Why Should I Do Philanthropy?

3, 4, 5

A lesson to help students consider the benefits when an individual chooses to do philanthropic acts and to engage in critical thinking and constructive conversation regarding opposing views.

Lesson Rating 
PrintTwo or Three Thirty to Forty-Five Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • describe the personal benefits that one may attain from engaging in philanthropy.
  • consider and support opposing viewpoints regarding choices, decision-making, and consequences.
  • Gentle Annie, by Mary Frances Shura (see Bibliographic References).

Prerequisite Knowledge:

  • Students will have finished reading and discussing Gentle Annie, Chapters 1-6.

Shura, Mary Francis. Gentle Annie: The True Story of a Civil War Nurse. Apple paperback, 1997. ISBN: #0590435000.


  1. Anticipatory Set: The teacher and students will re-read a section from Gentle Annie, Chapter 6, page 47, in which Annie declares, "This is something I want to do, something I need to do."

  2. As an entire class or in small cooperative groups, students will generate ideas about the rewards of philanthropy. Give each student an opportunity to share his or her idea.

  3. Students will offer an opinion about a reason for hesitating to engage in philanthropy.


  4. In pairs, students will take the viewpoint of either Annie Etheridge or Sophie Hammer (for volunteering to serve in the army as a nurse/laundress or opposed to volunteering).

    • In pairs, students will take turns trying to "convince" their partner that their point of view is the correct one. (It might be advisable to set time limits for each person to think about their argument, as well as time limits for each one to present and respond.)
    • Selected pairs will present their dialogue to the entire class.
    • Pairs will cooperatively create a T-Chart Of Pros And Cons Of Doing Philanthropy. Pros and cons could be either from the book or from "real life." (The results will be collected by the teacher.)

Examination of T charts. Survey results. Students will be asked to consider a world in which no philanthropy exists. Students may choose from a menu of activities, such as: Write a poem, draw a picture, write a paragraph, take photographs or video of situations which lack philanthropy, make a shoebox-sized diorama, collect pictures and make a collage, etc. Students may also propose their own project (to be approved by the teacher) to meet the requirements of the assessment.

Cross Curriculum 

Students will select a person to interview on the topic of philanthropy and record answers to the following questions: What do you do that is considered philanthropy? Why do you participate in this activity? What are some benefits to the people you help? What are some benefits to you? Provide students with an opportunity to share their findings with the class.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. 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.5 Recognize that volunteering requires freedom of choice.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark E.3 Describe a benefit of group cooperation.
    2. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark E.4 Demonstrate listening skills.
    3. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark E.14 Describe the roles of citizens in government.
    4. Standard PCS 07. Skills of Civic Engagement
      1. Benchmark E.1 Explore and research issues and present solutions using communication tools.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.1 Describe one reason why a person might give or volunteer.
      2. Benchmark E.2 Identify why people practice philanthropy related to their own self-interest.
      3. Benchmark E.6 Make a connection between fundamental democratic principles and philanthropy.