People Take the Stand

3, 4, 5

This lesson will define how individual subcultures make philanthropic contributions. It will define acts of philanthropy as they relate to each subculture. This lesson will allow students to make a contribution through an Academic Service-Learning project to one of the subcultures as a philanthropic action.

Lesson Rating 
PrintThree Forty-Five Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • give examples of philanthropic acts of various cultural subgroups.
  • describe one philanthropic organization or foundation for each subculture.
  • Internet access
  • Chalkboard or chart paper
  • Chalk or markers
  • Lined paper
  • Book: The Patchwork Quilt (see Bibliographical References)
  • Book: Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes (see Bibliographical References)
  • Book: The Kids Guide to Social Action (see Bibliographical References)
  • Stand Up for Philanthropy (Attachment One)
  • Local telephone directories
  • Word cards: contributions, philanthropist, Native American, Hispanic American, Asian American, African American, Jewish American, Islamic, beneficiary, foundations, charities, organization, nonprofit, pooled resources, stewardship
  • Coerr, Eleanor. Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes. New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell Books for Young Readers, 1977. ISBN: 0698118022 (Also available in a 1999 reissue.)
    • Sadako dies at the age of twelve from leukemia caused by the atom bomb in Japan. The fable tells that if you fold 1000 cranes, the gods will grant you a wish and make you well. Sadako had folded 644 cranes and her classmates finish the cranes after her death.
  • Flournoy, Valerie. The Patchwork Quilt. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers, 1985. ISBN: 0803700970
    • An African American grandma and her granddaughter make a quilt to tell their family history. When the grandmother becomes ill, the granddaughters, along with the rest of the family, finish the quilt for the grandmother.
  • Lewis, Barbara A., Pamela Espeland, and Caryn Pernu. The Kids Guide to Social Action. Free Spirit Publishing, 1998. ISBN: 1575420384.
    • A guide for children to teach them how to get involved in their community. The book takes children through the steps of involvement and gives them sample letters, articles, and fundraising techniques.
  • Helpful Web sites:


  1. Anticipatory Set: As students enter the room, pass out a penny to each without telling them why. Keep a tally on the number of students who say "thank you." Once the entire class is seated, draw a line down the middle of the chalkboard. Entitle one side "Thanks" and the other "None." Ask students why would someone give a thing of value and not ask for anything in return? What do people normally do when someone does something to benefit or help them?

  2. Go over the definitions of the following terms, using the word cards:

    • philanthropist an individual known for his or her exceptional generosity in support of charitable causes.
    • beneficiary the grantee receiving funds from a foundation or corporate giving program is the beneficiary, although society benefits as well.
    • contribution something given to someone.
    • Charities an organization, fund, or institution whose purpose is to aid those in need.
    • nonprofit an organization whose income is not used for the benefit or private gain of stockholders, directors, or any other persons with an interest in the company.
    • foundation 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.
    • organization a body of persons organized for some sort end or work. Note: If necessary, access for assistance in providing definitions for the word cards.
  3. Ask:

    • Which of these words means providing something for the community?
    • What is a community's most valued thing? (people)
    • How can people help the community to be a better place to live?
    • Are all communities alike?
    • How are they different?
    • What types of places do people create or build that make communities different? (building, organizations, charities, foundations)
    • What groups of people live in your community?
  4. Ask:

    • In the first community of the colonies, Native Americans contributed to the common good of the Pilgrims. What are some of the things that they did? (taught them how to plant food, fish, and survive, etc.)
    • During slavery, African Americans helped one another. What did they do? (took care of the children, taught the new slaves the language, showed them how to take care of themselves)
    • After slavery, many of the ex-slaves had no place to call home. They were helped by others, not always ex-slaves. What kinds of things did the people do?
  5. All subcultures (groups of varying ethnic cultures within society) contribute to the betterment of their community. Explain that in our community there are all kinds of people. Teacher Note: Use examples that are pertinent to your community. List some ethnic groups, on chart paper for later reference. Advise the students that in the greater society, all groups are represented.

  6. Read Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes for the students. Ask, "What was the problem? How was it solved? Have you ever, or do know someone who has, done something for someone else?"

  7. Review the lesson from the previous day. Explain that some communities see a need or problem and decide to help out. Refer back to Sadako and the 1000 Paper Cranes as a reference point. They have what is known as pooled resources (when there is not a lot of money, people put what they have together to solve the problem or create something to relieve the need). They think of ways to continue to benefit the people of their community for many years to come so they set up stewardships (a process that organizations seek to be worthy of philanthropic support through gifts, donor contributions, effective and efficient use of funds to further the mission of the organization). Can you think of an organization that was started a long time ago that continues to contribute to the common good of the community? (a church, March of Dimes, United Way, Red Cross, scholarship funds etc.) Name a few if students are having trouble. Tell the students that not only do communities get together to solve problems, individuals can do so as well.

  8. Read The Patchwork Quilt as an example.

  9. Tell students that they will be working with a partner to find foundations or organizations founded by the subcultures. Once a philanthropic foundation has been identified, the partners will explore the Internet to find out more about it. They are to search the web for each culture. List the Web sites from the Bibliographical References list on the chalkboard or chart paper so that it highly visible. They should read and find out about organizations that have been founded to benefit the community.

  10. Review what was learned from the previous two days. Ask, "Are philanthropy and doing something for the common good important to all subcultures? What are some of the things that you have learned about the groups? Yourself? Do you think that making a difference in the community makes it better? Why or why not?"

  11. Explain that no matter how old or young a person is, we can all make a difference. List some of the cultures studied on the chalkboard or chart paper. Tell the students that a vote will be taken to determine which group will be the recipient or beneficiary of a service-learning project. Take a vote; circle the group that has been chosen.

  12. Explain that working within their group, they will use The Kids Guide to Social Action to learn the steps and how to be an active participant philanthropist in their community. Allow students to brainstorm ideas they can accomplish for a service project or use the book for ideas.

  13. The service-learning project can be scheduled as a one-time event or it can occur over a few months.


Completion of Stand Up for Philanthropy (Attachment One).


4 Points Completes information for 5-6 cultural groups

3 Points Completes information for 4 cultural groups

2 Points Completes information for 3 cultural groups

1 Point Completes information for 2 cultural groups

Cross Curriculum 

Service contribution for selected subculture.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 06. Role of Family in Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.3 Identify the major cultural subgroups in the nation's society.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 07. Skills of Civic Engagement
      1. Benchmark E.2 Discuss an issue affecting the common good in the classroom or school and demonstrate respect and courtesy for differing opinions.