A Community of Givers (Private-Religious)
  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.3 Recognize that citizens have a responsibility for the common good as defined by democratic principles.
    2. Standard DP 03. Names and Types of Organizations within the Civil Society Sector
      1. Benchmark E.2 Name an example of a civil society charitable organization.
    3. Standard DP 06. Role of Family in Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.2 Identify examples of families supporting giving and sharing.
  2. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.2 Identify why people practice philanthropy related to their own self-interest.
      2. Benchmark E.5 Give examples of actions students can take to improve the common good and list or describe responsibilities that go with those actions.
  3. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 03. Providing Service
      1. Benchmark E.1 Provide a needed service.
      2. Benchmark E.2 Describe the goals of the project and their impact.
      3. Benchmark E.3 Describe the task and the student role.
    2. Standard VS 04. Raising Private Resources
      1. Benchmark E.1 Identify why private resources (volunteers and money) are needed.

In this lesson, the students are empowered to explore charities related to their own interests and make an impact of their own. Students research different charitable organizations and choose one to represent in a creative way at a tzedakah fair. The students invite family and community members to the fair to raise awareness about the charities that mean the most to them. Visitors learn about the different charities and have the opportunity to contribute while at the fair or on their own using information provided by the students.

PrintTwo 45 Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • read about children who have made a difference.
  • research a charity related to his/her own interests.
  • plan a project to raise money, supplies, and/or awareness for the charity of his/her choice.
  • prepare a presentation about the project/issue of his/her choice.
  • carry out a school-wide tzedakah (charity) fair to teach others about their project.
  • Stories about children who have raised money, supplies, or awareness about an issue.(see Bibliographical References)
  • Copies of worksheet Attachment One: We Can Do It! for each student
  • Copies of worksheet Attachment Two: A Biblical Command to Give for each student
  • Copies of worksheet Attachment Three: Tzedakah Fair Planning Guide for each student
  • Variety of resources about charitable organizations (see Bibliographical References)
  • Tables, chairs, project boards, etc. for fair displays
  • Tzedakah boxes (one per table)
Home Connection: 

Arrange for families to help their children deliver the donations and letters to the charities as soon as possible.For long-distance donations, parents can accompany students to the post office.

  • Alex’s Lemonade Stand https://www.alexslemonade.org/ (one child’s story of raising over a million dollars for cancer research)
  • Lewis, Barbara A.  The Kid’s Guide to Social Action.  Free Spirit Publishing, 1998.  ISBN: 1575420384
  • MAZON  www.mazon.org (provides information about hunger)
  • Peace Corps Challenge Online Game https://www.peacecorps.gov/kids/ 
  • Siegal, Danny and Naomi Eisenberger.  Mitzvah MAGIC: What kids can do to change the world.  Kar-Ben Publishing, 2002. ISBN: 1580130348 
  1. Anticipatory Set:Ask students to name some activities which they have been told that they are too young to do. Write their list on the board. Ask students if there are any activities on the list that they feel they CAN do.Tell them you don’t think they are too young to create a community-wide tzedakah project.



  2. Read aloud about successful (tzedakah) projects designed by children (see Bibliographical References).Also let the students explore the Websites and books for more inspiring projects by children who are making a difference. Assign Attachment One: We Can Do It! as a follow-up.

  3. Note: While this reading project should be started before the remainder of the lesson, it does not need to be finished before continuing on. Rather, this reading can be done in small pieces throughout the lesson.

  4. As a class, read and answer the questions to Attachment Two:A Biblical Command to Give (Answers: First give to the really poor people, then relatives before strangers, then local charities before others, then charities in Israel before others).

  5. Tell students that some needs are met by nonprofit organizations and supporting these organizations is good for the community. The students will participate in a tzedakah fair for the school community in which many different nonprofit organizations are represented and explained. Those who visit the fair have a chance to contribute to the issues of their choice. Students will pick a charity/issue and find a way to support it and represent it creatively and factually at the tzedakah fair.

  6. Brainstorm charities that fit into each of the following five categories. Write ideas on board so groups can use them to pick charities.

    1. Helping the “destitute,” meaning providing basic needs such as food, shelter, medical care, etc. to those who have little or nothing.
    2. Helping relatives of the students, meaning synagogue funds, school funds, any funds raised in honor of classmates, etc.
    3. Local charities, such as local food pantries, local shelters, local habitat for humanity, local community centers, local parks, local school districts, local museums, etc.
    4. Charities in Israel.
    5. Global interests.
  7. Arrange the class into groups of three to five students according to interests. Note: It is best not to have too many charities represented or the donations will be spread too thin.

  8. Distribute Attachment Three: Tzedakah Fair Planning Guide that will guide the students through the planning process. They will choose their issue, conduct research, design a project (optional), create a display, and practice and present the information at the fair.

  9. The teacher should set the date and time for the fair and assign some students to design a flier to send home,place around the school, and display in the community inviting people to the fair. Be sure to invite families, school personnel, and community and synagogue members.

  10. Research may include finding the Website of a charity, studying an issue, and visiting local nonprofit organizations. Students may contact agencies to obtain information, phone numbers, and literature to display at the tzedakah fair.Teach the students how to request information on the phone (or in person if their parents help them).

  11. The students may gather information about how a charity gets and spends its money.They should display statistics, success stories, and/or examples of ways to help. Alternatively, the students may design a project such as raising money for an issue/charity by creating a service or good to sell or collecting blankets, food, books, or toys for people who need those supplies. Allow the students to be creative so that people who come to the fair may give money, donate supplies, or learn a procedure (such as recycling).

  12. On the day of the fair, leave ample time to set up tables and chairs in a large space, arrange displays, and practice explanations. The visitors will be able to circulate around the room and listen to and read each presentation at their own pace.

  13. Instruct students to have a sufficient number of presenters at their table at all times, but encourage them to take turns roaming around the fair to see the other booths.

  14. After the fair, have the students write letters to their charities that explain where the money (or gifts) is coming from. Deliver the donations as soon as possible (see School/Home Connection).


Assess students based on their responses on Attachment One: We Can Do It as well as their participation and enthusiasm toward their tzedakah fair preparation. See “Evaluation” on Attachment Three: Tzedakah Fair Planning Guide.