Philanthropists in the Community (5th Grade)
  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.1 Define philanthropy as the giving and sharing of time, talent, or treasure intended for the common good.
      2. Benchmark E.3 Recognize that citizens have a responsibility for the common good as defined by democratic principles.
    2. Standard DP 02. Roles of Government, Business, and Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.6 Explain why acting philanthropically is good for the community, state, nation, or world.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark E.5 Identify one local citizen who has helped the community through giving and/or service.
    2. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark E.1 Define community as the degree that people come together for the common good.

Students examine the possibilities for philanthropy in the many communities to which they belong from family to national. They learn about some nationally recognized philanthropists and their contributions of time, talent, or treasure. 

PrintOne 45 minute class period

The learner will:

  • define the term philanthropy.
  • identify the different communities that they belong to: school, city/town, state and country.
  • investigate individuals who have received recognition as philanthropists.
  • state the contributions that the person has made to the community (time, treasure, and/or talents).
  • Handout One: List of philanthropists and their contributions
  • Handout Two: Bookmark Template
  • Handout Three: Bookmark Rubric
  • pencil
  • crayons or markers
  • hole punch
  • 10 inch piece of yarn
Home Connection: 

Students can create their bookmarks at home and share the information with their families.


John F. Kennedy - What Can You Do for Your Country? speech

  1. Anticipatory Set: Write the words philanthropy and community on the board. Ask the learners to recall the definitions of each of those words. If the learners do not know , give them the definitions with some examples. Help them come to the conclusion that philanthropy means giving of your time, treasures, and/or talents for the common good.

  2. Tell the students that they are going to investigate philanthropy on more than one level. Ask for a volunteers to share examples of philanthropic efforts, their own or others, while listing them on the board. Include what they contributed (time, talent, and/or treasure) and who it helped.

  3. Looking at the list help the students group their contributions by organizations in the community (gave toys to Toys for Tots; helped in a soup kitchen; donated food the the mission).

  4. Ask them what other larger communities they are a part of leading them to see that many organizations in the community are also members of the larger communities of the state and the country. Guide them to the conclusion that philanthropic acts can effect our whole country.

  5. Share the following quote from John F. Kennedy's 1961 Inaugural Address:... ask not what your country can do for you -- ask what you can do for your country. (Print copies of the speech may be found at

  6. Lead the class in a discussion of what they think these words mean. How do they apply to the students and the community?

  7. Tell the students that there are many current and past nationally recognized philanthropists that have helped our country through giving of their time, treasure and talents. There are also local philanthropists as well including themselves. Explain that they are going to create a bookmark that will contain information about a philanthropist.

  8. Using Handout One: List of Philanthropists and their Contributions and Handout Two: Bookmark Template have them choose someone from the list and create a bookmark illustrating this person and their contributions.

  9. Have the students share their bookmarks with the rest of the class.


The student will produce a bookmark featuring a locally or nationally recognized philanthropist and their contribution. This bookmark may be assessed using Handout Three: Rubric for Bookmark.

Have each student write a paragraph about his or her personal service experience using one of these prompt analogies:
This service project was... 
Like baking a cake, because…
Like hugging a friend, because…
Like reading a good book, because…
Like running a race, because...
Like planting a flower, because...