Charting the Course: Philanthropy Lesson (12th)

9, 10, 11, 12

The learners will define and understand the meaning of the term “philanthropy” and describe the characteristics of a good citizen relative to democracy and to promoting the public/common good.

PrintOne Class Period

The learner will:

  • describe and give examples of character traits representing good citizenship.
  • explain that philanthropy is part of good citizenship, and is often exemplified through acts of kindness intended to promote the common good.
  • Learner copies of Handout :The Top Ten Character Traits of an Awesome Citizen
  • Handout:Top Ten Character Traits of an Awesome Citizen –Self Assessment
  • Teenage Bill of Rights  and Life Just Isn't from Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul
  • Canfield, Jack, Mark Hansen and K. Kirberger.  Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul.  Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications, Inc., 1997. ISBN 1-55874-468
  • Conari Press (Ed.).  Random Acts of Kindness.  Berkeley: Conari Press, 1993.


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    (Prior to class, have the following words listed as column headings, on a display board, or chart paper: Full Life; Personal Freedom; Respect; Generosity; Fairness; Equality; Non-Bias; Honest; Pro-Active/Involved; Patriotic.)

    Read aloud “The Teenagers Bill of Rights” in the book Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul. Ask learners if they can think of any other rights they may have as young citizens. List their answers on the board.

  2. Tell learners that today we are going to discuss the Character Traits of an Awesome Citizen in a democracy. Hand out Handout One: The Top Ten Character Traits of an Awesome Citizen. Ask the learners to look at the first character trait: living life to its fullest, and ask learners to give examples of what that means to them. Assign a learner to capture and record the responses on the display board or chart under the appropriate heading. Continue the same procedure with the remaining nine characteristics.

  3. Read “Life Just Isn’t” from Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul.

  4. With Handout One: Top Ten Character Traits of an Awesome Citizen displayed, ask learners to name the character traits from the list that were evident in “Life Just Isn’t.”

  5. Have the students complete Top Ten Character Traits of an Awesome Citizen –Self Assessment

  6. Put the term philanthropy on the board or overhead. Solicit ideas about its definition. Explain that philanthropy is giving of time, talent and treasure and taking action for the common good. Ask for examples of how they and others can act for the common good. Referring back to the Top Ten Character Traits of an Awesome Citizen, ask the learners which of these traits might apply to and promote philanthropic acts.


Learners are assessed for their involvement in the discussion.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Define philanthropy to include giving and sharing; volunteering; and private individual action intended for the common good. Explain how a volunteer individual/group can act for the common good.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark HS.4 Describe and give examples of characteristics of someone who helps others.
  3. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 03. Providing Service
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Provide a needed service.