New Philanthropists (The): Philanthropy Unit (10th)

9, 10, 11, 12

Learners will analyze the “new philanthropists,” who they are, what they give, to whom they give, their personal qualities, and how they hold people and organizations accountable for their philanthropic efforts. They will consider different causes and issues which they might support.

Lesson Rating 
PrintOne Class Period with optional extenders

The learner will:

  • identify three personal qualities that most new philanthropists possess.
  • describe the philanthropic endeavors of the new-style philanthropists and relate these endeavors to community.
  • list three ways new philanthropists might hold people accountable for their philanthropic contributions.
  • express his/her own personal choice of philanthropic activity and explain how it might promote the fundamental democratic principle of common good.

Greenfield, Karl Taro.  “A New Way of Giving.”  Time Magazine, July 24, 2000, 49-51.


  1. Anticipatory Set: Write the term “new philanthropist” on the board. Tell the students that many contemporary celebrities (for example LeBron James and Justin Timberlake) and others from a younger generation are philanthropists. These are sometimes called the “new" or "next gen philanthropists.” Have the learners brainstorm examples of philanthropists with whom they are familiar, and share what they know about the person’s philanthropy.  Look to the Stars has a good search engine for such information.

  2. Review at least three personal qualities that most philanthropists possess and how these qualities might impact what a philanthropist does.

  3. Qucikly review and post key findings from the #NextGenDonors report and discuss how young philanthropists are reshaping giving.

  4. Emphasize that accountability is very important to the new generation of philanthropists and engage them in a discussion as to how these new philanthropists might hold their organizations accountable for effectively addressing their mission. (See Handout Four)

  5. Optional Extension:

    Assign students to read about a philanthropist from the Learning to Give White Papers found under Teach at the top of the Learnign to Give website. (Search under People)

  6. Optional Day Two:

    Remind the students that on the previous day they learned about “next gen philanthropists.” Tell them that today they will have an opportunity to imagine that they are a “next gen philanthropist.”

  7. Assign the simulation that follows. (Students may do this individually or in pairs. If they work in pairs, they must come to a consensus.) Explain to the learners that they are now instant millionaires. Their worth is 100 million dollars each. Pose the questions: Imagine you were worth 100 million dollars and you had to give at least one-half of your wealth to a philanthropic organization or foundation that addresses a cause or issue that you think is vitally important. To whom would you give it and why, and how would you hold the organization accountable for your donation?

  8. To complete this task, use Handout Three: Non-Profit Organizations and Foundations as a learner resource. The learners must choose to donate their money to ONE of these Non-Profit Organizations and Foundations and write at least a one-page answer to the question posed above. Use the remainder of the lesson time to have learners share a summary of their choices.

  9. After the students have an opportunity to share. Ask them to remember the definition of philanthropy – giving of time, talent or treasure and taking action for the common good. Discuss with them whether or not a philanthropist must be someone who has a great deal of treasure (money). Have them consider if they have resources of time and talent to address the issue or cause they wrote about. Challenge the students to complete their writing by adding a paragraph about what they could do.


Learner involvement in discussion and their essays will be used to determine the depth of their understanding and reflection.

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. Benchmark HS.2 Identify and discuss examples of philanthropy and charity in modern culture.
    2. Standard DP 06. Role of Family in Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark HS.3 Identify how subgroups and families in society demonstrate giving, volunteering, and civic involvement.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 03. Philanthropy and Economics
      1. Benchmark HS.4 Give examples of how civil society sector giving by individuals and corporations can impact communities.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Define and give examples of motivations for giving and serving.