Biographical Highlights

A third-generation jewelry store owner, Tom Fox grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, during the Great Depression. Later in life, Fox felt compelled to give back...

Biographical Highlights

John Canepa was a child during the Great Depression. He was born and raised in an Italian Catholic neighborhood in a small Massachusetts town. He earned degrees from Harvard...

The purpose of this session is to show and celebrate the completion of the video documentary. Sharing the documentary is an act of philanthropy as it teaches and inspires others about philanthropy in the community. Participants reflect and write about the service-learning experience.

The purpose of this session is to plan and develop a video documentary. Modeling their documentary after the West Michigan documentary The Gift of All, youth interview local philanthropists and create a multi-media story of their community and local philanthropy. Creating and sharing the documentary is an act of philanthropy as they teach and inspire others about philanthropy in the community.

In this session, we learn about the sectors of civil society sector - business, government, and nonprofit. Youth watch the second half of the documentary The Gift of All and talk about the issues in West Michigan and the motivations of the philanthropists who made a major difference in the area. They also write a personal mission statement.

Learners write personal narratives to document activities, insights, research, impact, and discoveries of their firsthand experience with civic engagement, service, and volunteerism. By explaining involvement in action for the common good, learners raise awareness of a social issue, the need for change, and the impact individuals can have by giving time, talent, or treasure for the common good.


This lesson teaches how to journal about their own experiences and feelings. It is intended to be taught in conjunction with a project of civic engagement or service. The project provides content and a context for journaling about personal experience.


This lesson guides learners as they inform a public audience about philanthropic acts that enhance the common good. The learners write newspaper articles that describe acts of service and volunteerism in their community.