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FEATURING EDGAR VILLANUEVA – The United States is experiencing record levels of wealth inequality, with money flowing to the top into ever-fewer hands, and those with obscene wealth using it to influence government policies to benefit them. With the new tax reform law quite literally defunding the US treasury, Republicans are attempting to use the debt to justify cuts to the modest remnants of our social safety net program.

More and more, Americans are turning to private forms of aid, including loans, investments, and gifts, to boost funding for public education, healthcare, homelessness, disability, and so many other critical social needs.

We are supposed to be grateful to the philanthropists that generously fund these ventures and good causes. But, what if the philanthropic world is part of the problem? After all, to give money, you have to have money, and if you have money you are part of the wealthy elite class that has contributed to inequality in the first place.

It is this conundrum that my guest writes about in his new book, Decolonizing Wealth: Indigenous Wisdom to Heal Divides and Restore Balance. In it author Edgar Villanueva points out that the world of philanthropy mirrors colonial structures and destructive hierarchies and may be doing more harm than good.

NOTE: This is the Extended version of this interview, available only to our subscribers, or to rent or buy.

Edgar Villanueva, Vice President of Programs and Advocacy at the Schott Foundation for Public Education. He is also the Chair of the Board of Directors of Native Americans in Philanthropy and a board member of a Andrus Family Fund. He is a member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina. His new book is called Decolonizing Wealth: Indigenous Wisdom to Heal Divides and Restore Balance.

**This segment was originally broadcast on November 11, 2018.

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