Tiny Spark In the News

Tiny Spark is a podcast that investigates nonprofits, international aid, and philanthropy.

Tiny Spark investigations and co-productions have been featured in a number of national media outlets. We’ve received some accolades, too.


Amy has appeared regularly on NPR’s Here & Now to provide context and analysis on a number of issues related to charitable giving and philanthropy:

Amy was interviewed on New York City public radio about her investigation into the harm caused by medical volunteers in post-quake Haiti.


Tiny Spark is Number One on Acumen’s 10 Must-Listen Podcasts for Social Change Makers. “Amy asks tough questions, but she’s not a cynic. She genuinely wants to find solutions to global problems as she presses her guests to provide insights on the unintended consequences of aid, philanthropy, or charity.”

Medium’s 21 Top Podcast Episodes for Global Thinkers features two Tiny Spark episodes:

Our interview with author Nina Munk about her investigation into the Millennium Villages Project. Medium writes, “Why listen? Just because one has a good plan to end extreme poverty and $100 million+ to execute it doesn’t mean it will work.”

Our interview with journalist Emily Troutman on the ethics of photographing aid projects. Medium writes, “Why listen? The work might sound noble, but it certainly doesn’t make international development immune from scandal and corruption.”


MIT’s Innovations for Poverty Action recommends Tiny Spark in its Great IPA Holiday Playlist, calling it a podcast about development “where you’re guaranteed all episodes are good.”

Good Net

Tiny Spark joins This American Life and Radiolab for Goodnet’s 8 Best Podcasts to Educate You on Your Commute. “Tiny Spark is the best podcast to pique the interest of the socially minded. Host Amy Costello is passionate about answering the question – how can we “do good” in the world in the most effective way?”

Newsweek logo

Tiny Spark provided investigative funds to freelance science reporter Amy Maxmen for her story, Frontline Health Workers Were Sidelined in $3.3bn Fight Against Ebola, which appeared in Newsweek’s Europe and U.S. editions. We interviewed Maxmen about her reporting experience for our podcast, Tracking the Aid Money: Mission Impossible.


Cites our Toms Shoes investigation to explain shortcomings of Buy-One-Give-One model.

Cites our critique of Toms Shoes’ Buy-One-Give-One business model.


Includes interview with Amy on the Toms Shoes’ Buy-One-Give-One model.

Amy has appeared regularly on PRI’s The World.

The World features our story on Cure Violence, which tackles gun violence like an infectious disease:

The World features Tiny Spark’s investigation into the harm caused by volunteers in Haiti:

NPR’s Goats & Soda blog has featured several of our stories including:

Interview about groundbreaking Global Burden of Disease study. Our podcast appears as a Q&A on NPR’s blog.

Interview with Ugandan-born entrepreneur and writer Teddy TMS Ruge about developing a self-reliant Africa. Our podcast appears as a Q&A on NPR’s blog.


Amy discusses effective holiday giving and answers listeners’ questions on NHPR’s live call-in show, The Exchange.


Amy speaks with KCRW’s Press Play about a billionaire philanthropist’s goal to cure disease.


Features our investigation on The Soccket, which we co-produced with PRI’s The World.