Sharing Is Giving (3rd Grade)

3, 4, 5

Students will explore the definition of “philanthropy,” “hero,” and “nonprofit” and how they apply to local community organizations and civic society.

PrintOne Forty-Five Minute Class Period

The learner will:

  • define philanthropy from a personal and learned perspective.
  • recognize that common people can be philanthropic heroes.
  • identify the function of nonprofit organizations.
  • list three examples of simple acts of philanthropy.
  • list three community resources that work to improve the community’s common good.
  • Note book or handmade journal for each student
  • Teacher created list of local community resources including soup kitchens, community outreach programs, faith-based organizations. Go to and doing an Advanced Search by city and state.
  • Stone Soup or Uncle Willie and the Soup Kitchen (See Bibliographical Reference)
Teacher Preparation 

It is important to be sensitive to the possibility that someone in your class may have some personal experience with homelessness, hunger and poverty.


When we see a need, sometimes we say, "Why don't they do something about that?" Maybe that somebody is you. Draw yourself doing something to address an issue you have seen or read about.


Disalvo-Ryan, Dyanne.  Uncle Willie and the Soup Kitchen.  Harper Trophy, 1997.  ISBN: 0688152856


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Before reading Uncle Willie and the Soup Kitchen by DyAnne DiSalvo-Ryan (See Bibliographical References), ask students to listen for acts of philanthropy and examples of heroes. Read the book aloud. After reading, have the students identify the philanthropy and heroes that they heard about in the story. Guide students to recognize that anyone, even children like themselves can be philanthropic heroes.

  2. Write the words “philanthropy”, “non profit”, and “hero” on the board. Ask the children to define the words as part of a class discussion. The teacher may provide guidance to define philanthropy as the giving or sharing of time, talents, or treasure for the common good.

  3. Guide children to define heroes by brainstorming examples of heroes in literature, the news, and in the school and community. Make a list of these people and what they did for others. Ask them to think of the common traits of these heroes (honest, selfless, works for the common good, etc.).

  4. Students should write the definitions of philanthropy, nonprofits, and heroes in their own words in their journals.

  5. Ask students if it is the responsibility of people to help those in need. Discuss whether it is everybody’s responsibility to make the world a better place even if they don’t have a lot of money or things. Why is philanthropy a responsibility for a civil society and not something extra to do?

  6. Show the students how to use available resources to determine whether there is a soup kitchen or another nonprofit organization in your area. If so, name the group who may runs it: a faith-based group, a community organization, a government-funded organization, or other. Talk about the motives of the group that runs it. Discuss what kinds of philanthropy are involved (time, talent, and/or treasure). Teacher Note: is an excellent resource for locating local organizations in your area. The teacher should preview the site before having students use it so any navigational issues can be pointed out to students before beginning.

  7. Use a Venn diagram to help students understand the differences and similarities between governmental and non-governmental organizations that help others.

  8. Explain the differences between government organizations and non-governmental organizations that provide support to others.

  9. Students list in their journals at least three community resources that provide for the betterment of the community and explain what they do. (Examples: Chamber of Commerce, foundations, private individuals, faith-based programs, business and industry, educational)

Cross Curriculum 

Learn more about a local nonprofit, assess their needs, and take action to support their work through volunteering or advocacy.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.1 Define philanthropy as the giving and sharing of time, talent, or treasure intended for the common good.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark E.5 Identify the relationship between individual rights and community responsibility.
    2. Standard PCS 04. Philanthropy and Geography
      1. Benchmark E.1 Name examples of civil society organizations in the community.
      2. Benchmark E.2 Identify and describe how civil society organizations help the community.
  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.