PrintThree to Four Forty-Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • identify examples of philanthropy in the family and community.
  • describe the economic impact of philanthropy on the family and community.
  • compare volunteer activities people do today with activities done in an earlier time.
  • Vocabulary List
  • Construction paper
  • Crayons or colored pencils
  • Chart paper
Teacher Preparation 
Philanthropy has always been deeply rooted in the black community. Even on the Middle Passage, various individuals attempted to lessen pain and inhumane conditions. During slavery "surrogate mothers" informally adopted children who had been torn from their natural mothers. This care of abandoned children has always continued so that it is not unusual to see children being raised by aunts, uncles and grandparents. The sharing of food during slavery is a practice that continues today. Free societies and the church were and are dominant forces in the African American community. Students should be reminded that money is not the only means by which philanthropy exhibits itself in the African American community.
  • community
  • family
  • service
  • volunteer
  • philanthropy
  • care
  • share
  • Patrick, Denise Lewis. Red Dancing Shoes. Tambourine Books (1993): p32.
  • Ringgold, Faith. Tar Beach. Crown (1992): p28.


  1. Share one of the books from the materials list by reading it to the class or assign the book to students as additional reading with a group, partner, or individually. Ask students, how did family members show caring and sharing toward one another? Lead a discussion about family, family interaction, needs, wants, caring, sharing, and jobs within the family. Prompt students by asking if they have any chores or errands that they do around the house. Are these chores done for pay or to just help? Do students think that they are doing these things as volunteers? Why or why not?

  2. Divide the students into groups of three to four and have them work on charts entitled, "Caring, Sharing, and Volunteering". Have teams divide their papers into three columns. Write the three headers, "Caring," "Sharing," and "Volunteering" at the top of the columns. Instruct students to illustrate each word using examples from the previous discussion.

  3. Have student teams prepare a list of services that do not require payment. Invite students to compare their charts with the other groups to determine which jobs would receive payment/non payment.

  4. Ask students to interview parents or a caretaker to determine how things were done when they were younger. A list of questions may include:

    • What type of things did you do for others?
    • What kinds of responsibilities did you have?
    • Was your community better because people helped out more?
    • What did others do to help out?
    • How do you think it made the person who was helping feel?
    • Did the people helping expect to be paid?
    • What can children do now to make things better for the community?
  5. Construct an interdependency web to identify people the students depend on and why. Have students name at least three people.

  6. Brainstorm about how life would be different if payment was required for each thing that a family member does as a day-to-day family responsibility.

  7. Allow each student to construct a colorful balloon in a shape that they want and write one word that they feel reflects the answer to "What is Philanthropy?" Display the balloons within the classroom for students to use as a reference point for further activities.

  8. Have students create a story or comic strip on construction paper about volunteering within the family. (It may be similar to the soft sculpture displayed in Tar Beach.)


Students will write one to two paragraphs to explain how this lesson made them feel. Students should use the vocabulary words (family, service, volunteer, philanthropy, community, care, and share in their reflections) from the lesson in their answers.

Scoring Rubric for Reflection Assessment:

1 Point: Shows a response

2 Points: Response uses 2 words from list

3 Points: Response uses 3 words from list

4 Points: Response uses 4 words from list

Cross Curriculum 

After completing this lesson, students will reinforce their concept of service to family and community and will understand the importance of the things they and others do voluntarily.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 06. Role of Family in Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.1 Identify common roles that families play in society.
      2. Benchmark E.2 Identify examples of families supporting giving and sharing.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark E.1 Give examples of philanthropic traditions of diverse cultures.
    2. Standard PCS 03. Philanthropy and Economics
      1. Benchmark E.11 Describe the difference between volunteer and paid labor.
      2. Benchmark E.3 Give examples of <i>opportunity cost</i> in philanthropic giving.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.9 Give examples how people give time, talent or treasure in different cultures.