philanthropy is both a practice of money with lots of sort of vehicles and institutions that we can get into. It is also a sensibility. The word literally means love of humanity. And I took that as an opportunity to ask that we define humanity in the most capacious way possible. So we get to say, what does it mean to love humanity? It’s not just about ensuring the minimum survival or the sort of minimum quality of life for the maximum number of people. But to love humanity is to love what makes us human. Our ability to imagine, to create, to collaborate, to enjoy leisure and each other. There’s lots of things that really make us feel human and express our full humanity. So that’s really where I direct my attention, is, how can philanthropy fulfill this ideal? And then what are the kind of practical applications of that ideal that are in the ways we deploy money and the sensibility that guides it?

Jonathan DeYoe 6:48 – 6:54
Can you point to some of the, I guess, problematic trends in contemporary philanthropy? Like what? Specific things that have gone wrong?

Amy Schiller 6:55 – 9:46
Okay. Right. So the concern for me was, in my fundraising career, I noticed a real shift in vocabulary when donors talked about why they made their gifts. I heard less and less conversation about community, biography, values, some sense of embeddedness in a broader fabric, and more about a very analytical approach of looking at the greatest roi, the greatest yield, the best performance. And I understood it as a sense like, if philanthropy feels confusing or diffuse or difficult to understand, it would feel very reassuring, very validating to approach it just as you would your investments. Right? Like, you just transpose that framework. But it troubled me because I felt like that was forfeiting the opportunity to engage with money from a more soulful place, from a more human place, to sort of get in touch with what shaped us as human beings. How can we provide those things to others, another modality of being in the world? So, more practically, what I saw happening, not just in those conversations, but then in my subsequent research, was the rise of a number of trends that encouraged major funders, and really where major funders encouraged then, yet a broader universe. So this would start with Bill Gates, and then sort of extend into a new iteration known as effective altruism. But we had this mentality that said, philanthropy should address questions of efficiency, should address questions of maximizing returns in quantifiable ways, then that was a very absolutist perspective, that if you give, I want to know the exact return on investment per dollar, which means something quantifiable, like number of lives saved or the quality of adjusted life years that were gained. There’s nothing wrong, intrinsically with that being a priority. The problem was, again, the absolutism of that. So you have this sort of ideological spread of philanthropy sort of being held to a standard of producing social results. The way it would financial results and expecting philanthropists to give accordingly and prioritize their giving accordingly. So that’s mainly the problems I saw, had to do with that ideological creep and the rise of intensification on saving lives and other sort of quantifiable projects at the expense of quality of life, projects that really made life worth living in rich communities that sort of was no longer legible or legitimate in the eyes of very influential philanthropists, and then all the way down the line to small givers.

Jonathan DeYoe 9:46 – 10:22
So I have two questions that are sort of percolating. One is, I’m imagining that there’s a move within culture that this was part of. Like, I’m just thinking of the business world, how we went from, hey, the owner of a company would keep people employed, yes. There’d be recessions, yes. Wouldn’t lay everybody off, wouldn’t always be bottom line focused. And then you fast forward to today where it’s like, we got to get through this quarter. If we have to stop buying paperclips and lay off half our workforce to make sure we are profitable in this quarter, then we got to do that. So I don’t think philanthropy is alone in this. I think there’s a greater cultural narrative. That’s the first question. Can you speak to that?

Amy Schiller 10:23 – 11:00
I fully agree with that. Philanthropy is in some ways like a lagging indicator. It sort of tails those things. I’ll go back to what I said at the beginning, which is there is a unique, is tragedy, maybe too strong a word, but there’s a unique loss in philanthropy getting swept up in that shift because it has the potential to serve such a strong countervailing role. And so to see that getting subsumed into that shift, into a kind of ruthless performance orientation, to me, felt uniquely troubling.

Jonathan DeYoe 11:00 – 11:26
So the second thing is, so I just want to push back a little bit, and maybe you’ve heard this before, it seems to me like some of the largest recipients of philanthropy are arts organizations, museums, etcetera. And how does that square? Because that seems to be like quality of life, values oriented, not saving lives, not feeding people those kinds of things. So how does that square? Or am I wrong about that? I could be just wrong, too.

