Global Issues

9, 10, 11, 12

Students will analyze their interconnection of all life on the planet and recognize that we are each affected by what happens to others. They will look at current local, state, national and international problems shown in the evening news. The work of foundations that give funds to improve the conditions of life in other world communities will be researched.

PrintThree Fifty-Minute Class Periods

The learners will:

  • describe the interconnection of all life.
  • survey local news media to determine what problems are affecting the community and nation.
  • research the work of foundations that seek to improve conditions in other countries.
  • evaluate the importance of nonprofit organizations in achieving peace and prosperity.
  • Student copies of Surveying the Issues (Handout One) (Spanish version Handout Five)
  • Overhead of Surveying the Issues Tally Sheet (Handout Two)
  • World map
  • 3” x 3” sticky notes, several pads
  • International Grants and Funders Worksheet (Handout Three)
  • International Grants and Funders (Attachment Four)
  • Internet access
Home Connection 

Attachment One: Global Issues

  • · Donne, John, Andrew Motion, Izaak Walton. Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions and Death’s Duel. New York: Vintage Books, 1999. ISBN: 037570548


  1. Anticipatory Set:Put the term “loner” on the board. Have students quickly brainstorm words or phrases that define a loner or represent how a loner feels or acts.

  2. Project John Donne’s famous quotation on an overhead:

    “ 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

    • 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.)
    • Ask the learners to estimate whether most people in the United States would agree or disagree with John Donne’s quotation. Solicit 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 and the war in Iraq are filled with examples.)
    • Distribute student copies of Surveying the Issues (Attachment One). Explain that for homework students will view or listen to a half-hour or hour news program, or read a newspaper, and complete a survey of problems addressed by each news story (minus sports and weather). Students are to record the story, indicate whether it is local, state, national or international in focus, and categorize what type of problem is being addressed. To better prepare students for completing the survey, have students brainstorm a list of general “topics or issues” that may be covered in the stories. (conflict and/or cooperation, environmental impact, education, conservation, hunger, health, community building, religion, population growth, resource use, pollution, human rights, cultural change, urbanization, global communication, economic development, international trade) Make sure students understand these broad terms.
    • Day Two: Project Surveying the Issues Tally Sheet (Attachment Two). Tally the stories from the previous evening’s assignment. (Make sure stories are not counted twice by having the students announce the channel/station and time of the broadcast before listing their story.) Go over the final list and note the issues which were represented the most in the previous evening’s news broadcasts. Are there other areas which did not show up as significant which reflect students’ concerns over the planet?
    • For the stories that were reported in the assignment, did any of them include examples of how solutions were being sought or attempted for the problems? If so, go over the solutions which were being tried. Go over some of the other stories and ask students to guess what it would take to solve some of those problems. Which sectors of society do students’ guesses involve as possible answers to the problem (family, government, business, nonprofit organizations, volunteers)? Explain that there is not always an easy answer to solving some of the problems that communities and nations face, and sometimes there is not just one answer to solving problems. Often several different attempts are necessary to solve problems.
    • Explain that the class will look at nonprofit organizations which attempt to solve some of these problems. Define a nonprofit as “an organization that tries to provide 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.” Ask students for examples of nonprofits. (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: Yale University, 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.
    • The specific type of nonprofit that the class will look at during this lesson is a foundation. A foundation is a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization with its own funds, managed by its own trustees and directors. It supports charitable, educational, religious or other activities serving the common good, primarily by giving grants of money to other nonprofit organizations to do their work. Simply put, a foundation is a fund of nongovernmental money established for charitable purposes. Go over the idea of common good, which means that society/everybody is helped.
    • Divide the class into small teams. Distribute International Grants and Funders Worksheet (Attachment Three) and several self-stick notes to each student. Have students refer to the Web site: . Explain that this site lists foundations and other groups which provide international help to communities experiencing problems. Many of them also provide money to solve problems in the United States as well, but this lesson will focus on foundations that give money or assistance to communities in other countries. (Teacher Note: International Grants and Funders [Attachment Four] is provided as a teacher resource to highlight foundations on this Web site that clearly provide international help.) Assign a few sites to each team and have each team locate its foundations, fill in the chart with the appropriate information and fill in a self-stick note with the name of the foundation and the location where it is providing help. Sometimes it will be an entire country, but most of the time it will be a city. Each time a self-stick note is completed, one of the members of the team should place it on its location on a world map located in the classroom.
    • Day Three: When all the teams have completed their research, have them report on their foundations and the projects they are funding. The work of each foundation should be described in a minute or less. Discuss whether the work of these foundations can really “make a difference” in people’s lives. Why are these foundations spending some of their limited resources on other countries rather than focusing on the United States?
    • Put the following quote by Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations, on the board:

      “ The United Nations once dealt only with governments. By now we know that peace and prosperity cannot be achieved without partnerships involving governments, international organizations, the business community and civil society. In today’s world, we depend on each other.”

  3. Explain that nonprofit organizations and volunteers are part of civil society. Ask students to write a paragraph explaining what Mr. Annan meant by his statement.

  4. Write one or two additional paragraphs explaining how foundations help to bring peace and prosperity to the world. Use examples from the research activity on international funders.


The two or three-paragraph essay may be used as an assessment of learning.

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.