Generosity and Servant Leadership

In the Our State of Generosity Project, we learn from Michigan Philanthropists about how nonprofit, government, and business leaders value collaboration over competition. This project includes three lessons for middle school and three lessons for high school, plus several activities that center on project-based themes of addressing needs, leadership, career, perseverance, collaboration, and philanthropy.

Teacher Training

Take this Online Educator Mini-Course about Servant Leadership and Generosity in Philanthropy. Explore how servant leadership, generosity, and collaboration can help groups lead change. We learn from philanthropic leaders in Michigan about how nonprofit, government, and business leaders work in partnership to make a difference.  Start Course. 

Are You a Servant Leader?

Great movements in history start with individuals seeing a need and working for the good of others to address the need. They feel a desire to serve first, and then lead. Are you a "servant leader"?
Read these "Nine Habits of Servant Leaders" to build some great practices of generosity and servant leadership.

Guiding Questions to Explore Generosity:

  1. What does it mean to be a servant leader?
  2. How does abundance thinking open possibilities for change?
  3. What is the role of generosity in changes in our history?
  4. Where have we seen government, business, and nonprofits work together to address a need?
  5. What is the role of nonprofits in leading change?
  6. With whom do I build a coalition if I see a need in the community?
  7. What are the different ways young people get involved to promote cooperation?
  8. How can the skill of listening promote "success"?
  9. How can servant leadership influence political partisanship?

Middle and High School Activities

These stand-alone activities (6th - 12th grade) employ a variety of thinking skills and teaching strategies. Some take a single class period, while others involve research and demonstration.

  • Map Your Heartbreak: This activity will help students discover their giving passion.
  • Double Puzzles: Read profiles of "servant leaders" and use brainteaser puzzles to reveal their philosophy of leadership.
  • Servant Leader Profile Project: Middle School version / High School version  Write your own profile paper about a philanthropist who exhibits "servant leadership."
  • Philanthropy Webquest: Middle School version / High School version  Your Great Aunt has left you money. Some is for you, but you must donate to a nonprofit of your choice. How will you decide where to invest?
  • Oral History: In this activity, students interview a philanthropist and tell their story in the style of StoryCorps.
  • Time, Talent, and Treasure Activity: In this activity, students explore how individuals find their passion and act as philanthropists.

Middle and High School Units and Lessons

  • The middle school unit explores how struggles in life can be turned around and lead people to success.
  • In the high school unit, students research career pathways of nonprofit leaders that match their own passions, and develop service projects that allow them to build career readiness skills while serving others.

Generosity and Servant Leadership Lessons

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Generosity and Servant Leadership Lessons

This project includes three lessons for middle school about overcoming struggles and using our voice to make a difference. Three lessons for high school promote cooperation over competition and explore career pathways.

Both teaching units include service suggestions and activities that center on addressing needs, leadership, career, perseverance, collaboration, and philanthropy.