Where Would We Be?

6, 7, 8

The purpose of this lesson is to have students examine the importance of the philanthropic sector in upholding fundamental values. Students will draw conclusions by examining what our society would be like if the philanthropic sector were suddenly gone.

Lesson Rating 
PrintOne Sixty-Minute Class Period

The learner will:

  • explain the value of selected philanthropic organizations to our society.
  • chart life in a society with and without philanthropic organizations.
  • Short clip from a recommended movie (see suggestions under the Anticipatory Set of Instructional Procedures)
  • Chart paper or poster board
  • Posters from Lesson Three: Philanthropy and the CDVs
  • Scoring Guide for Reflection/Position Writing (Handout One) Spanish version (Handout Two)
Home Connection 

Assign students the task of interviewing their parents or guardian about their own and their families' involvement in the philanthropic sector. Students will compile a list of activities and organizations from the interview to share with the class the following day.


  1. Anticipatory Set: Begin class by showing a video clip from a movie that illustrates what goes wrong in the absence of Core Democratic Values. Some suggested titles could be: "Schindler's List," "The Matrix," "Water World," "Dances with Wolves," "Star Wars," "To Kill A Mockingbird," "Aladdin" and "The Hunchback of Notre Dame." (Note: These titles are examples and are not intended to be inclusive. Teachers should feel free to use any film that will serve the purpose for this lesson.)

  2. Discuss the movie clip with the students. Ask them to identify the Core Democratic Value that is being violated or is absent in the movie clip.

  3. Have students look at the posters they created in the previous lesson. Ask the question: "If your organization did not exist, how would the Core Democratic Values be met? Would they be met at all?" Discuss. Using the list of Core Democratic Values that was compiled in Lesson Three: Philanthropy and the CDVs, ask the class to determine what the effects would be if all of the philanthropic groups ceased to exist.

  4. As a class, create a T-graph that illustrates American society with and without the philanthropic sector. The information should reflect the absence or reduction of the Core Democratic Values.

  5. Students should write a reflection on the importance of the third sector in upholding and perpetuating the Core Democratic Values in American society. Students will be expected to cite three to five examples for illustration.

  6. Ask students to brainstorm a list of questions to use in an interview with parents/guardians or other family members. (See School/Home Connection.)


Students will be assessed on their reflection piece. Scoring Guide for Reflection/Position Writing (Handout One) may be used to guide students' writing.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.6 Identify and explain how fundamental democratic principles relate to philanthropic activities.