Jane Addams—Philanthropist in Action
  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark HS.3 Give examples of human interdependence and explain why group formation is one strategy for survival.
      2. Benchmark HS.5 Describe civil society advocacy organizations and their relationship to human rights.
    2. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark HS.7 Identify and give examples of the important roles women and minorities have played in the civil society sector in history.
    3. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark HS.5 Identify and discuss civil society sector organizations working to build community/social capital and civil society resources.
    4. Standard PCS 06. Philanthropy in History
      1. Benchmark HS.5 Identify positive philanthropic historic acts or events that helped build the community, state, and nation.

Jane Addams is a model philanthropist in action, improving many situations through volunteerism and advocacy, not only in the city of Chicago, but also at state, national and international levels.

PrintOne 55-Minute Session

Identify the traits of a civically engaged person who takes action to make life better for individuals and the community.


Copies of four handouts below - for four groups to read and discuss:

  • Jane Addams (1860-1935) 
  • Jane Addams at Hull House 
  • Hull House Services 
  • Jane Addams and the Pullman Strike
  • Addams, Jane. Twenty Years at Hull-House. New York: MacMillan, 1910.
  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Read and discuss the following quote by Jane Addams. What does this quote mean in the context of volunteerism? 

    "Deeds make habits, habits make character, character makes destiny!" - Notes from Jane Addams' college journal

  2. Give a little biographical background of Jane Addams. This may come from this paper or Wikipedia.

    • Jane Addams exemplified the American tradition of civic responsibility and philanthropy. The daughter of a prosperous small town businessman, she traveled to Europe after her education. After attending a bloody bullfight in Spain, she decided she had something better to do with her life.
    • Jane saw that things could be better for people who lived in poverty, and she took voluntary action. She saw opportunity to not just give money but to train and care for many aspect of people's lives. She established the Hull House that helped women in poverty thrive.
  3. Move young people into four groups and give each group copies of one of the four handouts to read and discuss. They read the paragraphs, answer the questions, and discuss for 15 minutes. 

    Bring the groups back together and ask each group to report back about what they learned and discussed to the whole group. 

  4. In reflection and review, list the kinds of services that Jane Addams and Hull House provided next to the appropriate category of voluntary/nonprofit service. As an example, next to the category of Health Care, the example "delivering babies" could be listed.

    Types of Nonprofits/Volunteer Areas:

    1. Labor and Employment
    2. Agriculture and Food
    3. Business and Industry
    4. Communications
    5. Transportation
    6. Human Services
    7. Health Care
    8. Education
    9. Religion
    10. Recreation and Leisure
    11. Cultural Arts
    12. Environmental Quality
    13. Justice
    14. Public Safety
    15. The Military
    16. International Involvement
    17. Political and Social Action