Amy Schiller 11:26 – 12:48
I think arts organizations in the latest giving USA survey are maybe number nine, either eight or nine in terms of the sector breakdown. And in fact, if you look at the top 100 recipients, I think only one of them is a museum, and it’s the Metropolitan Museum of Art. So more often you will get, sometimes you’ll get humanitarian organizations, you’ll get medical centers and you’ll get universities. Certainly elite universities receive a lot of money now, but how do you square that spread generally with the critique? I think my concern is the prioritization of institutions and projects within those institutions that lend themselves to this way of thinking that says, I want to give to things that show quantifiable returns, sort of returns orientation. So I think just across sectors, there is a tendency towards more kind of basic lifesaving interventions at the top. In terms of influential philanthropists. You have Bill Gates and you have quite a lot of tech wealth that’s going in that direction. And you just see that, I think seeping into the giving practices of givers at multiple levels.

Jonathan DeYoe 12:48 – 13:32
So there’s this, I don’t know if it’s, I’m going to misstate this, but there seems to be like a tension between how we gave in the past and then how we give today. Like you think about the giving, the past led to land grant universities, it led to libraries, it led to just really rich cultural spaces. And today we’re giving, and like you say, like the fundraising appeals I get are like, you give us $50, we’ll feed seven people, you give us $500 and we’ll feed 70 people. And it is just like, it’s a transaction. Look at this. You can feed 70 people. It just cost $500. Oh, great. I can do that. And I feel better by myself because I know the good I’m doing. But are there people that are active today that are using those, the ethic of prior years and is it still alive? And we just want to tilt towards it a little bit more.

Amy Schiller 13:32 – 14:46
By the way, there’s a term for the ethic of the past, and we’re going to go to the way past, to ancient Greece, which is ugurism and ubertism, was the approach of the nobles of greek polis that they would sponsor the civic life of the city, the bathhouses and the plazas and banquets and even infrastructure. And what is actually interesting about that model was that there was an understanding that was for their communities to kind of affirm their place of honor, and that their communities had to, in some governing structure, like receive the gift from the gift, kind of agree to it, agree to receive it. So there’s a relationship there. And so I mention that just to say there is precedent, that then the more recent analog is Andrew Carnegie, who, when he funded the network of libraries across the United States, actually each town had to agree to accept the library, and some did not. Some manufacturing town said, we don’t want the library glorifying this boss who has really destroyed a lot of people’s lives and as their employer. So I just say that as a sort of introductory note that there is a term for it that I’m trying to bring back, trying to make uguritism a term of art. And then, sure, it’s going to catch on quick.

Jonathan DeYoe 14:46 – 14:49
It’s a tough word. Say it again. I’m not sure I caught it.

Amy Schiller 14:49 – 14:50

Jonathan DeYoe 14:50 – 14:50

Amy Schiller 14:51 – 16:21
Okay, ugurtism. So who’s doing it today? The example that I spotlight in the book is LeBron James. And what I liked about Lebron’s giving is that he’s focused on Akron. It’s very local. It’s connected to his biography. He’s built this network of institutions, starting with the I promise school, then a housing community, then a community center. And all of these spaces are beautiful. They’re beautiful. They’re well thought out, well designed. They lend a kind of dignity to the people who are in them. They’re not just functional in their utility. And then the third thing is that he gives every kid a bike and a helmet who goes to the I promise school. And when he was asked why, he said, when I was a kid, having a bike was what made me feel free. That’s lived inside me for a long time, because there’s no way to measure a kid feeling free. There’s a trust. There’s an instinct there that says, I want to make this feeling possible for kids, but it is theirs to absorb in their own autonomous way that I don’t need to surveil or control in the future. So there’s a real sense of, like, I’m giving, I’m creating things that are enriching for others and that are sort of released into their lives without my involvement or oversight. So that, to me, feels like what giving could look like under maybe the sort of ideal approach.

Jonathan DeYoe 16:22 – 16:55
That’s an absolutely beautiful story. Thanks for sharing that. How do you give the feeling of freedom? That is very. That’s amazing. So I had an american professor, Doctor Steven Goodman, at the Institute of Buddhist Studies. So sort of a very lefty leaning group of folks, which I loved. And he was wary of giving because it existed within a hierarchy. If I was the giver, then I was always superior to and better than, and I’m helping those who are lesser than myself. How does that hierarchy come in to define modern giving?

