Impacting the Public Good: Philanthropy Lesson (11th)

9, 10, 11, 12

The learners will identify philanthropists and their actions. They will apply this knowledge to recognize local philanthropists and the impact of their actions, and to identify acts of philanthropy they can do.

Lesson Rating 
PrintOne - Fifty minute class period

The learner will:

  • become familiar with people who have made contributions to the public good
  • reflect on the possibility for future personal philanthropic actions.
  • Learner charts from the previous lesson
  • Handout One: Puzzle Cards

"African American Barrier Breakers in Sports." visit


  1. Anticipatory Set: Using the completed charts of sports figures and what they might recall of the celebrities discussed in the previous lesson ask the learners to recall three things they remember about philanthropy and sports heroes and/or other celebrities.

  2. Review the meaning of the phrase “private action intended for the public/common good” and how this correlates with responsible citizenship.

  3. Assign the learners to six groups. Cut the puzzle cards bearing the names of sports heroes and celebrities so that each group will receive a name and a corresponding description of that name (Handout One). List the names, but not the descriptions, for all students to read.

  4. Have each group then compose a short rap or limerick giving details about the philanthropist without stating the name of the philanthropist. When completed, have each group perform their rap/limerick, and challenge the rest of the learners to identify their particular sports heroes or celebrity from the list of names. After each name discuss the possible impact of the individual’s philanthropy.

  5. Ask the learners to think of other philanthropists who are not necessarily wealthy or famous (these may be members of their family, themselves, peers, members of the community, etc.). Have them write the name of the philanthropist and a brief description of why they fit the title “philanthropist” (similar to the puzzle piece descriptions for the game). Ask several students to share their writing with the class.

  6. Finally, ask the students to write at least two paragraphs about how they might consider “taking action for the public good” and why it is important.


Observation of learner participation and depth of thinking.


Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. 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.
      2. Benchmark HS.2 Identify and discuss examples of philanthropy and charity in modern culture.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Analyze philanthropic traditions of diverse cultural groups and their contributions to civil society.
      2. Benchmark HS.7 Identify and give examples of the important roles women and minorities have played in the civil society sector in history.
    2. Standard PCS 03. Philanthropy and Economics
      1. Benchmark HS.4 Give examples of how civil society sector giving by individuals and corporations can impact communities.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Define and give examples of motivations for giving and serving.