New Philanthropists (The)

9, 10, 11, 12

Learners will analyze the new philanthropists, who they are, what they give, who they give to, their personal qualities, and how they hold people and organizations accountable for their philanthropic efforts.

Lesson Rating 
PrintOne Fifty-Five Minute Class Period

The learner will:

  • describe the philanthropic endeavors of the new-style philanthropists.
  • defend their personal choice of philanthropic behavior.
  • list three ways new philanthropists hold people accountable for their philanthropic efforts.
  • distinguish three personal qualities that most new philanthropists possess.
  • Notecards
  • Link to The top 50 Philanthropists of the year published by the Chronicle of Philanthropy
  • Non-Profit Organizations and Foundations (handout)

"The New Philanthropists: More Sophisticated, More Demanding, and Younger" Wharton University of Pennsylvania, 2013.


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Write the term "new philanthropist" on the board. Have the learners write down examples of current philanthropists with whom they are familiar, and explain what they give. Talk about how philanthropists today might differ from the philanthropists of 100 years ago (Carnegie, Rockefeller). Philanthropists today are younger and are giving in more innovative and diverse ways ... and expecting more data and more opportunities for participation.

  2. View some current young philanthropists online. Here is an example:

    Discuss and define philanthropists. Ask students to name at least three personal qualities they think philanthropists possess. Discuss why these traits are associated with philanthropists.

    What are some of the issues and needs philanthropists address? Why do they give?

  3. Tell the students that when philanthropists give money to a nonprofit to address a need, they hold them accountable for being responsible with the donations they received. They hold them accountable to do what they say they will do. That accounting tells us the quality of their work. 

    When you donate used clothes to a Goodwill store, you might ask who will benefit from your donation. A nonprofit or philanthropist may count the number of scholarships given out when they donate money to a college. A foundation many ask how many children receive vaccinations when they donate to an international vaccination program. Nonprofits that serve meals to families will tally the number of meals that are served. A philanthropists wants to know what percentage of their dollars is spent on education and how many students are benefited when they donate to a teen pregnancy prevention program.

  4. Have the students research the top philanthropists of the past year (Chronicle of Philanthropy). Tell them to write ten of philanthropists' names and what they donated in the past year (cause and amount). Tell them to choose ten with a variety of issues and solutions. 

  5. Tell the students to imagine that their financial worth is 100 million dollars each. Pose the questions:

    • If you were worth 100 million dollars and you had to give at least one million dollars to a nonprofit organization or toward an issue, what issue or organization would get your money and why?
    • How would you hold the organization accountable for your donation?

    Refer to Non-Profit Organizations and Foundations (handout) as a list of nonprofits to get students started thinking. 

  6. Students write a one-page paper telling how they will spend their one million dollars (or more) for a philanthropic cause. They name at least three unique qualities of their selected organization and describe the imagined outcome or impact. Have them include whether they have a choice about being philanthropic with a part of their 100 million dollars. Is there anything they would choose to donate in addition to money.

  7. Allow time during class to discuss what the students choose to do with their philanthropy. 


The student papers will show their understanding of philanthropists and their own motivations for giving. 

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark HS.2 Identify and discuss examples of philanthropy and charity in modern culture.