Community Foundations and Procedure
  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 05. Role of Foundations
      1. Benchmark MS.2 Name a local community foundation and describe its broad purpose.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 07. Skills of Civic Engagement
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Identify and research public or social issues in the community, nation or the world related to the common good. Form an opinion, and develop and present a persuasive argument using communication tools.
      2. Benchmark MS.3 Participate in acts of democratic citizenship in the classroom or school, such as voting, group problem solving, classroom governance or elections.

Now familiar with how a community foundation serves the community, the learners form a Youth Advisory Committee and use parliamentary procedure to conduct business.

PrintThree Fifty-Minute Class Periods

The learners will:

  • describe how the four sectors of the economy function in the community.
  • give examples of how community foundations aid the community.
  • explain how Youth Advisory Committees use a form of advice and consent when making recommendations to a Board of Directors.
  • use parliamentary procedure to conduct a business meeting.
  • Internet access
  • Optional: students may use their own devices for looking up information about a local community foundation
  • student copies of Handout One:Running a Business Meeting
Home Connection: 

As homework after Day One, have the students read through and become familiar with Roberts Rules of Order in the handout for running a meeting.


Foundation Center

Robert's Rules simplified (ABATE of New York)

Robert's Rules of Order 


  1. Anticipatory Set: Put the term “community foundation” on the board and ask students whether or not their community has one. They can look it up on their devices (if allowed at your school) or the Internet. Discuss what the local community foundation does for the community (what projects receive funding). Determine whether the local community foundation has a Youth Advisory Committee.

  2. Remind the learners that there are four sectors of the economy (family, government, for-profit business and nonprofits). They exist because the government cannot and does not meet all needs. Review the four sectors by asking for examples of how each sector would address a specific need, such as childcare. The last lesson stressed the importance of nonprofits, especially those that are foundations. Foundations are started by individuals, families, businesses and communities as a way to support causes and programs that benefit society (the common good). They do that by giving grants of money (which do not have to be repaid) to worthy causes.

  3. Today’s lesson will focus on the type of foundation known as a community foundation. Community foundations pool the resources of many donors and focus their grantmaking on a particular city or region. Have the learners work in groups to explore the website of the closest community foundation to their community. They can find out what projects received funding from the community foundation last year. Does there appear to be a focus for their funding (youth, senior citizens, environment)?

  4. Explain that most community foundations obtain input from diverse perspectives in the community when deciding how grants should be awarded. This includes asking the opinions of young people. In some cases there are one or two youth representatives from the community on the foundation board that makes decisions about funding. In other cases there is a Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) that makes recommendations to the foundation board for their selections. Ask the students whether they think the student voice is valuable to the community foundation. Discuss why or why not.

  5. Like “advise and consent,” which governs how the president and Congress work on some decisions, the foundation board seeks advice from different groups in order to be inclusive and serve the common good. In this case, the foundation board does not have to accept the recommendations of the different advisory committees. Most of the time, however, they take the recommendations seriously.

  6. Ask the students if they have ever been part of a meeting where they felt their point of view was not heard. Or, were they part of a meeting that got loud and emotional with not a lot of progress made? When decisions have to be made, it is to the advantage of everyone to have a procedure that allows members to make decisions calmly with the input of everyone present. “Parliamentary procedure” (using Robert’s Rules of Order) is used to make sure that decisions are made in an orderly manner.

  7. Distribute copies of Running a Business Meeting (Attachment One) and go over the information provided. Have students read the handout as homework and come to the next class period familiar with the rules.

  8. Days Two and Three:

  9. Ask the students questions about the rules and procedures for running a business meeting to test their understanding. Have them work in small groups, if needed, to review the procedures more thoroughly.

  10. After the learners are clear on the information, arrange an exercise for students to practice using the procedures.

  11. Practice Exercise:

    • Task: Students are serving on a Youth Advisory Committee to the school’s principal (may have students take turns serving as chairperson and secretary).
    • Problem/Task: Design a new dress code for the school (or update an old one). (Option: use a real issue in your school)
    • Procedure: Use the guidelines in Attachment One: Running a Business Meeting to run the meeting.
    • Action: Run the practice exercise until a dress code is designed.
  12. Reflection: Students write reflections with the following prompts:

    • What is the value of rules to dictate meeting procedure?
    • What does "Advise and Consent" mean?
    • What is the role of foundations in the community?
    • How does the work of foundations differ from the work of government and business?

The practice exercise and the journal entries will allow the teacher to determine if students know how to use the skills of parliamentary procedure and understand the concept of advice and consent and community foundations.