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3, 4, 5

This lesson will emphasize why a legacy of philanthropy is needed now and for future generations.

Lesson Rating 
PrintTwo Forty-Five Minute Class Periods

The learner will explain the need to preserve treasures for future use.

  • Word cards: economics, treasure, capital, investment, endowment, return, opportunity cost, dividends, foundation, fundraising
  • Copy of Ann McGovern's Aesop's Fables (selection "Ant and the Grasshopper"). A grasshopper who danced and sang all summer tries to persuade the hard-working ants (who worked and saved for the winter) to share food and shelter.
  • Copy of Judith Viorst's, Alexander, Who Used To Be Rich Last Sunday. Last Sunday, his grandparents gave Alexander a dollar. He was rich! There are so many things that he could buy, if he saves enough money. But, somehow, the money began to disappear...
  • Shoebox of treasure (include miscellaneous toys, gum, eraser, coins of different values, pencil, pen, safety pin, Lifesaver candy or similar type of rolled candy, etc.)
  • Chalkboard or chart paper
  • Chalk or markers for chart paper
  • Assortment of small boxes for students
  • Internet access
  • Paper for note taking
  • Pencils
  • Making a Foundation Last (Attachment One)
  • Sun template or pattern for tracing
  • Colored paper for sun pattern
  • Crayons, markers, or colored pencils

McGovern, Ann. Aesop's Fables. Econo-clad, 1999. ISBN: 0808551272.

Viorst, Judith. Alexander, Who Used To Be Rich Last Sunday. Aladdin, 1978. ISBN: 0689711999.

What Is a Foundation? /units/using-our-talents-common-good/what-foundation Accessed on July 30, 2010.


  1. Anticipatory Set:What do you do when you are given money? Do you spend or save it? If you save it, where do you put it? How can you save for a rainy day (emergency)? Display the shoebox. If you were to place all of your treasure in a shoebox, would that be a good idea?

  2. Read Alexander, Who Used To Be Rich Last Sunday. Ask, "Did Alexander make a wise decision? What should Alexander have done with his money?" Note student responses on chalkboard or chart paper. Explain:

  3. investment: an item of value purchased for income or capital appreciation

  4. opportunity cost: the cost of passing up the next best choice when making a decision

  5. return: the annual return on an investment, expressed as a percentage of the total amount invested

  6. capital: the representational net worth of a business; used to describe fund-raising for a building or major piece of equipment.

  7. Tell students that when foundations are given money, they invest the money and use the dividends (money that is paid on the original capital that was put away). Explain that the foundation places the money into a bank account instead of putting the money into a box or into a piggy bank. They do this so the work or programs that are started today can continue in the future to benefit others. The money that Alexander received was a gift that could be considered an endowment (funds intended to be kept permanently and invested to provide income for continued support of an organization). His choice to spend or save his money could be considered an example of opportunity cost. Instead he decided to spend his treasure (money) in several ways.

  8. Read the "Ant and the Grasshopper" from Ann McGovern's Aesop's Fables. What is the difference between the ant and the grasshopper? Did the grasshopper make a good economic choice? Allow students an opportunity to decide what "economic" might mean. Tell students that foundations make economic decisions to decide how they can get money by fundraising (soliciting money to benefit a cause or organization). How do you think the grasshopper felt? If the grasshopper were given another chance to start over, what would it do? Explain that what the ants had could be considered a treasure (hidden riches; something regarded as valuable-something to save and accumulate for future use-to value).

  9. Arrange students into groups of three or four. Explain that they will need to decide which real treasures they have, then brainstorm how to share their treasures. Record group ideas on chalkboard or chart paper for later use. Ask "Should the treasure be used up in one day or many? Who should get it?" Say, "Foundations make decisions about sharing their treasure all the time. If you had a foundation, how would you share your treasure? If one of your classmates had to stay home because they are ill, what could you share with him/her?"

  10. Explain to students that they are going to pretend that they are grasshoppers building a foundation. Pass out the small boxes. They are to decide what will be needed to keep the foundation going once they have moved on. Pass out paper so that students can create small objects or write the things that they would need (it should include a house for shelter, food for nourishment, money to purchase things that they cannot produce, and people to help out). Then they are to write a paragraph explaining why these items were selected. Allow time for sharing ideas.

  11. Give the students Making a Foundation Last (Attachment One) and allow 15 minutes for students to complete the form.


Making a Foundation Last (Attachment One) will serve as an assessment.


4 Points Correctly identifies endowment money, volunteers, dividends, fundraising, community need, and building as "Needed" on Attachment One handout. Provides a reasonable explanation for items selected.

3 Points Identifies 4 items and gives a reasonable explanation.

2 Points Identifies 3 items and gives a reasonable explanation

1 Point Identifies 3 items without an explanation 0 Points Identifies 1-2 items without an explanation

Cross Curriculum 

As a culminating activity, students may fill a small box with a sunny greeting that a classmate may get when ill at home.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 05. Role of Foundations
      1. Benchmark E.4 Describe the concept of saving for the future.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 03. Philanthropy and Economics
      1. Benchmark E.3 Give examples of <i>opportunity cost</i> in philanthropic giving.