Who Should Do It?
  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.5 Identify the business, government, family, and civil society sectors.
    2. Standard DP 02. Roles of Government, Business, and Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Describe how different needs are met in different ways by government, business, civil society, and family.
      2. Benchmark MS.6 Identify significant contributions to society that come from the civil society sector.
    3. Standard DP 05. Role of Foundations
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Name at least one grant-making foundation and generally describe its purpose.

Participants identify and compare the different roles of the four sectors of the economy (government, business, nonprofit, and family). They identify which sector does what and observe how they approach differently the sometimes overlapping responsibilities. Participants describe the work of foundations and state the purpose of an organization's mission statement.

PrintOne 50-Minute Session, plus time to present
  • identify the four sectors of the economy and give examples of their responsibilities.
  • define “foundation” and explain how foundations contribute to the common good through grants.
  • describe how a mission statement identifies the focus of a foundation.
  • copies of handout: Which Sector Should Do It?
  • facilitator copy for background information of handout: Definition and Examples of Nonprofit Organizations
  • Optional copies of handout: Definition and Examples of Nonprofit Organizations as a homework assignment
  • copies of handout: Foundation Poster Rubrics
  • Poster board for each group of three or access to computers to create brochures
Home Connection: 

Optional Homework Assignment is the handout with the definitions of nonprofits and their purposes. The assignment described on the bottom of the page is to create a graphic that illustrates the different purposes of nonprofit organizations. This assignment may be given to all to better understand why nonprofits develop, or it may be given as an extra-credit assignment.

  1. Anticipatory Set: In Lesson One: Limits of Power, students interviewed a family member about a time he or she sought advice. Ask the students to share what they learned about the advantages and disadvantages of asking for advice before making a decision. Discuss.

  2. Ask the students the following question: “If something needs to be done, is it always better to do it yourself?” Put students in teams of three and give them three minutes to discuss their answers to this question. After three minutes, let the teams share their answers with the whole group. Put a T-chart on the board and record students’ answers according to the appropriate category: Advantages of Doing it Yourself Disadvantages of Doing it Yourself

  3. Have the learners reach a conclusion to the question. The answer may be that sometimes it is best to do it yourself, whereas at other times it is better to have someone else take action. Reasons might include that another person has more skill or more funds, while you may have a better incentive for getting it done in a timely manner or like that you can keep it more private. Doing it yourself means it is done the way you like it, but having others help means it has a broader perspective. Students may discuss what types of things are better done with the help of others.

  4. Distribute Which Sector Should Do It? (Handout One). Tell the students they will be working in three-person teams to complete the chart, discussing which sector should take responsibility for each action listed. If they decide that more than one sector should address the action, have them discuss how they would do it differently. For example, schools are the responsibility of (state) governments, but churches and religious groups operate parochial schools. Sometimes corporations and nonprofit organizations also run schools. Give ten minutes for this exercise. Share answers and allow students to give the reasons behind their selections.

  5. Discuss the groups' answers on the chart. Further discussion: Some things are the responsibility of city, state, or national government, but they cannot and should not do everything, and sometimes they share responsibility. For example, state governments take responsibility for the care of children who cannot continue to live with their families for one reason or another. Even though states maintain “child welfare” and other programs, other groups also maintain these kinds of programs for children (Catholic Social Services, Children’s Defense Fund, Jewish Relief Fund etc.). Because the government cannot do everything, a nonprofit group sees a need and develops and maintains a service that may priimarily the responsibility of the government. Sometimes nonprofits form because the government is not doing a good job of carrying out its responsibilities. Can the learners give examples of this (civil rights violations, soup kitchens, animal shelters, homeless shelters)?

  6. Explain the difference between a “for-profit” and a “nonprofit” organization. “For profit” businesses seek to earn a profit for their shareholders who have invested in the business or for their owners who make their living from it. The income of “nonprofit” organizations is not used for the benefit or private gain of stockholders, directors, or any other persons with an interest in the company. The nonprofit income is used to provide a needed service for the common good. Nonprofits can still earn money and pay their employees, but the profits are put back into the organization to support the issue, not given to the leadership for private gain. Brainstorm a list of nonprofit organizations. (Nonprofit organizations are numerous and fit into nine major groups: arts, culture, humanities; education; environment and animals; health; human services; international, foreign affairs; public societal benefit; religion related; mutual/ membership benefit. The examples given by the learners will fit into these categories.) For teacher reference, see handout two: Definition and Examples of Nonprofit Organizations.

  7. Review the lesson with students to summarize that the four sectors work together to address the needs of people. Sometimes the sectors work alone, and sometimes they take different approaches to address the same need. All the sectors are contributing to the common good, and sometimes having different approaches acts like checks and balances to be sure all needs and diverse points of view are taken into consideration.

  8. Day Two

  9. Put the term “mission statement” on the board. Ask the learners what they think the “mission statement” of a school might be. Once students have given some ideas, ask them to make an inference (going from a specific example to a generalization) about the definition/purpose of a mission statement.

  10. One type of nonprofit organization that exists in all states and many communities is a foundation. Define foundation as an organization created from designated funds from which the income is distributed as grants to not-for-profit organizations or, in some cases, to people. Make sure students understand that a grant is money given to support a person, organization, project or program within guidelines. It is not a loan and does not have to be repaid. Ask students to name a foundation (Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Carnegie Corporation, National Science Foundation, etc.).

  11. Explain that foundations have a mission statement or focus for what they do. Ask students what they would expect a mission statement for a foundation to look like. Give your school’s mission statement as an example to help students decide what a foundation mission statement might look like.

  12. Raise students' awareness of the work of specific foundations that impact their lives. Show the websites of some local foundations and talk about their work. Or show the websites of state/national/international foundations that support issues that are important to your students (education, autism, hunger, music). Discuss why foundations exist and why it might be important for other kids at your school to know about their work.

  13. Give student teams the assignment to learn about one foundation and share the information with the rest of the class and the school. Have each team select a foundation to investigate. Distribute poster boards or have students work on the computer to create online posters (Glogster) or brochures (Word or Publisher). Give each team a copy of handout three:Foundation Poster Rubrics to guide their work. Each team designs their poster or brochure with the school audience in mind. When the posters or brochures are done, they will inform other students in the school about the work of the foundation. Tell the students that their posters/brochures should be attractive, easy to read, and persuasive about the good work of the foundation. Encourage them to promote the foundation as a place that does good work in the community. Students may go to https://www.guidestar.org/ to find foundations for study. One team may be given the assignment to create an overview telling about the general work of foundations. This piece can be displayed with the posters or brochures.

  14. When posters/brochures are completed, allow each group to present it to the class and then exhibit them together in a hall for other classes to view. The assignment may take a few days to complete and present the posters.


The completed poster will serve as the assessment for this lesson.