What Is Philanthropy?

To introduce students to the concept of philanthropy

Print1 hour

Students will:

  • Understand the course outline and expectations
  • Understand the challenge of distributing limited resources
  • Understand the importance of sharing
  • Gain exposure to elements of group dynamics (including, leadership, teamwork and group think)
  • Gain exposure to various decision-making styles – specifically, consensus, sense of the meeting, majority rule, and dictatorship

Hands on Philanthropy Syllabus (handout)

Cake, knife and plates 

  1. The class starts with showing the trailer, What is Philanthropy? by Salvatore Alaimo, a documentary about the concept of giving. The video helps to start the conversation about what the students know or would like to know about philanthropy.

  2. Teacher presents the course syllabus.

  3. “Cut the Cake” activity: 

    Present the class with a cake, knife and plates. Tell them, “This is for you; do what you want with it.” Watch to see how they approach the decision about the cake and what they decide regarding its distribution; these are very telling.

    Discuss different approaches people can take with this activity:

    • Social Darwinism vs. Social Consciousness; the meaning of philanthropy [Greek]:  philo = loving [non-romantic]; anthropos = man
    • Process in determining distribution (limited distribution)
    • Different leadership and decision-making styles: autocratic, consensus, and “sense of the meeting” styles.

    Discuss the challenge of distributing limited resources and importance of sharing