A More Beautiful World


Airdate: November 13, 2017

Charles Thomas is creating a more beautiful and connected world. He is a program director for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. He invests foundation funds in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of the city of Charlotte - one of the cities where the Knight brothers once published a newspaper. Charles is the former founding executive director of Queen City Forward, a hub for social entrepreneurs. His work included launching the organization and building programs to support social entrepreneurship and civic innovation. Charles is also a professional photographer and artist who earlier in his career served as director of education for The Light Factory Contemporary Museum of Photography and Film. He began his career working as a consultant for Andersen Consulting (Accenture). Charles earned his bachelor's degree in economics from Duke University.    

This episode is perfect for anyone interested in grant-making and community building, and a personal quest to create greater equity and connection in the world.


  • Charles shares the conversation the Knight Foundation is having behind the scenes about their investments and what Knight is seeking to accomplish.

  • He talks about how Knight is exploring the impacts of Artificial Intelligence on journalism and concerns about computer-generated news and commentary.

  • Charles reveals what is top of mind for him as he sits at the Knight Foundation table, the typical day of a program director, and what makes for a good grant application.

  • He discusses what he would fund if he was investing his own monies and how and why he wants to get better at his job.

  • He talks about what's frustrating him at work, what he's learning to do, and what he knows now about himself now that he didn't know when he took the job.

  • Charles describes growing up, being raised as an only child by a single mom, and how the absence of his father influenced him.

  • He reads from an article he wrote about the Keith Lamont Scott shooting in Charlotte and his hopes and vision for the city.

  • Charles shares his mission and purpose and sense of destiny.

plus Mark's Personal Word Essay: The Connections Our Hearts Want

To Learn More About Charles Thomas (and the ideas of Charles Eisenstein)


  • What struck you about Charles' comments?

  • How would you invest your money to help your city succeed?

  • How does your childhood inform your work?

  • What is your calling?

We invite your posts on our Facebook page.

This episode is sponsored by Blumenthal Performing Arts, celebrating its 25th year presenting the best in performing arts.