Philanthropy, A Timeline for Us

6, 7, 8

Discover elements of philanthropy within their community and state during and immediately after World War II. Determine philanthropy in their community and state today.

Lesson Rating 
PrintSix Forty-Five Minute Class Periods (or three block scheduling sessions)

The learner will:

  • define philanthropy, community, and social dynamics.
  • recognize the various components of the community, their interrelationship, roles, and responsibilities.
  • analyze how social dynamics affect philanthropy in the community.
  • discover how their community participated in philanthropic acts during World War II.
  • discover how their community today gives of its time, treasure and talent for the common good.
  • prepare and publish a manual of philanthropy to be placed in the school library or media center.

"Philanthropy in America Timeline," Learning to Give 

  • annual gift (n): Contributions made to nonprofit agencies in support of their yearly fundraising
  • benevolence (n): The inclination to be charitable
  • bond (n): A duty or binding agreement; an investment vehicle
  • charitable deduction (n): The portion of a gift/donation (money or property) that can be deducted from the donor's income subject to federal, or sometimes state, income tax
  • charity (n): Money or help given to aid the needy; an organization, fund, or institution whose purpose is to aid those in need - derived from the Christian concept of caritas, meaning love of one's neighbor
  • community (n, pl. -ies): A group of people living in the same area and under the same government; a class or group having common interests and likes
  • fundraising (n): Soliciting money to benefit a cause or organization
  • foundation (n): 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
  • in-kind contributions (n): Contributions of equipment, supplies, or other tangible property as distinguished from monetary grants
  • philanthropy (n): The giving of one's time, talent or treasure for the sake of another, or for the common good; Active effort to promote human welfare; A tradition, a spirit, and a sector of society 


Home Connection 

The learners are to survey their extended families to discover activities relating to philanthropy in which they participate. Have them make a list and share it with the class. If they have friends or family members who participated in any activities during WW II, ask them to write those down and share with the class. Examples: some grandmothers may have folded bandages, blood drives, war bonds, food collections, sent cookies to soldiers, etc.

  1. Prior to the activity: Learners write down their expectations and feelings regarding the activity.
  2. During the activity: Keep a daily log of work undertaken, completed, needs and assessment of daily work as an individual within the group and for the group.
  3. After the activity: Final evaluation of the project. Include recommendations for improvement, what needs to be kept, plusses and minuses.

Active Citizenship Today: Field Guide. CA: Constitutional Rights Foundation, 1995. This five-chapter book for students details the idea of being an active citizen in a community through service learning components.

Center for the Study of Philanthropy

Duke University, a project of A project of theDigital Scriptorium, Rare Book, Manuscript, and Sepecial Collections Library

Salzman, Marian and Teresa Reisgies with Maribel Becker et al. 150 Ways Teens Can Make A Difference: A Handbook for Action. New Jersey: Peterson's Guides, 1991.
A book for teens concerning how to get involved in one's community and who to contact for information to do so.


  1. Instructor's Note: Invite a speaker from a local philanthropic agency to speak to your class about the agency or foundation, its history, goals and community impact. Suggestions: United Way, Girl or Boy Scouts, Big Brother and Sister, Red Cross, private family foundation in the community or state, faith-based charity.

    Anticipatory Set: Ask the class to define community, including its structure, components, and roles. Discuss how community forms during a crisis, emphasizing behaviors learned from the previous three lessons in this unit.

  2. Discuss the vocabulary of philanthropy. See above.

  3. Discuss how each of the vocabulary items relates to identified agencies, foundations.

  4. Discuss the types of foundations and agencies in their community

  5. Visit the Learning to Give timeline to view philanthropic activity during the World War II time span. Display the timeline for the class. Use it as a basis for having learners research all the grass roots organizations and established foundations and charities during that era in your community and state. Use the local phone books to have learners research current philanthropic organizations in your community.

  6. Discuss the war bond effort and the status of US savings bonds today.

  7. Instructor's Note: You may want to ask a local banker to come in and talk about this topic.

  8. Develop a master list of all philanthropic activities within their community and state during WW II and to 1950. Extend that so that the refugee programs would be covered.

  9. Have the learners suggest those items that should be covered in their manual. Vote and select the items. Include index, glossary and table of contents.

  10. Divide the class into peer groups most effective for the size of your class. Three to four is recommended.

  11. Have learners select a recorder and chair to plan the process for gathering information and producing their part of a collaborative class manual.

  12. Have the learners decide which elements or sections their group would be responsible for completing and develop the timeline for completion.

  13. Learners will research and compile their portions of the manual.

  14. Peer group edit research.

  15. Bring class together to select final design and vote on cover, layout.

  16. Learners will present their findings to the group prior to publication.

  17. Compile and publish their manual.

  18. Present manual to the school library.


Learners will complete a three-paragraph evaluation in which they analyze the affect of social dynamics on the WW II community and upon today's community relative to their respective philanthropic responses. Evaluate the group work as to content developed and affective behaviors. Evaluate oral presentation by the group on their research.

Cross Curriculum 

Learners will produce a philanthropy manual of community philanthropic activities during the World War II Era and a list of philanthropic agencies in the community today.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Define philanthropy as individuals and organizations providing their time, talent, and/or treasures intended for the common good throughout history and around the world. Give examples.
      2. Benchmark MS.4 Give examples of how individuals have helped others.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark MS.3 Give political and historic reasons why civil society groups have formed in the nation and world.
    2. Standard PCS 03. Philanthropy and Economics
      1. Benchmark MS.4 Give examples of how civil-society-sector giving can impact communities.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.4 Identify and describe the actions of how citizens act for the common good.
  4. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 03. Providing Service
      1. Benchmark MS.3 Describe the task and the student role.
      2. Benchmark MS.4 Demonstrate the skills needed for the successful performance of the volunteer job.
    2. Standard VS 05. Integrating the Service Experience into Learning
      1. Benchmark MS.2 Evaluate progress on the service-learning project before, during, and after the project.