Quarters From Kids-Power, Generosity and Leadership! (6-12)

9, 10, 11, 12

Learners research an issue, such as needs caused by a weather-related disaster. They cite examples of aid and assistance provided in a world-wide effort to help affected populations. They participate in a fundraising campaign and learn about organizations to which they will contribute their funds.

Focus Question: How can we use our time and talent to raise treasure to address a need?

Lesson Rating 
PrintDependent on Individual Teacher Preference

The learner will:

  • cite historic examples of successful fundraising campaigns that provided for the common good.
  • define philanthropy and give examples of motivations for giving.
  • research the mission and work of various nonprofit organizations and form a group and individual focus for future philanthropy.
  • describe the innumerable problems that a devastating event can cause for a region and illustrate the work of national and international nonprofits providing aid there.
  • reflect on the importance of philanthropy.

Center for Civic Education. Civitas: a Framework for Civic Education. The Civitas project is a collaborative project of the Center for Civic Education and the Council for the Advancement of Citizenship with support from The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Harper, Ben. With My Own Two Hands. Audio CD, Label: Phantom. Taken from the 2003 album "Diamonds on the Inside." ASIN: B00008CMQP. 


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Play a YouTube or other version of Ben Harper's song, "With My Own Two Hands." Discuss the lyrics and ask learners to give examples of ways each of us has the power to make a difference in big and small ways.

  2. Tell the students that when there is a disaster or national crisis, even the smallest or youngest members of society are able to contribute in ways that make an impact.

    • In 2004, former Presidents Bush and Clintonled a joint effort across partisan lines to raise private donations for victims of the devastating Indian Ocean tsunamis. Part of the effort was a Quarters From Kids Campaign to give young people the opportunity to use their power, generosity, and leadership to help those affected by raising money, quarter by quarter.
    • President Franklin D. Roosevelt mobilized the country’s efforts to defeat polio with the March of Dimes. Although it was a small amount of money to ask for, the devastating threat of polio was ended by the Salk vaccine. Its research was funded by the March of Dimes.
    • The Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF program, in which children carry orange boxes on Halloween collecting money to improve the lives of children in developing countries, has been a tradition for over 50 years. Millions of dollars are raised annually. This program instills the spirit of giving and educates children about how they can make a difference in the lives of children around the world.
  3. Ask the learners how a small change fundraiser could be established in their class/school.

    • Discuss what steps would be necessary to ensure participation by the entire student body.
    • Create a school-wide series of posters or a theme song that would attract the attention of as many potential philanthropists as possible.
    • Write a letter for the school paper or tape an interview for the local cable station about the fundraiserand the efforts of the relief agency your school decides to support.
    • Discuss what school group should take major responsibility for organizing the drive. Should there be a challenge goal?
  4. Whenever problems arise, Americans are known to be philanthropic. This means that they voluntarily give of their time, talent or funds, and take private citizen action to support causes that are important to them. Americans give a number of reasons for their community, civic, and voluntary involvement (from Civitas*, pp. 74-78. See Bibliographic References):

    • They believe that people should contribute to address needs of others.
    • They get personal satisfaction from voluntary action.
    • They see voluntary involvement as a way to express religious beliefs and values.
    • They appreciate the opportunity to give back to society some of the benefits they have received.
    • They see voluntary action as a way to serve as examples and role models.
  5. Which of these motivations would be strengthened by participating in the small-change fundraiser at school? Could participation in this campaign lead to further philanthropic activities?

  6. Give students parameters to research different issues and nonprofits for which they can do fundraising.

    • The Learning to Give Disaster Relief resource page includes nonprofits working to address global issues. [http://www.learningtogive.org/resources/disaster-preparation-and-response]
    • View Watsi.org or Heifer.org to explore ways to support global health and empowerment.
    • The research should include a nonprofit's purpose, mission statement, objectives and accomplishments. Use handout: Conducting Research as a guide.
    • Use each organization’s own Website or go to http://www.Guidestar.org as the source of information.

    (Note: GuideStar is a searchable database of more than 640,000 nonprofit organizations in the United States. Most of these organizations have a detailed GuideStar Report. Each page of the report looks at one aspect of the organization: mission and programs, goals and results, finances, and leadership. Its goal is to promote philanthropy by providing information that will help donors, institutional funders, and charities become more informed, effective, and efficient.)

