Philanthropist Wall of Fame: Philanthropy Lesson (9th)

9, 10, 11, 12

Learners will identify qualities that exemplify philanthropists and recognize those qualities in a local philanthropist.
Teacher Note: Prior to teaching this lesson, collect stories from the local newspaper about people who have been philanthropic to use as examples with the learners.

Lesson Rating 
PrintOne Class Period with optional extender

The learner will:

  • identify qualities that define a philanthropist.
  • identify a local philanthropist who is contributing to the common good and the qualities that this philanthropist portrays.
  • Large sheets of paper to post on the classroom walls
  • Colored marking pens
  • Handout: Qualities of a Philanthropist Rubric (also Spanish version Handout)
Home Connection 

Optional: Learners will discuss Attachment One: Qualities of a Philanthropist Rubric with their family or other adult and ask for their suggestions in choosing a local philanthropist.


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    The learners draw on past knowledge to have a brainstorming session to develop a list of qualities/characteristics that exemplify philanthropists. First they jot ideas silently, then write them (words or symbols) on chart papers around the room, creating a graffiti wall of ideas. They can put tally marks after someone else's written idea rather than writing something a second time. Time saving alternative: teacher posts some characteristics and non-characteristics of philanthropists from this handout.

  2. Discuss the qualities posted. Facilitate a classroom discussion and cross out qualities that don’t fit the definition. Group those that are similar. Discuss why a person exhibiting these qualities would be a positive influence for the common good of the community.

  3. Come to a class consensus on eight philanthropic characteristics on the chart papers that will help students recognize a philanthropist in their community.

    Teacher Note: Choose to do the following activity with learners in teams of three or as individuals.

  4. Distribute the handout: Qualities of a Philanthropist Rubric (Individuals or teams may need more than one copy of the handout as they decide on a philanthropist about whom to write.)

    Have the learners fill in the eight qualities that the class selected in the appropriate spaces on their rubric handout. Explain that they will be using these identified qualities to choose and report on a local philanthropist.

    To select a philanthropist, the person must meet the criteria on the rubric. The students writes a brief statement of how the philanthropist demonstrates these qualities. These findings will be reported to the entire class.

  5. Optional: For homework, the students discuss with their families who in the community might be a philanthropist (someone who demonstrates at least half of the identified qualities.) Remind the learners that this person does not have to be “famous.” This person can be themselves, a family member, neighbor, peer, youth group leader, or coach.

  6. Optional Day Two

    Using the completed handout as a guide, have learners write a brief summary of a local person’s philanthropic acts in the form of a nominating speech for a “Philanthropist Hall of Fame.”

  7. Ask several or all learners to give their nominating speeches to the class.

  • The qualities brainstormed by the learners.
  • Learner responses about philanthropist’s qualities.
  • The persuasive philanthropist nominating speech.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark HS.4 Describe and give examples of characteristics of someone who helps others.
    2. 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. Standard PCS 07. Skills of Civic Engagement
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Utilize the persuasive power of written or oral communication as an instrument of change in the community, nation or the world.