Philanthropy Profiler

6, 7, 8

Students will read information and determine whether or not Charles Loring Brace was indeed a philanthropist. After they have "profiled" Brace, they will write a paragraph about the characteristics of a philanthropist using Charles Loring Brace as an example.

Lesson Rating 
PrintOne Fifty-Five Minute Class Period

The learner will:

  • describe the characteristics of someone who helps the community.
  • The reading: "A History of the Orphan Trains" by Connie Di Pasquale from the Web site:
  • Online article about Charles Loring Brace sample:
Home Connection 

Interactive Parent / Student Homework: Students could discuss local philanthropists with parents and bring back a list of local philanthropists.


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Write the word "philanthropist" on the board. Ask students to define the term.

  2. Assign students the job of "Philanthropy Profiler." Explain that it will be their job to determine whether or not Charles Loring Brace, founder of the Orphan Train, was a philanthropist. Remember that a philanthropist gives his/her time, treasure or talent to benefit the common good. Ask what are four things students must know about Brace to determine whether or not he fits the profile of a philanthropist. Tell students to write these four criteria on paper. Discuss responses.

  3. Tell students, "Now that you have completed your list, here is more data you will need to profile Brace." Hand out the reading, "A History of the Orphan Trains." Allow 10-15 minutes to read the article silently.

  4. After reading the article, match students with a partner to fill out their profile sheets on Brace. They should determine whether or not Brace fits the criteria to be a philanthropist. When students have finished, let them report their findings to the class. Identify and explain how core democratic values relate to philanthropic activities.

  5. During the last ten minutes of the hour, have students finish a paragraph that begins, "I would (would not) profile Charles Loring Brace as a philanthropist because…" The paragraph should include: (1) part of the definition of philanthropy and (2) supporting details which describe the characteristics of someone who helps the community.


Oral discussion

The writing assignment that describes the characteristics of someone who helps the community using Charles Loring Brace as an example

Cross Curriculum 

The students may research local philanthropists and make a scrapbook to be donated to the school library, a local civic organization, or a local library. They could also invite these local philanthropists to a celebration luncheon to honor their contributions.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark MS.4 Describe the characteristics of someone who helps others.
  2. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.6 Identify and explain how fundamental democratic principles relate to philanthropic activities.