Sharing the Wealth

3, 4, 5

This lesson will define philanthropy. It will focus on specific needs and how to request grants from various foundations.

Lesson Rating 
PrintTwo Forty-Five Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • identify a cause in the school community that needs to be addressed.
  • select a service project within the school.
  • write a small grant request or application to a foundation.
  • Internet access
  • Paper, pens or pencils
  • Chalkboard or chart paper
  • Chalk or markers for chart paper
  • Sample Grant Request (Attachment One)
  • Magazine article about philanthropy
  • Word cards with the following terms: philanthropy, opportunity, support, grant, fundraising, result, service, community, grant request (proposal), foundation, distribution, monetary.
Home Connection 

Students will complete the grant request at home. (See Attachment One.)



  1. Anticipatory Set: Ask the students to name some stores where they shop often.

  2. Ask the students to think about the following questions.

    • How do stores know where to open?
    • Why do they come into the community?
    • Is it for profit or nonprofit?
  3. Explain that these stores/businesses open for profit, to make money, while "nonprofits" usually provide goods or a service that is for the benefit of the community.

  4. Ask the students to turn to a neighbor and discuss these questions: If given an opportunity to open a nonprofit to help others, where could it be opened? Why? How could it help others? What would the pay be? Allow some class time for sharing of ideas.

  5. List the terms on the chalkboard or chart paper:

    • philanthropy (the giving of one's time, talent or treasure for the sake of another or for the common good society)
    • opportunity (a favorable position; a chance for advancement), support (to provide financial assistance)
    • service (help given to others)
    • community (a group of people living in the same area and under the same government)
    • result (consequence of an action, course, or operation)
  6. Brainstorm with the class definitions for these terms as they relate to philanthropy. Save as a reference point for later use.

  7. Tell the class that they will create a service organization in the school. Explain that creating a service organization is the same as creating a business. It is necessary to decide the service or product that is to be offered, what type of workers are needed, how to secure funding, how the public will become aware of the service or product, and how success will be measured.

  8. Arrangethe students into groups of three or four. Pose the question: "What type of service organization does the school need? Why?" Provide chart paper and markers. Use the Red Cross as an example of a service organization, explain the service that this organization provides and why it is needed. Allow the groups to brainstorm school needs and how they can be met for about ten minutes.

  9. Reassemble groups to share ideas that have been discussed. Record ideas on chalkboard or chart paper.

  10. Ask: "How do these relate to philanthropy? How would these ideas be supported? What resources would be needed?" As a class, determine which needs can be realistically met by a student service organization.

  11. Define:

    • fundraising : soliciting money to benefit a cause or organization.
    • grant: a financial donation given to support a person, organization, project or program. Most grants are awarded to not-for-profit organizations.
    • grant proposal: the document submitted to the foundation or other potential funding source in which the organization presents its request for support.
  12. Explain that there may be a 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) that may be interested in supporting some of the ideas. Explain to students that some foundations make distributions (gifts of monetary funds, money) to support selected causes.

  13. Explain that each group will search the Internet using Web site: for a foundation that would support one of the proposed service organizations. Provide examples from the Bibliographical References section.

  14. Explain that they should look for grants that will be provided in the current school year. There may be some funds available within the school structure, i.e., the Parent/Teacher Organization, or Principal's Discretionary Fund, for which there is no formal grant request form. Students may use Sample Grant Request (Attachment One) to request support from these organizations. Tell students that each group will be responsible for filling out one grant request and submitting it to the foundation for approval.

  15. Review this lesson when the grant approvals are returned to begin the various school service organizations.



5 Points Completes the grant request using complete sentences, proper grammar, correct punctuation, and explains why funding is being sought.

4 Points Completes the grant request using complete sentences, grammar, punctuation, and doesn't fully explain why funding is being sought.

3 Points Completes the grant request with some errors, using complete sentences, grammar and punctuation, but has problems explaining why funding is being sought.

2 Points Completes the grant request but it contains incomplete sentences, errors in grammar, punctuation, and it doesn't explain why funding is being sought.

1 Point Incomplete grant request contains incomplete sentences, errors in grammar, punctuation, and doesn't explain why funding is being sought.

Cross Curriculum 

When funding is obtained, students will participate in the service project within the school.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 05. Role of Foundations
      1. Benchmark E.1 Name at least one grant-making foundation.
  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.
  3. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 01. Needs Assessment
      1. Benchmark E.1 Identify a need in the school, local community, state, nation, or world.
    2. Standard VS 02. Service and Learning
      1. Benchmark E.1 Select a service project based on interests, abilities, and research.