White people, mostly.

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…


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

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…


Vaping may be harmful. Smoking kills.

Something very curious is happening as anti-tobacco groups led by the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids seek city-by-city, state-by-state bans on flavored tobacco products.

They have succeeded in just one state — Massachusetts, which ended the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes, e-cigarettes and cigars, last June. In a full-page ad in The Boston Globe, the anti-tobacco groups thanked lawmakers “for protecting our kids and communities.”

And yet. Sales tax data shows that as cigarette sales declined in Massachusetts, they grew in neighboring states — an early indication that the bans may not be reducing tobacco consumption.


The Biden administration is under pressure to ban menthol cigarettes, and for good reason: A menthol ban will probably save hundreds of thousands of lives, many of them Black lives.

A ban would be the biggest change to tobacco regulation in years. Menthol cigarettes account for more than a third of all cigarette sales in the US, according to the CDC. Of African Americans who smoke, about three in four choose menthol.

In a 2020 editorial in the journal of Nicotine and Tobacco Research, scholars Cristine Delnevo, Ollie Ganz and Renee Goodwin describe a menthol ban as “a social justice…


Carl Hart and Charley Wininger are responsible — and very public — drug users. They deserve our thanks.

The act of coming out of the closet has been so important to the movement for gay rights that it is celebrated every year on National Coming Out Day. When people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender share their stories, they change hearts and minds, create new allies and help to dispel prejudices and misconceptions.

Can a similar dynamic help end the war on drugs?

Dr. Carl L. Hart, a professor of psychology at Columbia, and Charles Wininger, a Brooklyn-based psychoanalyst, are getting things rolling with new books. …


When poker star and effective altruist Igor Kurganov wins big, so do the rest of us.

Igor Kurganov

Poker has been called a very dark game. Especially at the highest levels, the best professionals can prey upon weaker foes, taking millions of dollars from amateurs.

Igor Kurganov, who earned $18.7m as one of the game’s top players before retiring last year, says: “It definitely bothered me a little bit.”

He need not feel bad. Most of his winnings came at high-stakes tournaments, played against other professionals or well-to-do business people who could afford to lose.

More importantly, Kurganov and three poker-playing friends, including his partner, Liv Boeree, started an organization called Raising for Effective Giving — “raising,” get…


Last week, a group of nonprofit leaders known as the Leap Ambassadors released a collection of essays, aimed at foundations, called Funding Performance. They argue that donors need to do a much better job of supporting and trusting the charities that they fund.

The authors sound a call for change:

Funders, heal thyself! Your intentions are noble, but your practices aren’t. The vast majority of you are starving your grantees rather than nourishing them. When your grantees get a chance to speak freely — that is, anonymously — about the way you treat them, they express resentment that you’re not…


The dispute is not about money, but about social justice and workplace culture at the Animal Legal Defense Fund.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund can say, with little fear of contradiction, that all its clients are innocent. It has sued a California dairy farm, alleging that Dick Van Dam Dairy treated cows and calves cruelly. It has sued the owner of an eight-year-old horse named Justice, accusing her of neglecting the animal. It has served notice that it intends to sue a Pennsylvania roadside zoo that is confining wild animals, including a ring-tailed lemur, black leopard and gray wolves,. …


They aren’t the names you know

Photo by John Englart (Takver) is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

This fall, just in time for the giving season, two groups of independent researchers set out to identify the most effective nonprofits that are working to curb climate change. Their findings may surprise you.

Giving Green recommends five organizations: the Clean Air Task Force, the Sunrise Education Fund, which is the 501(c)(3) arm of the Sunrise Movement, Climeworks, Burn and Tradewater. Top charities selected by researchers at the Founders Pledge are the Clean Air Task Force (again), Carbon 180 and Terra Praxis.

You’ll immediately notice one thing about these recommendations, which reflects thousands of hours of careful research. With the…


At least there’s no evidence that he did.

Here we go again.

Showtime just released My Psychedelic Love Story, an engaging documentary about Joanna Harcourt-Smith, the rich and beautiful young girlfriend of Timothy Leary, who tripped around the world with the irrepressible Leary after he was smuggled out of a a minimum-security prison in California in 1970.

For those of you too young to remember, Leary was a Harvard psychology professor who became a hero of the 1960s counterculture and an evangelist for LSD who exhorted his followers to “turn on, tune in and drop out.”

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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