PrintOne or Two 60-Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • identify a current issue or event in another part of the world.
  • research and identify philanthropic organizations involved in the current issue or event.
  • identify specific actions taken by one organization.
  • Class Identified List of Needs Based Upon Current Events Natural Disaster (Attachment One)
  • Web site listing(s) for the American and International Red Cross* www.redcross.org and www.icrc.org* Note: The Red Cross is used here as an example. Other service organizations could also be used.
  • Print materials and information about the Red Cross.
  • Newspaper and magazine articles containing information about a selected event that would have involved relief or aid from the Red Cross.
  • Construction paper and markers.


  1. Anticipatory Set:Use the KWL method to quickly find out what students know about the Red Cross, what they want to learn, and at the end of the lesson, what they have learned. Post student responses in columns on the board or a chart.*

  2. Discuss the American and International Red Cross. Identify the mission of the organization and discuss the functions of the organization. This is an opportunity to find out what students already know about the Red Cross.

    • The American Red Cross, a humanitarian organization led by volunteers and guided by its Congressional Charter and the Fundamental Principles of the International Red Cross Movement, will provide relief to victims of disasters and help people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies.
    • The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is an impartial, neutral and independent organization whose exclusively humanitarian mission is to protect the lives and dignity of victims of war and internal violence and to provide them with assistance. It directs and coordinates the international relief activities conducted by the Movement in situations of conflict. It also endeavors to prevent suffering by promoting and strengthening humanitarian law and universal humanitarian principles. Established in 1863, the ICRC is at the origin of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.
  3. Using print materials and Web site information, students will find information about the Red Cross and the International Committee of the Red Cross. Examples of information to be found would be:

    • Mission Statement
    • The various activities and functions these organizations perform.
    • An account of recent events where the Red Cross or ICRC has provided assistance. (Visit Web sites.)
  4. Provide students with magazine or newspaper accounts of a current event such as Hurricane Mitch, the earthquake of January 1999 in Colombia, or other natural disasters. Students should read accounts of these disasters to understand the needs of the victims and their community.

  5. Students, working in cooperative groups of two to four individuals, will brainstorm the needs of the people/country of the disaster areas. Following the brainstorming activity, students will share with the rest of the class the needs they identified. Construct an all-class list of needs (see Attachment One, Column One).

  6. Students will return to the information they gathered about the Red Cross and construct detailed lists of the activities that have been sponsored by the organization in response to the disaster (see Attachment One, Column Two).

  7. Students will construct a chart that will compare the class-identified needs of the people/country, and which of those needs the Red Cross is (or was) trying to help meet (see Attachment One, Columns One and Two).

  8. * List what students have learned about the Red Cross in the last column of the KWL Chart. Guide the class in recognizing connections among the items in the completed chart.


Student comparison charts will be evaluated. Students will write a paragraph describing the activities of the Red Cross in response to the disaster and identify areas of need that remain even though aid has been given (students can refer to Attachment One, Columns Two and Three as basis for their paragraphs.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.4 Give examples of how individuals have helped others.
    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.
    3. Standard DP 04. Operational Characteristics of Nonprofit Organizations
      1. Benchmark MS.3 Describe how a specific civil society organization in the community operates.
  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 04. Philanthropy and Geography
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Locate and map civil society organizations in the community.
      2. Benchmark MS.3 Identify and describe civil society organizations whose purpose is associated with issues relating to "human characteristics of place."
    3. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark MS.10 Give historic and contemporary examples of a voluntary action by an individual or a private organization that has helped to enhance a fundamental democratic principle.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.4 Identify and describe the actions of how citizens act for the common good.