We the Present
  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. Standard DP 02. Roles of Government, Business, and Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.1 Give examples of needs met by government, business, civil society, and family.
      2. Benchmark E.6 Explain why acting philanthropically is good for the community, state, nation, or world.
    3. 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.
    4. Standard DP 04. Operational Characteristics of Nonprofit Organizations
      1. Benchmark E.1 Describe how citizens organize in response to a need.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark E.3 Describe a benefit of group cooperation.
    2. Standard PCS 04. Philanthropy and Geography
      1. Benchmark E.1 Name examples of civil society organizations in the community.
      2. Benchmark E.2 Identify and describe how civil society organizations help the community.

The students gain awareness about the work of local nonprofit organizations by interviewing representatives from three organizations. Students write about the results of the interviews to summarize the goals and impact of the organizations on the community.

PrintFour Forty-Five Minute Class Periods.

The learner will:

  • identify philanthropic organizations within his/her community.
  • generate appropriate interview questions.
  • record information from interviews.
  • share collected data with peers.
  • write a paper using information gathered during interviews. Teacher Note: Contact representatives from local nonprofit organizations to ask for volunteer speakers. Schedule the speakers to visit the classroom on Day Two. (Examples include chamber of commerce, civic clubs, church leaders, health-care groups such as the cancer society, park department, community center and community foundation.)
  • Copy of KWL (Handout One) for the overhead projector
  • Overhead projector markers
  • Copy of Philanthropy in Our Community (Handout Two) for each student
  • Copy of Scoring Rubric for Rough Draft (Handout Three) for each student
  • Three speakers from local nonprofit organizations
  • Digital cameras (to collect photos of presentations)
Home Connection: 

Students bring home their notes about the three presenters (Handout Two: Philanthropy in Our Community) along with the rubric (Handout Three: Scoring Rubric for Rough Draft) to write a rough draft about one of the organizations interviewed.

  1. Anticipatory Set:Students will need their homework assignment from Lesson One: We the Past in which they listed local nonprofit organizations. Have them cut on the lines to make individual strips. Sit in a circle on the floor around the paper strips and work as a group to sort and group the results into types of help/support/enrichment. Hang the strips in groups on the bulletin board. Instruct students to use their journals to list the three organizations they would like to know more about.

  2. Display a blank copy of a KWL (Handout One) on the overhead. Ask students to tell what they KNOW about the nonprofit organizations. Write their responses on the K section of the chart. Encourage the students to think about what they do, how they do it, why they do it and what need caused them to be a part of our community.​

  3. Review the definition of philanthropy (giving of time, talent and/or treasure for the common good). Ask students to identify which of the organizations give time, which give talents and which give treasure. (Some of the organizations may fall in more than one of the categories.)

  4. Tell students that representatives from local nonprofits will be visiting the classroom tomorrow. The students will be interviewing them to find out what the organizations do and how they benefit our community. Refer back to the KWL overhead and challenge students to generate key questions to ask the guests about their organizations. Record their questions in the W section of the KWL overhead.

  5. Ask students to write what they feel are the five most important questions from the brainstormed list. Discuss their choices to narrow the questions down to five for the entire class. Sample questions:

    • What is the purpose of your organization?
    • What need/s does your organization fulfill in our community?
    • Do you offer time, talent and/or treasure to the community?
    • What can I do to help your organization accomplish its goals?
    • Does any help come from non-paid volunteers, if so what?
  6. Ask students to write what they feel are the five most important questions from the brainstormed list. Discuss their choices to narrow the questions down to five for the entire class. Sample questions.

  7. Assign the five questions to students so several students have the same question. Each student writes his or her own question on three papers with room for taking notes. During the interviews, the students listen to all the questions and answers, but take careful notes only on their own question. Save the papers for the next day.

    Day Two:Set Up: Have a (digital) camera to take pictures of each guest talking to the class. Remind the students of their note-taking responsibilities. Talk about appropriate behavior and speaking voices during the interview.

  8. Welcome and introduce the speaker to the class. Have students ask their assigned questions and take notes on the answers. Help the students label each paper with the speaker’s name and the name of the organization before they start taking notes. Listen to all three guests talk about their nonprofit organizations.

  9. Alternative Format: If there are more than three guests, set up stations for the guests. The students are divided into an equal number of groups that rotate from speaker to speaker to ask their questions. Be sure each question is represented in each group.

  10. Alternative Format: Put the guests at a table in the front of the room in a panel format. Have the students (audience) ask each panelist pre-assigned questions.

  11. At the end of the interviews, thank the guests and have students save their notes for a discussion on the next day.

  12. Day Three:

    Group the students so they meet with the other students assigned the same question. Have them discuss and review their answers and add any missing information. As a group, they can make sure they caught all the details and clear up any misunderstandings.

  13. Give a copy of Philanthropy in Our Community (Handout Two) to each student. Rearrange the groups so each group has a representative for each of the questions. The students take turns sharing their notes in the new groups. As students discuss the interviews, they fill out the information for each organization on the recording sheets: Philanthropy in Our Community.

  14. Students start a writing project that describes the work of one of the interviewed organizations. At the top of a piece of notebook paper, have each student write the name of the organization they choose to write about. Below the organization name, they write the definition of philanthropy (giving of time, talent and/or treasure for the common good). Have students copy the following two questions under the definition:

    • How does the nonprofit group make our community better?
    • What would our community do without this organization?
  15. They will write about the organization as a homework assignment. Pass out Handout Three: Scoring Rubric for Rough Draft to each student. Go over the expectations for the writing assignment. They will also need the completed worksheet Philanthropy in Our Community as a resource.

  16. Day Four:

    When students return their homework assignment as a rough draft, go through the classroom editing process.

  17. Each student makes a final copy of the writing assignment, describing the work of a nonprofit organization.


Have students summarize what they learned about nonprofit organizations. Have them brainstorm what to write in the L part of the KWL chart (what they learned). Use the rubric on Handout Three: Scoring Rubric for Rough Draft to assess the final writing assignment.