Philanthropic Prescriptions

9, 10, 11, 12

This lesson involves the students role-playing scenarios related to caring actions. 

Lesson Rating 
PrintOne Fifty-Minute Class Period

The learner will:

  • make a correlation between acts of caring and philanthropic actions,
  • role-play appropriate and inappropriate philanthropic actions for given scenarios, and
  • identify the philanthropic actions based upon their role-plays.
  • empty plastic prescription bottles
  • prescription strips template Scenarios (handout)
  • Venn Diagram (handout)
  • scenario cards
  • "CARES In-service." Detroit Public Schools Department of Social Work, 10 Jan. 1998.
  • Cohen, T. "Who's Getting the Charity?" Philanthropy Journal Alert, 24 Oct. 1997.


  1. Anticipatory Set: Write the word CARES on the chalkboard. Ask the students, "What does it mean when someone cares for you?" Remind them that committing a philanthropic action (private action for the public good) demonstrates how we care about an issue or person. Over the years many philanthropists cared enough about certain problems to try to prescribe a remedy for the situation. Today's objective gives each of them the opportunity to prescribe a philanthropic solution to current societal issues.

  2. Divide the class into 5 groups. Instruct each group to 1) read the scenarios, and 2) develop a negative and positive response for each scenario (role-play). Each scenario card represents a word from the acronym for CARES.

  3. An example of a typical negative response to Scenario 3 for Responsible would show the students role-play a successful businessperson saying "I've made it! I should do something to help other poor kids from my old neighborhood go to college. Well, on second thought, they can work hard like I did and stop looking for a handout!"

  4. An example of a typical positive response to Scenario 3 for Responsible would show the students role-play that same business person saying, "I've made it! I should do something to help other poor kids from my old neighborhood go to college." The business person calls his or her assistant. "Chris, write a memo to my old high school announcing my decision to start a scholarship for a graduating senior who has good grades but no money." Allow approximately 15 minutes to develop their responses and call on each group to present their role-play.

  5. After each group's presentation, ask them to identify the philanthropic action shown in their role-play. For the negative response, the philanthropic action is nonexistent because the business person chose not to help others although he had the money. In the positive response, the business person took philanthropic action by realizing the need to give back to his community and following through on that realization.

  6. At the end of all the presentations, give each group the matching prescription from the pillbox. Ask a group member to read the solution to their scenario as prescribed by a famous philanthropist.


Using a Venn Diagram, students provide two correct examples of comparison and contrast of their role-play solutions to those of a famous philanthropist. Scoring two points indicates mastery.

Venn Diagram Rubric:

Correctly lists two examples in all three circles 3 pts

Correctly lists examples for likeness but writes incorrect examples for differences or vice versa 2 pts

List incorrect examples in two circles 1 pts

No answer 0 pts

Cross Curriculum 

Help students to locate public service agencies whose goals are representative of the group's word for CARES. The teacher could arrange to bring student groups to various agencies for short-term internships.

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.