Amy Schiller 16:56 – 17:48
I think that hierarchy becomes more acute when givers are intervening in people’s basic needs and their basic survival, the greater the spread in terms of vulnerability, the more that dynamic presents itself. And that’s one of the reasons I’m concerned with this sort of utilitarian turn, that by sort of focusing on the people who are the most vulnerable and the most needy, which absolutely has, there’s ethical reasoning behind it that I can understand and sympathize with. But there’s a downside, which is to say that very often objectifies and even dehumanizes people in exactly the way you’re describing it. Kind of. They’re just avatars of vulnerability and suffering, and they then serve a purpose for us for affirming our.

Jonathan DeYoe 17:48 – 17:49
So gross.

Amy Schiller 17:50 – 19:40
It’s gross, right? It is. And that, by the way, I will say, and when you talk about the fundraising appeals you get, I think that’s one of the threads there, too. It’s just like, so and so just needs five cents a day to get water. And you don’t know their life story. You don’t know their complexity. They’re just these kind of flimsy caricatures of neediness. So when you talk about the hierarchy, I think those tropes really reinforce that. So that’s why I think, one, philanthropy is not the right vehicle for meeting those needs. So part of the agenda of the book is to say it is actually worse when philanthropy fulfills our basic needs, and that only heightens the need for social policy and for public spending to play that role, because that’s the only way people are able to access those necessities with a sense of dignity and with a sense of stature, as, like, there are citizens, these are our rights and not, oh, we have to beg for the beneficence of others. When you get beyond that, and you’re talking about these kinds of higher order goods in life that have to do with culture, that have to do with leisure, that have to do with knowledge and fulfillment. I think there can be a less strained version of that dynamic, because it really is about making the best things in life available to all people. So there is something actually affirming and ennobling and dignified about that exchange that says, these people deserve the best of things, not just to the minimum they need to survive. I want to make great things available to people that’s more affirming. So I think it’s a softer and maybe even sort of de escalated version of that power dynamic you’re describing.

Jonathan DeYoe 19:41 – 20:42
So we’re sort of just touching on what I think is maybe the most important concept here. And to me, it was anyways, and maybe you’d intended as this, but I have a sense that you’re using philanthropy as a doorway to talk about our western cultural choices, like, we chose in the US to keep tax rates low. And so that allows wealth creation. It stimulates a certain form of redistribution, but a limited form, and the backfill through maybe the I don’t want to sort of the christian give back tithing, the whole thing. So how do we think of philanthropy in the context of a capitalist structure? Because I do believe that capitalism has done a lot of good. Like, we have actually solved a lot of problems. It’s very positive. I do like, I want to be careful not to be too biased. Personally, I like not having a 70% tax rate because I’m sure I would be in it. And so how do we reconcile this? Like, how do we bring these two things together?

Amy Schiller 20:43 – 20:59
Well, let me thank you very much for perceiving philanthropy as a doorway. I love that doorway into even bigger questions. So let me tell you, the section that really focuses on philanthropy’s relationship to capitalism was the thorniest to. Right?

Jonathan DeYoe 20:59 – 21:02
I bet. Yeah, authorities do read, too.

Amy Schiller 21:03 – 22:57
Oh, good. Thank you. So I landed at this place of thinking, okay, what I really want to propose is a multivalent approach, a kind of balanced approach between what is the role of capitalism in creating not just wealth, but creating civilization in its way? What is the role of government for redistributing those, like, that wealth and those resources so that there’s stability in our civilization and so that we have a kind of baseline of dignity for everyone, and then is there also then space for philanthropy to serve this really unique role that kind of nothing else can play that, because it doesn’t have to obey the demands of the market, and it doesn’t have to obey the sort of mandate of cost efficiency that governments have to submit themselves to. But it can be really visionary, and it can say, I want to build this library, this museum, this park. That is the kind of lavishness of aristocracy and all its opulence, but made possible for lots of people. Right? It has that freedom. It has that almost quixotic quality to it, and that there’s something affirming about making these things that seem like luxuries, seem like frivolity, is actually part of everyone’s life. So for me, it was really about saying, I reject the absolutism that says, like, down with capitalism, although I do see it meaning to be much more constrained than it is currently in terms of sort of approaches to taxation. Perhaps I’m more aligned with a higher tax rate than you are, I would like to see government sort of assume its appropriate responsibility. So I neither wanted to, like, I didn’t want to reject anything. I wanted to put everything in productive relationship with each other.

Jonathan DeYoe 22:57 – 23:31
So are you saying something? There’s this constant conversation that you hear, and we’re going to hear probably more this year, though, politics is changing that many people would prefer the capitalism that exists in, like, northern european countries, where you do have the higher tax rates, you do have sort of, everyone has housing and it’s quality housing, and it’s available to everybody. And even the lowest economic thresholds have access to different things, but that comes with higher tax rates. Are you just advocating that, or is there a that plus something?

