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Town Hall Seattle: Civics Series

The Civics series at Town Hall shines a light on the shifting issues, movements, and policies, that affect our society, both locally and globally. These events pose questions and ideas, big and small, that have the power to inform and impact our lives. Whether it be constitutional research from a scholar, a new take on history, or the birth of a movement, it's all about educating and empowering.

Checkout our new bi-weekly podcast "In the Moment"

Highlighting big ideas from both recent and soon-to-come events. A rolling Town Hall timeline, with you at the center. Every two weeks, hosts Steve Scher and Jini Palmer rewind through the recent past and fast-forward to the near future, catching you up on events you may have missed and offering a glimpse into the weeks ahead.

Don't miss our other series podcasts:


Town Hall is a gathering place where ideas are planted and movements grow. It’s where we come together as a community to listen and be heard—to ask and answer the big questions facing our city and our world. Annually, we present hundreds of artists and scholars, and collaborate with more than 150 grassroots groups in our self-produced programs. Rooted in the belief that we all deserve a voice, our programming reflects—and inspires—our region's best impulses: creativity, empathy, and innovation. With our podcast series, we take one more step towards making our programming accessible to all. 

Jul 31, 2017

When “doing good” starts to look like protecting one’s self interest, it’s a tricky business. While famous philanthropists like Bill Gates and Charles Koch are closely scrutinized, thousands of wealthy donors are at work below the radar promoting a wide range of causes. In The Givers: Wealth, Power, and Philanthropy in a New Gilded Age, author and lecturer David Callahan charts the rise of new power players and the ways they are shaping our society. In conversation with Paul Shoemaker, the founding president of the international philanthropy group Social Venture Partners, Callahan will discuss the how this elite sect is impacting education, the environment, science, LGBTQ rights, and, in particular, government policy. Callahan makes the case that the influence of big givers is just beginning, as new waves of billionaires like Mark Zuckerberg establish their own initiatives and foundations. Based on extensive research and interviews with countless donors and policy experts, this is not an argument for or against philanthropy, but an investigation of a power shift in American society that has implications for all of us.

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Recorded live at Town Hall Seattle Thursday, April 20, 2017