Start Course Now

Teaching Philanthropy 101: A High School Course

Course of 4 Sections

This educator mini-course provides background for teaching Philanthropy 101 or another philanthropy survey course in your school. Gain knowledge, skills, and approaches to help students understand issues and resources in their communities so that they can make informed, impactful decisions about how they will contribute their time, talent and treasure.

Through community service, service learning, global education, civic education, and similar efforts, schools seek to promote students’ understanding of the needs of the local and global communities, and students’ role in contributing to the world in ways that matter to them. Philanthropy 101, created at the Westminster Schools in Atlanta in 1999 and available for free on Learning to Give, is a not-for-credit, month-long summer course that introduces rising seniors to effective giving and informed community service through site visits, meetings with local leaders, readings, research, and self-exploration. It connects students to their local community and, through community-based experiences, helps them become more aware of society’s growing needs and their own interests. The class strives to help students answer the following questions: What is philanthropy? Who am I in relationship to my community? In what ways can I give? How can I make a difference for a cause or issue about which I care? 

Mini-Course Author: Luana Nissan

CE Credits 

After completing this course (about 45 minutes), the learner is prompted to take a quiz based on the content. Upon successful completion of this quiz, the learner may request a certificate suitable for a professional development portfolio, or as proof of .75 educational clock hours that can be used toward continuing education credit in most states. Please contact your State Department of Education or school district for specific information. Documentation of the completed courses and copies of the certificate are stored under "My Account" of the Learning to Give website where the learner may access (and print) them at any time. 


In this learning module, you will gain a foundational understanding about the nonprofit sector and philanthropy and will learn about the core elements of Philanthropy 101. This can help you:

  1. Prepare to teach Philanthropy 101 (available here), or
  2. Gain a broader understanding of society so that you can incorporate lessons about philanthropy or nonprofits into your economics or history classes, or
  3. Better understand the nonprofit landscape so that you can connect students more intentionally to your community through service learning, community service, youth grantmaking and other community engagement activities. 
In This Course 
Teaching Philanthropy 101: A High School Course
section 1 of 4

This section provides a basic and fundamental understanding of philanthropy and the nonprofit sector through the following segments:

  • What Is Philanthropy?
  • Why Do People Give?
  • What Are Society’s Three Sectors and Their Purposes?
  • Characteristics of the Nonprofit Sector
  • Types of Nonprofit Organizations (The Landscape of the Sector) 

This background is highly useful for teachers offering a philanthropy course or adding nonprofit education to an existing economics or history course. It is also vitally important for community service and service-learning coordinators that work with nonprofit partners to better understand organizations in context of the bigger societal picture and to help them educate students about nonprofits and intentional volunteering and giving.

Status: New!
Teaching Philanthropy 101: A High School Course
section 2 of 4

This section explains briefly the Philanthropy 101 course and its key experiences and content. The core elements of the course are:

  • Exploring Motives for Giving and Serving: Stories of Philanthropic Leaders and Professionals
  • Visiting and Studying Types and Purposes of Nonprofits
  • Students Learn About Themselves and Their Community
  • Assessing Charitable Organizations: Building Research and Analysis Skills
  • Students Make an Informed Charitable Donation to a Nonprofit of Their Choice
Status: New!
Teaching Philanthropy 101: A High School Course
section 3 of 4

This section explains briefly the types of issues and needs students learn about during site visits and service in their community and the diverse ways they can make a difference with causes and organizations. Through these experiences, students learn about their own interest and ways they would like to give back.

Status: New!
Teaching Philanthropy 101: A High School Course
section 4 of 4

The Philanthropy 101 course incorporates many opportunities for students to observe and to hear stories of community and philanthropic leaders using critical skills. Several lessons allow students space and time to develop these key skills themselves:

  1. Critical Thinking
  2. Problem-solving
  3. Collaboration
  4. Communication
  5. Listening
  6. Research and Analysis
  7. Smart Giving
Status: New!

This quiz contains eight multiple-choice questions based on the mini-course "Teaching Philanthropy 101: A High School  Course." If you answer 75 percent correctly, you will have the opportunity to download a personalized certificate. You may revisit the course and retake the quiz, if...

You are not allowed to take this Quiz.