Amy Schiller 23:31 – 23:39
It is that plus if it’s about putting things in productive relationship, the way that the shorthand for this in the book is government for bread, philanthropy for roses.

Jonathan DeYoe 23:39 – 23:39

Amy Schiller 23:39 – 24:51
So bread and roses being the sort of slogan of the labor movement, like, not only our daily sustenance, but the best things in life, too. And so it is to say, okay, this is a moving target. I don’t think any approach will perfectly achieve this equilibrium. But the plus is there room where we are not wholly dependent on any one pocket of money for needs, and can they fulfill the right balance of those? So can we embrace the fact that we want private money? We actually, maybe we want some fortunes to develop so that they can make great things possible for lots of people, a la Carnegie and the libraries, can we do that in a way that maybe comes with fewer downsides as far as labor practices? It just is like neither not rejecting any of those options, but trying to place them in balance. So I think philanthropy is the plus, and maybe that comes with a less intensive form of, like, northern european taxation approaches. Right. So there’s just a little more elasticity there because there is an understanding that we want there to be the flexibility of private money to provide some of these goods, that there’s upside to that.

Jonathan DeYoe 24:51 – 25:09
Yeah. So as an advisor, some portion of the audience are other advisors. So what is one thing that an advisor can do to sort of shift the conversation about philanthropy with their clients? If there’s anything that we can do. And for the audience who might be philanthropically inclined, I mean, not that aren’t client advisors.

Amy Schiller 25:10 – 27:40
Right. If I were an advisor, which I have done, I would say that you would encourage clients to think about their giving as something of an extension of themselves. And where can that be most fully realized? So if you think about LeBron and Akron, you might say perhaps there’s a connection to be had with the community, perhaps of your origin or a community that you currently reside in. There might be a passion of yours that you want to connect to. So there’s a way to say, this does not have to follow the crowd. This has to follow your self and your vision and where you’re in community and where you can actually enrich the lives of people in the most sort of full and expansive way. And I think that goes for givers, too. I’ve really encouraged people to think about their giving, first of all, as a balance of responding to the world we have and the world we want to build. Because I think a lot of people are like, I can’t not give to my food bank. Which is true. Like, I think that’s fine. I wouldn’t say cold turkey. Become a patron of the arts and nothing else. It’s just to say, again, can there be more fluidity and complexity in the portfolio? And when you are giving for the world you want to build, do so in a way that feels rooted in something meaningful, in a meaningful community. Do it, hopefully where there’s a balanced relationship with public governance. I will say another note about LeBron is that the school is not a charter school. It’s part of the Akron public school system, which his foundation then provides supplemental services to. So just think carefully about giving. Again, if you’re in relationship, it’s also in relationship with existing governmental and other nonprofit institutions. And again, think about it in that most sort of expansive, emancipatory way possible. How can you do the minimum good, but how can you really make the best things possible for people, even if it doesn’t look as efficient? And the last thing I will say is giving unrestricted is huge. I should mention this on a practical note. Unrestricted money is really important. That is the operationalizing of the sensibility of giving with that sense of trust, giving with that sense of relationship, not line iteming it and imposing this mandate of control. So just on a sort of practical note, please give unrestricted.

Jonathan DeYoe 27:41 – 28:48
Yeah, that’s huge. I was going to ask you that question specifically on, I serve on boards of some nonprofits, and we have money that we can spend, but we can only spend it on this, and we need it for this. We can’t use it for that. And it’s a pain in the butt because there’s stuff that you want to do and you can’t do. You do great work, but you’re not allowed to because the money is earmarked so that’s a great point. It strikes me, and this is my own experience, and I don’t want to call out the charity, but there’s a charity I used to support a lot, and I’m in Berkeley, California. I loved it. I love what they did with youth in the community and everything. And then they sort of grew and they bolted on an outside community, and then they purchased another one. They’re merged with another one that was outside and merged with something that’s further away. And I kind of was like, I don’t really want to. I get it. It’s more efficient for them. They can do more good if they have more size and less management structure. And I get it, but I wanted to support someone that does that kind of thing very, very locally. If we focus on just the local environs and the small thing, and if we lose efficiency, don’t we then also lose some of the good that we’re doing? Or does the additional benefit of following the path that you’re prescribing, does that additional benefit outweigh the loss of the efficiency?

