Civic Virtue

3, 4, 5

We define civic virtue and give examples of ways to exhibit civic virtue for the common good. 

PrintOne 45-Minute Session
  • Describe the responsibility people have for the common good of their community.
  • Define civic virtue and give examples.

Chart paper 

Teacher Preparation 

Gain familiarity with local nonprofits



  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Ask the group whether selfishness and selflessness are opposites. They will think/pair/share their thoughts.

    1. Have them first reflect and jot notes quietly themselves, including defining the terms as they understand them.
    2. Then have them pair up and discuss their definitions of the two terms.
    3. Then have them share their thoughts and discuss the differences with the whole group. What does selflessness in the community look like? Is it the opposite of selfish? Why or why not?

    Introduce the term civic virtue. Civic virtue is positive behavior that supports group wellbeing, or qualities that contribute to the healthy functioning of a democracy. These behaviors are not always selfless. Sometimes they are good for the giver and receiver. 

  2. Discuss what is top of mind when we act with civic virtue (wellbeing of the whole). What positive behaviors and decisions are we responsible for when we have civic virtue? Possible answers: civility, cooperation, listening to others, respect, be aware that not everyone has the same needs or wants, do our best to make things better when we see a need or issue. 

  3. Each person reflects in writing on their own personal civic virtue. This may be past or present behavior or future intention.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.3 Recognize that citizens have a responsibility for the common good as defined by democratic principles.
      2. Benchmark E.4 Define and give examples of selfishness and selflessness.
    2. Standard DP 03. Names and Types of Organizations within the Civil Society Sector
      1. Benchmark E.2 Name an example of a civil society charitable organization.
    3. Standard DP 04. Operational Characteristics of Nonprofit Organizations
      1. Benchmark E.3 Describe how a volunteer youth club in the community operates.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark E.7 Identify women and minority philanthropists.
    2. Standard PCS 03. Philanthropy and Economics
      1. Benchmark E.1 Define and give examples of civil society sector corporations.
    3. Standard PCS 04. Philanthropy and Geography
      1. Benchmark E.1 Name examples of civil society organizations in the community.
    4. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark E.9 Describe how philanthropic activities can bring about social change.
  3. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 03. Providing Service
      1. Benchmark E.1 Provide a needed service.
      2. Benchmark E.2 Describe the goals of the project and their impact.
      3. Benchmark E.3 Describe the task and the student role.