Photo of Philanthropy (A)

3, 4, 5

Students define philanthropy as givng time, talent or treasure and taking action for the common good. They identify philanthropy in a read-aloud story and the regional news.

Lesson Rating 
PrintOne Thirty-Minute Class Period

The learner will:

  • define philanthropy.
  • identify philanthropy in written accounts.
  • Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
  • online news source to access at home, especially a local news site
Home Connection 

Find and print a recent news article (with photo) about someone volunteering or taking civic action. For example, students speaking up about injustice or teams cleaning up river pollution. Write a sentence telling what the philanthropy/volunteerism is and the need it addresses. Option: Require students tell a family member about the article and have their homework signed. 


Display in a hall display the printed articles with photos and the student sentences. Each student writes a title for their article/sentence that captures the philanthropy theme of the article.


Cooney, Barbara. Miss Rumphius. New York: Puffin Books, 1985.


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Teach the word philanthropy to the students by asking them to tell about when they or someone they know did one of the following:

    • gave money to a charity or a faith-based organization
    • volunteered to do something helpful with their time or skills without expecting payment 
    • spoke up for a problem in the community that they would like to see solved

    Define philanthropy as "giving time, talent, or treasure, and taking action for the good of the community." 

  2. Brainstorm and discuss in detail the meaning of common good. Common good is a noun that means the best interest of the community. This involves individual citizens having the commitment and motivation to promote the welfare of the community (even if they must sacrifice their own time, personal preferences or money) to work together with other members for the greater benefit of all.

    Often nonprofit organizations work for the common good. Because they have a purpose that helps the larger community (and relieves the burden of the government), they receive tax benefits.

  3. Nonprofit organizations are like businesses that do work for the common good. A nonprofit, like Habitat for Humanity, does its work for a mission that benefits the community, not for the profit of the owners. Because it is doing work that helps everybody, a nonprofit gets to pay fewer taxes. 

    Look on the internet to identify some (especially local) nonprofits and talk about their mission or purpose. 

  4. Read aloud the book Miss Rumphius. Discuss how her act of doing something to make the world more beautiful was an act of philanthropy for the common good.


The homework assignment may serve as a demonstration of understanding of the concept of philanthropy. 

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.1 Define philanthropy as the giving and sharing of time, talent, or treasure intended for the common good.
    2. Standard DP 03. Names and Types of Organizations within the Civil Society Sector
      1. Benchmark E.1 Name and recognize the civil society sector as a separate part of the community.
      2. Benchmark E.2 Name an example of a civil society charitable organization.
    3. Standard DP 06. Role of Family in Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.2 Identify examples of families supporting giving and sharing.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 07. Skills of Civic Engagement
      1. Benchmark E.1 Explore and research issues and present solutions using communication tools.