Detroit and Urban Philanthropy

Students Viewed as Assets in their Communities

Do you want to bring classroom learning out into the urban community? Your students will learn about their community and local nonprofits, take action that meets needs, and expand their world and purpose for learning. Contact our Wayne County Classroom Community Coordinator, Mary Rouleau, for a free consultation (email, phone, Skype, or in person).

As you scroll down this page you will find:

  • targeted toolkits and lesson plans
  • local resources
  • resources and opportunities for teachers

Although these resources focus heavily on Detroit, if you are in another urban community, these resources should also help you craft lessons and projects that guide instruction.

Philanthropy and Service-Learning Toolkits and Lesson Plans 
  1. Toolkits and Lesson plans - We have hundreds of them you can find via a targeted search.​ And we've just developed this Detroit area-focused toolkit: Food Security and Food Justice with lessons, local resources and service opportunities to help your students understand the issues and contribute to solutions.
  2. Community-building exercises - These activities guide students to investigate community needs and resources ("mapping"), take action and then reflect on their experience. 
  3. Social Justice toolkit - A step-by-step guide and the tools to support teaching about justice and advocacy, including resource organizations and suggestions for action.
  4. Service-Learning toolkit - Through the lessons and featured activities on this page, students learn that they are philanthropists when they take action for the benefit of others.
  5. Lessons developed by Detroit Area Teachers in Residence - Lessons include stewardship, global awareness, refugee understanding, justice, and community. 

Service-Learning Basics

Need help in designing a service-learning project?  Here are several resources for you about the process:

  • An animated 3.5 minute student-friendly video that lays out the basics 
  • A step-by-step narrative with tips and links for teacher use 
  • A four-part teacher mini-course about service-learning with lots of examples, which earns you professional development credits

Detroit and Local Resources 

Here's a list of identified nonprofits that can be both good sources of information and partners for service-learning activities.  

Detroit Nonprofits

Check out these sources of research and reporting about Detroit and other communities, as well as well-established voter and advocacy groups.  

Detroit Area Resources

Stay up to date with trending issues in the Detroit area that impact students and the neighborhoods in which they live.

Trending in Wayne County

Resources and Opportunities for Teachers 

We're here to support you and your work in many ways:

  • Lead Your School - A Philanthropy Field Guide that is an exemplar to whole-school engagement.
  • Free Mini-courses - Learn when and where it best works for you; earn certificates that may be applied toward continuing ed credits and professional development.
  • Mini-grants - Learning to Give provides financial support for service-learning projects. The application is easy and requirements are few.
  • Teacher in Residence - Every summer one teacher from Wayne County works closely with Learning to Give to develop new content and resources for the national audience. Applications are open every year between March 1-April 15. 
  • LTG Collaborative - Learn from and share your ideas with a community of educators from around the country via webinar or phone.

Share Your Students’ Work

Let's promote excellence in students' work while magnifying their voices and inspiring others to contribute to their communities in age-appropriate ways.

On this page and in our social media @LearningtoGive will share your students' pictures, essays, poetry, and videos. Use #Teach1 #LTGDetroit or contact to share your story. 



Teacher-created philanthropy education lessons magnify the impact of any academic content with themes of generosity, community, and civic and social responsibility. Perfect base for PBL, service-learning, and student-centered instruction. Lessons align to state standards, including Common Core State Standards, and some international standards.

These resources are for adults who want to teach youth about philanthropy and the nonprofit sector. Use these activities to build a culture of cooperation and service while learning about civic responsibility, problem-solving, board service, philanthropy, leadership, and grant-making.

Our picture book and teen novel guides combine selected literature with thought-provoking discussions and activities that teach about giving and civic engagement. The featured books raise issues like respect, caring, giving, honoring diversity, adversity, helping others, fairness, responsibility, trustworthiness, and citizenship.