Schar’s MPA program and Nonprofit Center hosted a screening and discussion of “Uncharitable”

The Schar School’s MPA Movie Night, hosted by the Schar School MPA program along with the Center on Nonprofits, Philanthropy, and Social Enterprise, took place on February 22nd at George Mason University’s Mason Square/Arlington campus. Faculty, students, and community members were invited to watch and discuss “Uncharitable,” a movie featuring Dan Pallotta of Ted Talk fame. The evening began with a screening of the documentary, followed by a stimulating discussion led by adjunct faculty member Cliff Yee, who is also an MPA Advisory Board member, and MPA faculty members Mirae Kim, Stefan Toepler, and Alan Abramson. This discussion explored several themes from the movie, including reframing the idea of “overhead,” questioning nonprofit compensation, and challenging conventional wisdom about philanthropy. Attendees, including MPA students, alumni, and local nonprofit leaders, exchanged perspectives and debated the movie’s implications in a thought-provoking and engaging event.

The documentary sparked a good discussion about norms and unspoken conventions that often steer nonprofit practices. One of the local leaders in attendance was Jorge E. Figueredo, Executive Director of Edu-Futuro, who has over 24 years of experience in the nonprofit sector. Figueredo agreed with many of the movie’s themes and explained, “Nonprofit practices are outdated and need to be rethought. I welcome and encourage spaces, like the one created during this showing, to go deeper into rewriting the rules and changing the paradigms.” Although not all attendees came to the same conclusion regarding the film’s assertions, attendees appreciated the chance to take a step back and assess how nonprofits operate and how their funders and others can better engage with them. The event also encouraged critical thinking among nonprofit stakeholders, highlighting the university’s commitment to providing enriching opportunities for open dialogue and exploration, both for students and the nonprofit community.

“As a nonprofit practitioner, while I felt validated watching the documentary, I have a strong hope that we will be able to spread the word about the untapped potential that exists when nonprofits are given a bit more latitude to fulfill their missions.”
Roopal Mehta Saran
Executive Director, English Empowerment Center
“If you are passionate about a particular cause that is supported by nonprofits, watching “Uncharitable” should provide valuable insights into the realities of how these organizations operate and whether there are more effective ways to make a positive impact.”
Shannon Steene
Executive Director of Carpenter’s Shelter
“I welcome and encourage spaces, like the one created during this showing, to go deeper into rewriting the rules and changing the paradigms. To tackle serious issues and change the world, these organizations must be allowed to acquire the tools and use the methods that are most effective.”
Jorge E. Figueredo
Executive Director, Edu-Futuro

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