Dear Young Philanthropist

9, 10, 11, 12

After researching the life and work of a chosen philanthropist from history, the learner takes on the role of that philanthropist in writing a letter back to the learner. In this letter, the philanthropist shares their motivations and feelings about their work, and compares and contrasts their work with the philanthropic work of the learner. 

PrintOne Fifty-Minute Session

Write from another's perspective to articulate their point of view.


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Ask participants to reflect quietly in writing about their own philanthropy or their intention to take philanthropic action. 

  2. Using what they know about the philanthropist they wrote a letter to in lesson one, learners take on the role of that philanthropist and write a letter back to themselves. The letter answers the questions and compares/contrasts the philanthropist's work with that of the learner.

  3. The letter from lesson one, the bio-poem from lesson two, and the response above can be published together. 

  4. Reflect in discussion on what inspires the group from the work of the philanthropists. Ask each person to think about what they can do to impact the common good of the community with their words and actions. Invite them to share their ideas.

Cross Curriculum 

Students prepare visual presentations on their chosen philanthropist for public and school display. These presentations can be set up for "Make A Difference Day" celebrations, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, or various school sponsored events. These displays are suitable for use in local libraries, city hall, or other public buildings.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark HS.2 Identify and discuss examples of philanthropy and charity in modern culture.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark HS.2 Discuss and give examples of why some humans will sacrifice for the benefit of unknown others.
      2. Benchmark HS.4 Describe and give examples of characteristics of someone who helps others.
    2. Standard PCS 06. Philanthropy in History
      1. Benchmark HS.2 Give an example of individual philanthropic action that influenced national or world history.
      2. Benchmark HS.5 Identify positive philanthropic historic acts or events that helped build the community, state, and nation.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark HS.10 Identify reasons why historic figures acted for the common good.
      2. Benchmark HS.4 Cite historical examples of citizen actions that affected the common good.
  4. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 02. Service and Learning
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Select a service project based on interests, abilities, and research.