Story of Philanthropy (A): Philanthropy Lesson (4th)

3, 4, 5

Students will define philanthropy and recognize philanthropic activities. Students will identify examples of philanthropy in literature.

Lesson Rating 
PrintTwo Forty-Five Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • define philanthropy.
  • recognize philanthropic deeds of self and others.
  • 3 x 5 Index cards
  • Uncle Jed’s Barbershop by Margaree Mitchell
  • Drawing paper for each student
Home Connection 

Following Day One the students will take home the definition of philanthropy. They will ask an adult to share an example of a philanthropic act.


Mitchell, Margaree. Uncle Jed’s Barbershop. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993. ISBN: 0671769693.


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Write the word “philanthropy” for the students to see. Hand out 3x5 cards. Ask each student to write their name, copy the word “philanthropy” and then write what they guess is the definition of the word.

    During this time the teacher should write the definition (giving of time, talent, and treasure, and taking action for the common good) on another 3 x 5 card. Collect all cards, including the teacher’s. Quickly read aloud each proposed definition (without using names). Then reread them this time asking the students to raise their hands if they think it might be a correct definition. Review the correct answer. Share with them the definition on the teacher card.

  2. Discuss the meanings and the correlation to philanthropy of these words:

    • time: (n) A continuous period measured by clocks, watches and calendars; the period or moment in which something happens or takes place
    • talent: (n) The aptitude, disposition, or characteristic ability of a person
    • treasure: (n) Possessions or riches; something regarded as valuable
    • common good: (n) Involves individual citizens having the commitment and motivation to promote the welfare of the community (even if they must sacrifice their own time, personal preferences or money) to work together with other members for the greater benefit of all.
    • give: (v) To make a present of, to bestow; to donate or contribute; to put into the possession of another
    • share: (n) A part or portion given to or by one person: one of equal parts; (v) to divide or distribute portions
    • volunteer: (n) One who offers himself for a service of his own free will without expectations of payment

    Make connections with students’ involvement in philanthropy, whether individual, family, school, community, state, or national levels. Make sure examples are given of all levels.

  3. Tell the students that you will be reading them a book. They are to listen for the acts of philanthropy in the story and try to determine if they included the giving of time, talent and/or treasure.

  4. Read Uncle Jed’s Barbershop by Margaree Mitchell to the class. How was Uncle Jed a philanthropist in his family and in his community? What was the opportunity cost (what he had to give up) in order for him to be philanthropic?

  5. Return the cards to the students and ask them to copy the word philanthropy and the correct definition on the blank side. They are to take the cards home, share the definition with a family member or other adult, and ask the adult if they can share an example of philanthropy.

  6. Day Two:

    Help students remember the definition of philanthropy from the previous day.

  7. Ask students to depict their understanding of philanthropy by drawing a picture of “philanthropy in action” either an action that they or their families have taken or one that they have heard about. Students explain the meaning of their picture in a short paragraph, making sure to use the definition of philanthropy in their writing.

  8. Ask for volunteers to share their pictures and paragraphs with the class.


The picture and paragraph will serve as an assessment for the lesson.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.1 Define philanthropy as the giving and sharing of time, talent, or treasure intended for the common good.
    2. Standard DP 06. Role of Family in Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.2 Identify examples of families supporting giving and sharing.
  2. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.1 Describe one reason why a person might give or volunteer.
      2. Benchmark E.6 Make a connection between fundamental democratic principles and philanthropy.