Who Is a Philanthropist? Sharing Stories of Service


To share stories of experiences in philanthropy with community members.

Author: Urban EdVenture Faculty

PrintOne to three 45-minute class periods (depends on number of guest speakers)

Students will explore the following ideas:

  • Anyone can be a philanthropist.
  • People serve others in a variety of ways.
  • People serve for a variety of reasons.
  • Service of all types provides common rewards.
Teacher Preparation 

Identify members of your school community who are involved in service in diverse organizations and invite them into your classroom to share their stories with students. Consider as speakers teachers, older students, parents, and people students know and respect.

Prepare speakers ahead of time for their visit by asking them to be ready to share a story that explains why they choose to serve.


Volunteer, community


In a written reflection, students answer the following questions: Who can be a philanthropist? Why do people choose to serve?

A Word About Reflection: A teacher should gauge what he or she feels will work best for reflection: a whole class discussion, asking for volunteers to share after completing a reflection, or keeping written reflections private. The type of reflection a teacher asks students to do can depend on several factors, including the time left after other activities are completed, the tone of the class, how personal the reflection topic may be, and how strong the class bond is. 


  1. Before the day of the speaker visit, prepare students to share their own stories. This may include having students ask their families about the organizations they support, as well as reminding students of their involvement in service through school-led activities. Do not require all students to share. Some students may wish to share stories about receiving the philanthropy of others. 

  2. Also before the speaker visit, you may wish to prepare students with questions to ask the guests.

  3. During the speaker visit, have guests share their stories.

  4. Ask students to share their own stories.

  5. Ask students to do the reflection and share thoughts from their reflection with the class.