Global Issues

9, 10, 11, 12

Students read an old quote about the interconnection of all life on the planet and recognize that we are each affected by what happens to others and the environment. They will analyze current local, state, national and international issues addressed in the evening news. They become aware of the work of the U.N. Global Sustainable Development Goals and of foundations that give funds to improve the conditions of life. Students reflect on something they can do to make a difference.

PrintOne Fifty-Minute Class Period

The learners will:

  • analyze language from a 500-year-old quotation.
  • describe the interconnection of all life.
  • objectively watch the news to evaluate what issues are covered.
  • summarize the work of the Sustainable Development Goals as an international attempt to address global issues.
  • define the work of foundations that seek to improve conditions.

homework handout: student copies of Surveying the News for Current Issues 

Home Connection 
Watch or listen to the news for 30 minutes and fill in the handout Surveying the News for Current Issues and write what issues are addressed by news stories.
In advance, brainstorm some of the “topics or issues” that may be covered in the stories: health, politics, conflict and/or cooperation, environmental impact, education, poverty, community building, religion, population growth, resource use, pollution, human rights, cultural change, urbanization, global communication, economic development, international trade.
Upon returning to school, discuss which issues were raised and what solutions they heard enacted or proposed in the news stories. 


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Write the term “isolation” on the board. Have students quickly brainstorm words or phrases that define what it means for a person to be in isolation, away from others, as in the COVID-19 quarantine. Discuss: When people are in isolation, how do they find ways to connect to others?

  2. Share this quote of John Donne’s for students to read carefully and discuss:

    “ No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were. Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

    from Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions, 1624

  3. Go over each line, clarifying vocabulary and identifying the author’s point of view. (“No man is an island…” Donne suggests that no man can exist by himself. He states that we are all interconnected, and someone else’s loss is a loss of our own. Someone else’s death is a death of our own. Each time the bell rings, mankind loses. “…never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” It is a reminder of our own mortality and the interconnection of life.)

  4. Discuss whether most people in the United States and world would agree or disagree with John Donne’s quotation. Ask for examples from everyday life or from history where people act with recognition of the fact that we are interconnected. (The aftermath of September 11, 2001, the war in Iraq, and the quarantine of COVID-19 are filled with examples.)

    This is acting for the common good.

  5. Introduce the Sustainable Development Goals, which are 17 goals established by the United Nations with a goal to address the major issues in the world through global efforts over 15 years. This page for youth gives a nice overview of how young people are engaged with the SDGs []. Discuss how this is an effort focused on our interconnectedness and the common good.

  6. Tell the students that nonprofit organizations and foundations are formed with a mission to address issues identified here. Define a nonprofit as “an organization that provides a benefit for the common good or a group of persons in society. Its money is not to be used for the benefit or private gain of its stockholders, directors, or any other persons with an interest in the company.” Examples include museums, environmental organizations, labor unions, foundations, not-for-profit hospitals and health clinics, private colleges and universities, relief organizations, and churches. Sample nonprofit organizations include St. Jude Children’s Hospital, American Red Cross, Girl Scouts of the U.S.A., W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Ohio State University, Chicago Art Institute, Planned Parenthood, Catholic Relief Services, and the Audubon Society.

  7. Assign homework: Students listen to the news objectively for what issues are covered. They write down the issues and align them with the Sustainable Development Goals and foundations and nonprofits that address the issues identified in the Sustainable Development Goals. They may record their findings on the handout. Guidestar is an online directory. Students may also Google nonprofits by cause.


Write a two or three-paragraph essay explaining how foundations help to bring peace and prosperity to the world. Use examples of nonprofits and foundations whose work addresses the issues in the SDGs. Include a statement about one thing you can do to make a difference.

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.
    2. Standard DP 03. Names and Types of Organizations within the Civil Society Sector
      1. Benchmark HS.2 Provide an example of an organization (or a service that it contributes) from a list of categories of civil society organizations.
    3. Standard DP 05. Role of Foundations
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Define the term foundation and describe the types of foundations.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 03. Philanthropy and Economics
      1. Benchmark HS.13 Give examples of how philanthropy has reallocated limited resources through giving and citizen action.
      2. Benchmark HS.4 Give examples of how civil society sector giving by individuals and corporations can impact communities.
    2. Standard PCS 04. Philanthropy and Geography
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Identify international civil society sector organizations and map their locations.
      2. Benchmark HS.2 Identify and describe how civil society sector organizations help people nationally and internationally.
      3. Benchmark HS.3 Identify and describe civil society sector organizations whose purpose is associated with issues relating to "human characteristics of place" nationally and internationally.
    3. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark HS.8 Explain how a robust civil-society sector supports civil society.