Documentary explores what is philanthropy

A group of local residents are part of a documentary on philanthropy which will air on WKTV 25 this month.


Grand Valley State University Associate Professor Salvatore Alaimo explores the concept of giving through the stories and perspectives of a variety of people from a group called the Caregivers Sewing Group who meet at Wyoming’s Gall Sewing and Vac Center to Emmy-nominated star of “M*A*S*H” and “Providence” Mike Farrell.


“What is Philanthropy?” will air at noon Wednesday, Dec. 7; 11:30 a.m.; Friday, Dec. 9; and 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 10, on WKTV 25.


Also sharing their stories on philanthropy are U.S. Senator Charles Grassley, of Iowa, Newman’s Own Organics President and Co-founder Neil Newman, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith, Estée Lauder Companies’ Evelyn Lauder, Civil Rights leader Dr. William G. Anderson and Indiana super volunteer Amber Kriech. Their comments are mixed in with some of the leading scholars in the field along with average citizens.


Emmy-nominated star of “M*A*S*H” and “Providence” Mike Farrell
Emmy-nominated star of “M*A*S*H” and “Providence” Mike Farrell

According to Alaimo, his film, “What Is Philanthropy?,” enhances our understanding of the concept of philanthropy and its role in American culture and society. It seeks to broaden perspectives for giving, enhance understanding for philanthropy’s capabilities and shortcomings, and provoke us to reflect on our giving, he said.


“Philanthropy is not well understood by policy makers or the general public,” said Aaron Doorman for the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy. “This film helps address that problem. A thorough and honest portrayal of the strengths and shortcomings of philanthropy is just what the doctor ordered.”


The film has been shown in several universities throughout the United States including locally at Grand Valley State University, Aquinas College and Hope College. The film was an official selection to several film festivals including Queens World Film Festival, Bare Bones International Film Festival, Kingston Film Festival, Asheville Cinema Festival and was nominated for a 2015 Eclipse Award.


Alaimo, PhD, is an associate professor in the School of Public, Nonprofit and Health Administration at Grand Valley State University where he teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in philanthropy and nonprofit administration.


For more information about the documentary, go to