Amy Schiller 28:48 – 28:56
I think it really depends on how you’re defining benefit. Right? Again, is benefit defined in terms of volume? That might make sense, aren’t I?

Jonathan DeYoe 28:56 – 29:00
I’m really stuck in this. You got to be able to measure it, right? I’m really stuck.

Amy Schiller
29:00 – 29:54
Well, then that’s the challenge, I think is saying like that, to me, is the challenge and the opportunity of saying, okay, can I embrace a vision of value that isn’t rooted in, isn’t rooted in volume, isn’t rooted in ratios of efficiency? Is like the bikes and what feels like that to me. So I think there’s the negotiation of relationships constantly. And if you’re saying, listen, I just didn’t. I no longer felt connected to the mission. It didn’t feel like it was doing the things that I wanted it to do, then that’s always your right. But also, you can have that conversation with the founder or with the board and say, what’s the strategy here, and what are you hoping to achieve? And maybe that will resonate with you in a different way, so there’s no harm in everyone being transparent about what they’re hoping to achieve.

Jonathan DeYoe 29:54 – 30:04
Amy, this has been great. We’re sort of coming up to the end, but I want to sort of loop back to a couple personal things. I always do this. I hope you listen to one in advance. This isn’t a zinger. What was the last thing you changed your mind about?

Amy Schiller 30:04 – 30:17
Yeah, I changed my mind about New York. City being the only place I could possibly live. That’s a big one. That’s huge.

Jonathan DeYoe 30:17 – 30:26
I love that. Maybe the second question will actually dovetail back to the first. Can you name a place you visited that really had an impact on who you are today and what was the impact?

Amy Schiller 30:26 – 31:39
Yes. This is a story that is both about me and about the book. Can’t help it. So I went to Paris in the summer of 2022 to research the Notre Dame cathedral, its restoration. The controversy that happened around the money raised for its restoration, it shaped me, that visit, because, for one thing, it really deepened my thinking about that controversy and helped me to understand that there could be both valid political complaints about inequality and taxation and frustration with that. And there could also be a real strong, broad meaning of something like a cathedral, then that those two things could happen simultaneously. It transformed me as a writer, was one of the first times I really done that kind of in depth reporting in a way, in a new place and talking to people and walking around the site and feeling the experience and the emotions that it brought up, and it transformed my understanding of what major, beautiful, important spaces, magnificent spaces do for us as human beings and as a society.

Jonathan DeYoe 31:40 – 32:07
Yeah, we went there last summer and saw the construction happening, and it’s just sitting. They’ve got a whole. They’ve got seating, and you can’t go in and seat anymore, but you have seating just to watch it kind of happen and just kind of sit with the cathedral. It’s moving to see, to know when it was created, to know it had all the challenges, and to know that we’re actually doing something about a building, it was very moving to me. I love the cathedral. So finally, I get emotional when I think about cathedrals are something that’s near and dear to my heart. I’m a big fan of religion and deep belief and all that, so.

Amy Schiller 32:07 – 32:22
And I will say they’re the kinds of things that philanthropy sustains, and to me, they feel so connected that I wrote, that’s why I wrote about it was at such length to say, there’s this really special thing that does move us in this way, and shouldn’t we protect the thing that sustains it?

Jonathan DeYoe 32:22 – 32:29
Yeah, it sustains heart, like community, but heart. And you tell the audience how they can connect with you, where they find the book, etcetera.

Amy Schiller 32:29 – 32:56
The book is available at all online retailers. Bookshop.org dot. It is available for order and or at many local bookstores. You can find me at ameedbest shiller.com. so that’s three s’s b e s s c h I l l e R. I’m on Twitter and Instagram as amytheshill, my last name schill. And there’s a contact form on my website. And yeah, you can find me here on these Internets.

Jonathan DeYoe 32:57 – 33:01
Amy, thanks for coming on. Everything’s gonna be in the show notes. I very much appreciate your time and the conversation.

Amy Schiller 33:02 – 33:04
Such a pleasure. Thanks for having me. Jonathan.
Aundefined 33:13 – 33:40
Thanks for listening. Full show notes for each episode, which includes a summary, key takeaways, quotes and any resources mentioned, are available at mindful money. Be sure to follow and subscribe wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts, and if you’re enjoying the content and getting value from the these episodes, please leave us a rating and review@ratethispodcast.com. mindfulmoney we’ll be sure to read those out on future episodes.

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