Generosity and Servant Leadership

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 practices of 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.

In a collaboration between Learning to Give and Our State of Generosity, we brought the wisdom of these servant leaders to youth philanthropy. This joint 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.

Professional Development on Servant Leadership 

We developed a brief online 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

Guiding Questions to Explore Generosity

These questions can be used as a pre-assessment and post-assessment to guide learning and awareness with the project materials. 

  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 and social action 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?

Project Activities for Teens

These stand-alone activities tap a variety of thinking skills and learning strategies. Some take a single meeting, 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

  • From Struggle to Success: The middle school unit explores how struggles in life can be turned around and lead people to success.
  • From Passion to Career: 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.

Servant Leadership in Michigan

Lime Green

Servant Leadership in Michigan

In collaboration with The Johnson Center for Philanthropy at GVSU, this project examines the attributes of Michigan philanthropists. This project includes lessons and activities that center on addressing needs, leadership, career pathways, perseverance, collaboration, and philanthropy. This includes links to videos and stories from the Our State of Generosity project.