A Story of Philanthropy

3, 4, 5

The young people define philanthropy and identify philanthropic activities.

PrintOne 45-Minute Session

Define philanthropy

  • Uncle Jed’s Barbershop by Margaree Mitchell

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


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Define philanthropy as giving time, talent, or treasure for the common good. Ask the young people to give examples of taking action for the good of all, whether at the individual, family, school, community, state, or national level. 

  2. Discuss the meanings of the following words and relate to the concept of philanthropy:

    • 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
  3. Before reading Uncle Jed’s Barbershop by Margaree Mitchell aloud, ask the youth to listen for examples of philanthropy in the form of time, talent, and treasure.

    After reading, ask, "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?"

  4. On index cards, participants copy the word philanthropy and the definition on one side. They take the cards home, share the definition with a family member or other adult, and ask the adult for an example of philanthropy. They write this on the other side of the card.

    On the following day, talk about the variety of philanthropy they talked about at their homes. Discuss what the impact of philanthropy can be on a community. 

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.