White people, mostly.

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The board of directors of Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies oversees more than $7 billion in assets

The Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies, which consists of two foundations with assets of more than $7 billion, is based in Eden Prairie, MN, a well-to-do suburb of Minneapolis. When Minneapolis was shaken by protests after George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died at the hands of police, the Cargill Philanthropies, like so many others, felt a need to respond.

“The senseless killing of George Floyd is evidence of the underlying inequities and racism that continue to exist in our community and our country more broadly,” the philanthropies said.

Margaret Cargill Philanthropies promised to look at “equity and inclusion” in its grant-making and later directed more than $2 million to communities of color in the Twin Cities. …


Drug trips, under controlled conditions, break down the barriers between people and bring users closer to nature

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Photo: jhillphotography/Getty Images

This is a remarkable moment for psychedelics. Elite universities, including Johns Hopkins and Imperial College in London, have opened centers to research the medical benefits of drugs such as psilocybin, a hallucinogen found in certain mushrooms.

The nonprofit Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) is recruiting people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder to participate in FDA-approved clinical trials using MDMA, better known as molly or ecstasy. CBS News’ 60 Minutes last fall reported on life-changing psychedelic journeys.

So far, the psychedelic renaissance has focused on the potential of these drugs to address mental illness and rightly so. A growing body of research suggests they can alleviate the suffering caused by a broad array of ailments: depression, addiction, and anxiety among others. …


Jonathan Lubecky says MDMA-assisted therapy helped him overcome PTSD. Now he wants to help others.

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Jonathan Lubecky, at The Citadel with U.S. Sen. Rand Paul

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a progressive champion. Matt Gaetz is a conservative firebrand. They don’t agree on much — except psychedelics.

Ocasio-Cortez, a New York Democrat, and Gaetz, a Florida Republican, have joined forces in Congress to try to make it easier for scientists to research marijuana and psychedelic drugs, including MDMA and psilocybin.

Such bipartisan cooperation will be needed to support the growth of psychedelic medicines and end the drug war, says Jonathan Lubecky, a retired Army sergeant and Iraq war veteran who now lobbies on behalf of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, or MAPS.

“This isn’t a party line issue,” Lubecky says. “The polar opposites in the House came together on psychedelics.” …


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Led by voters in Oregon, Americans from coast to coast voted by decisive margins to take steps to end the war against drugs. We’re moving closer to making this a country where people are no longer punished for what they put into their bodies.

Oregon voters approved two historic ballot measures. One will decriminalize the possession of all drugs, from marijuana and ecstasy to LSD and heroin — a model pioneered, mostly with good results, in Portugal, which treats drug addiction as a disease, not a crime.

Oregonians also approved a measure that will allow the medical use of psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms. This creates an opportunity to show that psychedelic drugs can help treat mental disorders. …


eBay employees harassed journalists. They were arrested. The man who encouraged them now leads a Silicon Valley charity.

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Steve Wymer, chief exec of the Boys & Girls Club of Silicon Valley

Last year, staff members who worked in “corporate security” at eBay set out to harass a husband-and-wife team who publish a newsletter that criticized the company. Things got ugly in a hurry.

The security staff sent them boxes of live cockroaches, a bloody Halloween mask, a funeral wreath and a book on how to survive the death of a spouse. They spied on the pair, had pizzas delivered to them in the middle of the night and tried to discredit them with neighbors. …


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Cancer patients will be given psilocybin in rooms designed for drug trips. Photo credit: Halkin Mason

As medical director of the Aquilino Cancer Center, Dr. Manish Agrawal has seen the progress made possible by cancer research.

Death rates from cancer have declined steadily among men and women, and for most common cancers, including lung, breast, and prostate cancers.

“The longer you’re in practice. you realize that we do a really good job with cancer-directed treatment,” Dr. Agrawal says.

But Dr. Agrawal has also seen patients struggle with depression and anxiety. Some cannot get the help they need.

“There’s so much emotional and psychological suffering that cancer patients and their families go through,” he says, “We never fully address that.” …


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The Obamas volunteered at Martha’s Table on Thanksgiving in 2010 (White House photo)

Martha’s Table, a widely-respected charity in Washington, D.C., provides healthy food to families and operates preschool and after-school programs for kids. It serves all comers, but many, if not most, are Black people. After all, more than 60% of Washington, D.C.’s poor people are Black people.

Yet a new report from the National Committee on Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP) does not consider donations to groups like Martha’s Table to be investments in Black communities. The report is thus able to make a startling claim: That just 3.3% …


Alex Hershaft should have retired gracefully years ago. He didn’t.

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This should be a moment of opportunity for the animal rights movement. The case against eating animals — for ethical, environmental and health reasons — has never been stronger. Covid-19 may have begun at a live animal market in Wuhan and, so far, the virus has infected more than 41,000 workers at US meat and poultry slaughterhouses, according to the Food and Environmental Reporting Network,

All of that and more could have been fodder for this year’s Animal Rights National Conference, which was going to be held, virtually, in July.

Then it was cancelled — largely because of the behavior of Alex Hershaft, who started the event nearly four decades ago. …


Bill Richards has been exploring the worlds of religion and psychedelics for more than half a century

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Psychedelics researcher William A. “Bill” Richards

Pastor James Lindberg was unmoored by his first trip on psilocybin. “I’m a pretty normal middle aged white guy who found myself involved in things that were a bit larger than I intended them to be,” says Lindberg, who leads a Lutheran church in an Omaha suburb. He questioned his place in the church but, after some soul-searching, recommitted “to the tradition that has been entrusted to me.”

Rabbi Zac Kamenetz’s first journey on psilocybin led him to “light, connection, warmth, gratitude and the sense that all is well,” he says. “I left that experience inspired, energized and grounded, in the sense that the path that I was on was a noble one.” His next trip brought “darkness, emptiness and a void.” …


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[Photo courtesy of Dr Bronner’s]

Civil rights. Feminism. Gay rights. Environmentalism. Meditation. Yoga. Natural childbirth.

Much of the politics and culture of the 1960s has been absorbed into mainstream America.

Not psychedelic drugs — not yet, anyway.

That will soon change if David Bronner, the CEO of family-owned soap-maker Dr. Bronner’s, has his way.

“Psychedelic medicine is the last and arguably the most powerful gift of the counter-culture that hasn’t been integrated,” says Bronner, who has put millions of dollars of his company’s money behind drug policy reform.

Bronner, who is 47— he came of age in the 1990s, not the 1960s — is a pony-tailed vegan and an enthusiastic user of psychedelic drugs who says his life was transformed by a three-month sojourn in Amsterdam after college. Amidst growing evidence that psychedelic medicines can help alleviate an array of mental ailments, he’d like to see them become more widely available. He also believes that the wider use of psychedelics can help heal the world. …

About

Marc Gunther

Reporting on philanthropy, psychedelics, animal welfare, global poverty, etc. Ex-Fortune. Baseball fan. Runner. Seen in Gen, Marker, Elemental, OneZero.

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