  7. Student voice is very important in making the decision of where to donate funds. The choice of organization can be made by voting or by consensus. The learners may decide on one organization to receive the donations, or to give a percentage of the donations to several organizations.

  8. Have the learners reflect on the issues that have been brought to their attention as a result of this disaster. Distribute Reflection Rubric (handout). Thinking about the fundraiser that was conducted in your class/school, ask the learners to write an essay/poem/song that encompasses the ideas of personal involvement for the common good. 

Cross Curriculum 

The learners collect quarters and other change to donate in support of victims of a current disaster. They will choose a relief organization(s) to contribute it to and advocate in their families, school, and community peer groups for contributions to the fundraiser.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Define philanthropy as individuals and organizations providing their time, talent, and/or treasures intended for the common good throughout history and around the world. Give examples.
      2. Benchmark HS.1 Define philanthropy to include giving and sharing; volunteering; and private individual action intended for the common good. Explain how a volunteer individual/group can act for the common good.
      3. Benchmark HS.2 Identify and discuss examples of philanthropy and charity in modern culture.
      4. Benchmark MS.4 Give examples of how individuals have helped others.
      5. Benchmark MS.5 Identify the business, government, family, and civil society sectors.
    2. Standard DP 02. Roles of Government, Business, and Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Describe how different needs are met in different ways by government, business, civil society, and family.
      2. Benchmark HS.1 Explain why needs are met in different ways by government, business, civil society and family.
      3. Benchmark MS.6 Identify significant contributions to society that come from the civil society sector.
    3. Standard DP 04. Operational Characteristics of Nonprofit Organizations
      1. Benchmark MS.1 State the purpose of a mission statement and describe how civil society organization mission statements relate to philanthropy.
    4. Standard DP 06. Role of Family in Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Identify how families contribute to the socialization of children.
      2. Benchmark HS.2 Compare and discuss the interaction of families, business, government, and the civil society sector in a democratic society.
      3. Benchmark HS.3 Identify how subgroups and families in society demonstrate giving, volunteering, and civic involvement.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark MS.3 Give an example of how philanthropy can transcend cultures.
    2. Standard PCS 03. Philanthropy and Economics
      1. Benchmark MS.13 Describe how philanthropy can reallocate limited resources to meet human needs.
      2. Benchmark HS.13 Give examples of how philanthropy has reallocated limited resources through giving and citizen action.
      3. Benchmark HS.4 Give examples of how civil society sector giving by individuals and corporations can impact communities.
      4. Benchmark HS.7 Explain why the civil society sector rather than the government or private sectors address particular economic areas.
    3. 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.
    4. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark HS.7 Examine the role of a country as a member of various international communities.
    5. Standard PCS 07. Skills of Civic Engagement
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Identify and research public or social issues in the community, nation or the world related to the common good. Form an opinion, and develop and present a persuasive argument using communication tools.
      2. Benchmark MS.2 Discuss a public policy issue affecting the common good and demonstrate respect and courtesy for differing opinions.
      3. Benchmark MS.3 Participate in acts of democratic citizenship in the classroom or school, such as voting, group problem solving, classroom governance or elections.
      4. Benchmark MS.4 Analyze information to differentiate fact from opinion based on the investigation of issues related to the common good.
      5. Benchmark HS.1 Utilize the persuasive power of written or oral communication as an instrument of change in the community, nation or the world.
      6. Benchmark HS.3 Participate in acts of democratic citizenship in the community, state or nation, such as petitioning authority, advocating, voting, group problem solving, mock trials or classroom governance and elections.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Define and give examples of the motivations for giving and serving.
      2. Benchmark HS.1 Define and give examples of motivations for giving and serving.
      3. Benchmark MS.5 Describe the responsibility students have to act in the civil society sector to improve the common good.
  4. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 02. Service and Learning
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Select a service project based on interests, abilities and research.
      2. Benchmark HS.1 Select a service project based on interests, abilities, and research.
    2. Standard VS 03. Providing Service
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Provide a needed service.
      2. Benchmark MS.3 Describe the task and the student role.
      3. Benchmark HS.3 Describe the task and the student role.
    3. Standard VS 04. Raising Private Resources
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Build a case for giving, explaining why resources (volunteers and money) are needed.
    4. Standard VS 05. Integrating the Service Experience into Learning
      1. Benchmark MS.3 Identify outcomes from the service.
      2. Benchmark HS.3 Identify outcomes from the service.