Unit Overview 

Students explore the stories, events, personalities, and motivations that create a culture of philanthropy. Using a video as a model, students learn about the philanthropists, unique features, and needs of their own community and create documentaries. Although it was written about West Michigan, this unit is easily adapted to any community, urban or rural.

Service Experience 
Students learn about the people and places and needs in their community (school, city or town, or state). They interview local philanthropists (can be someone from their neighborhood, family, or faith-based organization) and create a documentary about their own community. The documentary is an act of philanthropy because it teaches others about philanthropy and becomes a gift to the community as it is donated to the school library, public library, local community foundation, or other venue of students' choice.
Lessons in This Unit 
Unit: 
Lights! Camera! Take Action!
Lesson 1 of 4
Grades: 
9
10
11
12

Students view and discuss the DVD The Gift of All: a Community of Givers and identify the influences and attributes of the generous people interviewed. Students read, summarize, and report on short biographies of philanthropists. Students write journal reflections and create a four-slide presentation with software such as PowerPoint or Keynote.

 

Unit: 
Lights! Camera! Take Action!
Lesson 2 of 4
Grades: 
9
10
11
12

In this lesson, students learn about the four sectors of the economy and learn that the civil society sector often steps in when business and government do not or cannot meet a felt need. Students observe the second half of the documentary The Gift of All and write about the issues in West Michigan and motivations of the philanthropists who made a major difference in the area. Students also write a personal mission statement.

Unit: 
Lights! Camera! Take Action!
Lesson 3 of 4
Grades: 
9
10
11
12

The purpose of this lesson is for students to plan and develop a video documentary. Modeling their documentary after the West Michigan documentary The Gift of All, students create a multi-media story of their community and local philanthropy. Creating and sharing the documentary is an act of philanthropy as they teach and inspire others about philanthropy in the community.