Issue Areas

Issue-Related Lesson Plans, Community Resources, and Project Ideas

Browse the topics below to help your planning. Each Issue Area colored block below contains related K-12 lesson plans to build knowledge, community connections, and empathy.

In each issue area, click on the View Lessons link and then add filters to narrow the search. Each topic also includes a toolkit with project ideas and community resources. Please share your ideas to make this a better resource for all teachers at [email protected] 

Photo Credit: 05062014 ED Goes Back to School 15 by US Department of Education is licensed under CC by 2.0

Clean Water, Watersheds, and Water Cycle

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Clean Water, Watersheds, and Water Cycle

Focus student attention on the need for clean water and the science of water systems. With its impact on children and families and the basic right of clean water, the Flint water crisis strikes all of our hearts and provides opportunities for learning that fits any classroom subject or grade level. View this toolkit of lesson plans, project ideas, and background information related to water and the Flint crisis.  

Establishing a Culture of Kindness

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Establishing a Culture of Kindness

Teach lessons that explore how acts of kindness vs bullying behavior impact the whole community. Link to four anti-bullying units and character education units.

View this toolkit of lesson plans, project ideas, and background information related to promoting kindness and anti-bullying. 

Disability Awareness

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Disability Awareness

Teach lessons that build empathy for people with physical and mental differences. Lesson plans help students understand abilities and strengths of people who are differently abled. View this toolkit of lesson plans, project ideas, and background information related to people with disabilities.

Photo Credit: Coach Jeff playing basketball with a student by U.S. Embassy, Jakarta is licensed under CC by 4.0 

Environmental Lessons

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Environmental Lessons

In preparation for Earth Day, teach lessons about the environment, including air pollution, litter, recycling, trees, water, and animals. These lessons help students understand issues and ways people take action to make a difference for the good of all. 

View this toolkit of lesson plans, project ideas, and background information related to the environment. 

Civic Participation Lessons

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Civic Participation Lessons

Teach skills of participation from voting to advocating for a cause. These lessons teach the strategies, rights, and responsibilities of citizenship. Filter these search results by adding keywords, grade level, and subject area. View this toolkit of lesson plans, project ideas, and background information related to the civic engagement and voting. Photo Credit:  November 4: D'arby voted! By Gwen is licensed under CC by 2.0

Honoring Veterans and Community Helpers

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Honoring Veterans and Community Helpers

A variety of lesson plans raise awareness of the role of veterans, military, and government in national security. Students gain knowledge of military service as a form of philanthropy - giving their time for the common good. Read literature, study the actions of past military, and take action to advocate for veterans and give support to current soldiers. 

View this toolkit of lesson plans, project ideas, and background information related to veterans and community helpers. 

Civil Rights, Justice, and Advocacy

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Civil Rights, Justice, and Advocacy

Raise students' awareness of the concepts of caring, respect, and fairness, and encourage students to demonstrate these character qualities to honor the legacy of Dr. King. Teach lessons and resources to guide student action related to Civil Disobedience in history. These lessons focus on justice, fairness, and kindness.

View this toolkit of lesson plans, project ideas, and background information related to civil rights, justice and advocacy.  

The Arts as a Cultural Necessity

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The Arts as a Cultural Necessity

Art is an essential part of adding quality to our lives. Through visual, performance, and other art forms, people gain joy and explore the themes of life. Students may use art as an  expression and communication tool to advocate for issues. Or they may advocate to add art to their community. 

View this toolkit of lesson plans, project ideas, and background information related to the arts. 

Advocacy for Animals

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Advocacy for Animals

Young people often start their earliest philanthropy in service to animals. Written in collaboration with ASPCA, these lessons teach empathy and action related to the needs of animals, giving a voice to the voiceless. 

View this toolkit of lesson plans, project ideas, and background information related to animal projects.

How Do We Respond to and Prepare for a Crisis?

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How Do We Respond to and Prepare for a Crisis?

When disaster strikes, whether caused by nature or humans, the humanitarian spirit of individuals and communities swells. The resources here provide opportunities to discuss our response to disaster and explore actions that young people can take before and after disaster strikes. 

Intergenerational Relationships

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Intergenerational Relationships

Communities are stronger when people of diverse backgrounds and ages become friends and work together for a common purpose. These lessons engage students in discussions and service that build respect for people of different generations -- older and younger. The Our State of Generosity resources are based on stories of lifelong philanthropists.

View this toolkit of lesson plans, project ideas, and background information related to inter-generational relationships. 

Global Issues of Peace and Justice

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Global Issues of Peace and Justice

We are all connected in a global world where the actions of people across the world impact our lives. From poverty to education to environment and refugees, the issues of the world are the issues of our communites. Photo Credit:  Grandma, Baisakhi by Nevil Zaveri is licensed under CC by 2.0

View this toolkit of lesson plans, project ideas, and background information related to global issues.

Literacy and Literature

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Literacy and Literature

Help students understand the importance of literacy with Learning to Give lessons. Reading and reflection offer an opportunity to explore universal themes of kindness and the common good. Put on a philanthropy education lens as you read and discuss with students:

  1. motivations of the characters
  2. how characters' actions impact the greater community
  3. themes and instances of the struggle between self-interest and common good

View this toolkit of lesson plans, project ideas, and background information related to literacy.

Hunger, Homelessness and Poverty Lessons

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Hunger, Homelessness and Poverty Lessons

Move beyond the holiday canned food drive and engage your students in knowledge about hunger and poverty and discussion about why it exists. Featured lessons explore why people are hungry and what anyone can do to address it. 

View this toolkit of lesson plans, project ideas, and background information related to poverty, homelessness and hunger. 

Health and Safety

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Health and Safety

These lesson plans help youth understand and advocate for healthy and safe choices for self and community, as well as learn about advocacy for disease research and mental illness stigma. 

View this toolkit of lesson plans, project ideas, and background information related to health. 

Teacher-created philanthropy education lessons magnify the impact of any academic content with themes of generosity, community, and civic and social responsibility. Perfect base for PBL, service-learning, and student-centered instruction. Lessons align to state standards, including Common Core State Standards, and some international standards.

Issue-Related Lesson Plans, Community Resources, and Project Ideas

Browse the topics below to help your planning. Each Issue Area colored block below contains related K-12 lesson plans to build knowledge, community connections, and empathy.

In each issue area,...

Courses and lessons uniquely designed for independent schools to develop hearts and minds. Through the Learning to Give courses and lessons for independent schools, you will find creative examples of teaching and learning that develop students’ 21st century competencies – like collaboration, problem solving, global awareness, and analysis – while equipping students to give, serve, and take citizen action to better their world.

These resources are for adults who want to teach youth about philanthropy and the nonprofit sector. Use these activities to build a culture of cooperation and service while learning about civic responsibility, problem-solving, board service, philanthropy, leadership, and grant-making.

Briefing Papers provide teachers and middle and high school students, as well as nonprofit professionals, abbreviated snapshots of significant concepts, people, and organizations related to philanthropy.

Our picture book and teen novel guides combine selected literature with thought-provoking discussions and activities that teach about giving and civic engagement. The featured books raise issues like respect, caring, giving, honoring diversity, adversity, helping others, fairness, responsibility, trustworthiness, and citizenship.