PrintThree Forty-Five Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • identify situations in which meeting basic needs required attention during the area’s early years.
  • describe a philanthropic act that made an impact on the area’s development.
  • examine the life of a prominent local philanthropist.
  • Paper and pencils
  • Chart paper and markers
  • Books and articles about the settling and establishing of the local area. See Bibliographical References for many resources related to Cleveland.
Home Connection 

Interactive Parent / Student Homework: Ask students to talk with their families about ways they have been philanthropists/volunteers in the community. The students draw a picture illustrating an experience in which their family helped others. Students will share their illustrations with the class the next day.


Cleveland’s Early Leaders Website by Maryalice Johnson and Carole Lechleitner, August 2001. http://www.hb.edu/school/primary/resources/Early-Cleveland/biographies

Haddad, Gladys. A Legacy of Stewardship: Flora Stone Mather. Written and produced by Gladys Haddad for Case Western University, College of Arts and Sciences. 23 min. 1997. Videocassette.

Johnson, Maryalice. Cleveland: From Settlement to City. Shaker Heights: Hathaway Brown School, 1998.

Miller, Carol Poh and Robert Wheeler. Cleveland: A Concise History, 1796-1990. The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History, 2nd Edition, 1997. ISBN: 0253211476

Rose, William Ganson. The Making of a City. Kent State University Press (Reprint Edition), December 1990. ISBN: 0873384288

Van Tassel, David D., et al. Dictionary of Cleveland Biography. Indiana University Press, 1996. ISBN: 0253330556

Van Tassel, David D. and John J. Grabowski. The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History. Indiana University Press. ISBN: 0253313031


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Remind the students that in Lesson One: Meeting Our Daily Needs they learned about how philanthropists act in response to a need. Ask the students to imagine their community before there were houses, schools, parks, libraries, stores and so on. What are the basic needs of a new community? Brainstorm a list of basic needs for a brand-new community.

  2. Tell the students that the area they live in once had many needs—it was unsettled and people needed homes, food, good sources of water, schools, libraries, doctors and so on. When people set up a community, the new members of the community contribute time, talent and treasure to establish a nice place to live. In honor of the contributions they have made, some people’s names are used on libraries, hospitals and other public buildings. Name some of the people that are well known in your community’s history. Discuss what they did and why they did it.

  3. Read aloud to the students about the settling of your area. Talk about the settling of various neighborhoods by ethnic groups, if applicable. Discuss the importance of charity within a community and how immigrants provided assistance in helping one another adjust to a new country.

  4. Guide students as they research and read narrative histories and biographies about prominent members of your community’s history. Student groups choose two people to compare on a Venn diagram. Ask the students to recall details from the reading to fill in the diagram.

  5. Student groups present the information on their diagrams. Ask the students to tell why these individuals acted for the common good.

  6. Challenge the students to think about why acting philanthropically is good for the community. Have them reflect on the actions of people in their own community before they respond in a group discussion.


Students work in small groups. They choose a prominent philanthropist or a neighborhood leader who contributed to your area’s development. The students work together to compose a letter of thanks to that person which includes a description of the person’s contribution and the legacy of that contribution.

Cross Curriculum 

None for this lesson.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.2 Define philanthropy and charity.
      2. Benchmark E.3 Recognize that citizens have a responsibility for the common good as defined by democratic principles.
    2. Standard DP 02. Roles of Government, Business, and Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.1 Give examples of needs met by government, business, civil society, and family.
      2. Benchmark E.2 Explain the difference between wants and needs.
      3. Benchmark E.6 Explain why acting philanthropically is good for the community, state, nation, or world.
    3. Standard DP 04. Operational Characteristics of Nonprofit Organizations
      1. Benchmark E.1 Describe how citizens organize in response to a need.
  2. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.10 Identify reasons why historic figures acted for the common good.
      2. Benchmark E.2 Identify why people practice philanthropy related to their own self-interest.