What Is a Foundation?

K, 1, 2

Students will listen to a grant-making foundation representative and complete a grant request form.

Lesson Rating 
PrintOne or Two Forty-Five Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • name a grant-making foundation and explain one possible use for a grant.
  • cooperatively prepare a grant request.

Grant request form (obtain from the foundation's representative)


GuideStar: the National Database of Nonprofit Organizations Home Page, www.guidestar.org (03 May 2001).


  1. Teacher Note:

    Find local foundations by accessing www.guidestar.org and using their advanced search by local zip code (see Bibliographic References).

    Anticipatory Set:

    Write philanthropist on the board. Ask students to name the three things that are given for the sake of others or the common good (time, talent and treasures).

  2. Explain that we can be philanthropists by using our time and talents, but most of us do not have enough treasures or money to give it away in large quantities. In order to perform the chosen service project, funds may be needed. There are people who give their money to other philanthropists. They set up foundations, organizations created from designated funds from which the income is distributed as grants to not-for-profit organizations or, in some cases, people. Teacher's Note: You may wish to give a brief history of your local foundation. 

  3. Explain that a representative from the foundation is here to explain the purpose of their organization and to explain how to complete a grant request. The representative can also answer any other questions. Introduce the speaker.

  4. After listening to the representative, have the students discuss what they see as an unmet local economic need (if the selected project fits this parameter). Discuss why the government does not take care of this problem. Ask students how a grant-making foundation could be helpful in carrying out the proposed service project. If the service project does require funds, generate a list of items that would require funds and decide on a budget. Then complete the grant request form. (This would probably be during the next class period.)

  5. As an assessment the students may be requested to write a journal entry that gives the name of the foundation that was represented and gives at least one use for a grant.


Teacher observation of student participation. Grade journal according to the scoring guide below. Points Scoring Rubric 2 Sentence names the foundation and gives one use for a grant. 1 Sentence names the foundation but does not give a use for a grant. 1 Sentence gives a use for a grant but does not name the foundation. 0 No sentence.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 05. Role of Foundations
      1. Benchmark E.1 Name at least one grant-making foundation.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 07. Skills of Civic Engagement
      1. Benchmark E.2 Discuss an issue affecting the common good in the classroom or school and demonstrate respect and courtesy for differing opinions.