Philanthropy News

3, 4, 5

Students have been looking for acts of philanthropy in the newspaper and in literature. In this lesson, they focus on finding (and performing) acts of philanthropy in the school and local community. They write newspaper-style articles about the acts of philanthropy that they observe or perform. They compile a newsletter that highlights good things going on in the community and when distributed to the entire school, teaching others about philanthropy.

Lesson Rating 
PrintTwo Forty-Five Minute Class Periods (Plus time for producing the newsletter)
The learner will:
  • define philanthropy as sharing or giving time, talent or treasure for the common good.
  • define the communities to which they belong and recognize that the concept of community is based on people coming together for the common good.
  • seek out acts of philanthropy.
  • write news stories about the acts of philanthropy he/she observes or performs.
  • publish the stories in a newsletter that will be distributed to all the classrooms.
  • Helping Out by George Ancona: a picture book with photographs of children helping adults with many different types of work
  • Writing materials for drafting and publishing articles
  • Chart paper and markers (one color per group)
  • Ancona, George. Helping Out. Clarion Books, 1990. ISBN: 0395547741

  • Leedy, Loreen. The Furry News: How to Make a Newspaper. Holiday House, 1993. ISBN: 0823410269


  1. Day One:Anticipatory Set:Read the book Helping Out by George Ancona, showing students the photos of children helping with different types of work. After reading, engage the students in a dialogue about helping. Do they like to help and why? What does the helper get out of the experience? Why is helping good for everyone? Guide the students to recognize that they can provide valuable help to others by sharing (or giving) their time, their talent or a "treasure" of their own. Review the definition of philanthropy.

  2. The reading and discussion should generate enthusiasm for recognizing acts of philanthropy all around them. Brainstorm a list of things already happening in the school and community as well as kind acts by the individual students. Save this list.
  3. Divide the students into groups of three or four students and give each group a piece of chart paper and a marker. Each group should have a different color of marker. Challenge the groups to come up with and write a definition of "community." (Example: A community is the degree that people come together for the common good.) Give the groups enough time to write a definition on the chart paper. The groups rotate to each chart and add ideas to the other definitions using their unique colors of markers. Hang all of the charts in the front of the room, read all of the definitions, and come up with a single definition for the class.
  4. Help the students recognize the many communities to which they belong. For example, the classroom is a community because they come together regularly with a common goal and they work for the good of all the members.
  5. Day Two

  6. Bring out the brainstormed list of philanthropic acts from Day One. Tell the students that they are going to publish a newsletter about philanthropy. The goal of the newsletter is to teach other students in the school about philanthropy and its value to everyone in the community. Tell them how it will be published (on paper or by e-mail). Brainstorm and decide on a name for the newsletter.
  7. Just as the students wrote articles about philanthropic acts from literature in Lesson Two: Turning Literature into News, for this project they will be writing articles about philanthropic acts around them
  8. Let the students choose the topics of the articles they wish to write for the newsletter. Several students should observe, interview and write about examples (big and small) of philanthropic acts around school and the community (including their own acts). Some students may write articles defining philanthropy or telling why it is good for the community. Some students may choose to write editorials, comics or want-ads related to philanthropy.
  9. Optional: You may choose to visit a local retirement home or a volunteer organization to interview people in the community about their acts of philanthropy.
  10. Writing, editing and publishing the newsletter may take several days. Guide students through the revising/conferencing stage to give constructive feedback to each other. Emphasize that the articles should contain the elements of a news story format. This is a team effort to make the newsletter interesting to a wider audience. Student dialogue to improve writing is important to create a newsletter they can all be proud of.
  11. If it is successful, this may become a monthly newsletter for your students. Follow the suggestions from the Loreen Leedy book, The Furry News: How to Make a Newspaper, you read aloud in Lesson One: What’s the News?
Assess student participation in the newsletter production. Assess student writing as well as teamwork on this project.
Cross Curriculum 
Students publish a newsletter and distribute it to the entire school in print form or by e-mail. The goal of the newsletter is to teach other students about the role of philanthropy in building and strengthening communities. The students write articles about acts of philanthropy observed in the school and local community. Other articles may include definitions of philanthropy, the importance of philanthropy and idea sharing.

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. Benchmark E.3 Recognize that citizens have a responsibility for the common good as defined by democratic principles.
    2. Standard DP 02. Roles of Government, Business, and Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.6 Explain why acting philanthropically is good for the community, state, nation, or world.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark E.4 Describe the characteristics of someone who helps others.
      2. Benchmark E.5 Identify one local citizen who has helped the community through giving and/or service.
    2. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark E.1 Define community as the degree that people come together for the common good.
      2. Benchmark E.7 Describe why the classroom, school, or neighborhood is a community governed by fundamental democratic principles.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.4 Give an example of how citizens act for the common good.
  4. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 03. Providing Service
      1. Benchmark E.1 Provide a needed service.