College of Community and Public Service

Grand Rapids premiere of professor's documentary, What is Philanthropy?

Date: May 23, 2014

The documentary “What Is Philanthropy?” will be screened at the Koning Micro Cinema at Wealthy Theatre, 1130 Wealthy St SE, in Grand Rapids, at 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 14. Admission is $5, and producer Salvatore Alaimo will engage a question and answer session after the film. The 86-minute feature-length film portrays and discusses philanthropy and giving through the perspectives of a wide variety of people from across the country. Subjects include Alex Smith, quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs; Senator Charles Grassley; Mike Farrell, Emmy-nominated star of M*A*S*H*; Nell Newman, President and co-founder of Newman’s Own Organics; Evelyn Lauder, of The Estée Lauder Companies; Civil Rights Leader Dr. William G. Anderson; and Amber Kriech, a young super volunteer from Indiana.  

“The purpose of the film is to enhance our understanding of the concept of philanthropy and its role in American culture and society,” said Alaimo. “It seeks to broaden our perspectives for giving, enhance our understanding for philanthropy’s capabilities, and provoke us to reflect on our giving.”

The film premiered at the Queens World Film Festival in Long Island City, New York in March and screened at the Bare Bones International Film & Music Festival in Muskogee, Oklahoma in April and at the Westwood Public Library in Westwood, New Jersey on May 5.

Paul Schervish from the Center on Wealth and Philanthropy at Boston College said he believes “this film will effectively enhance our learning and practice of philanthropy.

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

Producer Salvatore Alaimo is an assistant professor in the School of Public, Nonprofit and Health Administration at Grand Valley State University, a liberal arts university in Michigan, where he teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in philanthropy and nonprofit administration. Alaimo is a published author and has worked in and consulted for nonprofit organizations. He earned his doctorate degree studying philanthropy at Indiana University, in Indianapolis.

View the trailer and find more information at or on YouTube at: For tickets, go to

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