Designing Your Philanthropic Collage: Penny Drive
  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Define philanthropy as individuals and organizations providing their time, talent, and/or treasures intended for the common good throughout history and around the world. Give examples.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark MS.4 Describe the characteristics of someone who helps others.
  3. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 03. Providing Service
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Provide a needed service.
    2. Standard VS 04. Raising Private Resources
      1. Benchmark MS.3 Develop a service plan.

Learners examine their lives and ambitions and identify acts of “everyday philanthropy.” They come to better understand their personal traits and the impact these might have on their personal philanthropic involvement. 

PrintOne Fifty Minute Class Period

The learner will:

  • understand and recognize philanthropic characteristics, traits, and actions in themselves and others.
  • assess their own lives and identify the acts of philanthropy they do and/or are interested in doing.
  • become more aware of "self" and the important impact they can have in their home, school, community, and world.
  • reflect on their personal involvement in the Penny Drive.
  • poster board and colored paper
  • scissors, tape, glue, crayons/markers
  • an assortment of newspapers and magazines
  • Student copies of Handout One: Philanthropic Traits and Actions
  • Student copies of Handout Two: My Giving Plan - My Pledge
  • envelopes, one for each learner
  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Begin the class by placing the following quote from Gloria Steinem on the display board. (She is a writer, activist and founder of the MS Magazine. She is one of the leaders of the modern women’s rights movement.)

    “The future depends entirely on what each of us does each day.”

    Ask the learners to share what it is that they think Ms. Steinem is attempting to say, and advocate for, in her quote. Following this discussion, place these two quotes on the display board as well, and encourage the learners to share what they feel is the intent of each of these quotes and how they are similar/different from Ms Steinem’s quote:

    “ When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

    “Some people give time, some money, some their skills and connections, some literally give their life’s blood, but everyone has something to give.” -Barbara Bush

    Share that some would consider Barbara Bush’s quote to be an excellent description of what philanthropist do. If that is true, what are some of the things a philanthropist does based on her quote?

  2. Distribute a sheet of paper and a pencil to each learner. Ask learners to make two columns on their paper. Label one column “Philanthropic Traits” and the other column “Philanthropic Actions”. Invite the learners to list words or phrases under each column that represent words that would be used to describe the character traits and actions of a philanthropist. Allow the learners time to list words or phrases under each column. After a few minutes distribute Handout One: Philanthropic Traits and Actions having the learners see if they listed some of the traits/actions identified in the handout. Allow the learners a few more minutes to add to their lists.

  3. Divide the class into groups of 4 - 6 students. Ask them to share their lists and discuss the similarities and differences. Allow a few minutes for the students to revise their lists again based on the peer input. Ask them to circle those traits they hope to be recognized for and those actions they plan to take.

  4. Explain that the learners will be using this list as a starting point to make a philanthropic collage about themselves. Ask them to make a collage of their philanthropic traits and actions, i.e., words and actions that describe them as the philanthropist they are or would like to be. Encourage them to use their creativity in making a collage that represents them and their own personal interests, talents and skills - a collage that represents the actions they take to share their time, talent and treasures for the common good.

  5. Give each learner a piece of colored paper, a poster-board, along with a few newspapers and magazines, and additional colored paper for symbols and drawings, plus scissors, tape or glue, and crayons/markers.

  6. When the learners have finished their collages, ask them to share their collages, explaining to the group some of the actions and traits that represent them.

  7. Conclude the lesson by having the learners reflect on how their personal traits might influence their participation in a service action, like a penny drive.

  8. Distribute an envelope and a copy of HandoutTwo: My Giving Plan - My Pledge to each learner. Have the learners place their name on the outside of the envelope, complete their “My Giving Plan - My Pledge” and then seal it in the envelope for collection and redistribution after the service project is completed.


The involvement and depth of insight shared during the class discussions as well as a completed collage that reflects thought and insight forms the basis for the assessment of this lesson.


Reflection plays a very important role in promoting student learning. The following suggested activities are ways to help students reflect on their learning after they have participated in a service event.  Choose one or more of the activities most appropriate to the service event and your students.

Have the students complete the following prompt:
“My experience during this service project activity was like____________because_________________”
Have each student share his/her writing with the class. Challenge the class to listen for commonalities and differences in relation to their own writing.

ACTIVITY TWO: Assign the students to groups of two or three.  Provide each group with a handful of construction blocks or similar manipulative-like construction toys, molding clay, straws, paper, etc. Instruct the groups to talk among themselves about what they did, how they felt, and what impact they think their involvement in this service project might have had.  Explain that each group is to create a structure from the materials that represents/symbolizes their experiences.  When completed, give each group an opportunity to explain their structure to the rest of the class and how it is intended to represent/symbolize their experiences.

ACTIVITY THREE: Ask the students to consider their favorite sport. Give each student some old newspapers, a pair of scissors, a glue stick/paste, and a sheet of construction paper. On the construction paper, have each of them draw and cut out a piece of sport’s equipment that represents their favorite sport.  On their cutout “piece of sport’s equipment” have them add words and phrases cut from their newspapers that will help someone looking at their “piece of sport’s equipment” understand the connections that they are trying to make between their participation in this service project and their participation in their favorite sport.  Display the students’ final products and be sure that they are given ample time to do a walk down “The Hall of Famous Sports Equipment” to read what others have written.

ACTIVITY FOUR: From a single piece of large white construction paper, cut out a variety of jig-saw puzzle shapes. Be sure that each student in the classroom gets at least one of these puzzle pieces. Have each student write on their puzzle piece a response to one of these prompts:

What I did in this service project
How I felt as I was participating in this service project.
What difference did this service project make?

Have the students, using a colored pencil or crayon, lightly color their puzzle piece so as not to cover up what is written on it.  Then working as a group, have each student properly place his/her piece into the puzzle as one might put a jigsaw puzzle together.  Once the puzzle has been completed, have a couple of students paste/glue the pieces onto a larger piece of paper and display the complete puzzle under the heading, “Working Together to Solve the Puzzle”, or some similar appropriate heading.