Wall of Philanthropists (7th Grade)

6, 7, 8

Students research the work of historical figures who have influenced society through their philanthropic actions, especially working for the principles of justice, tolerance, and equality to promote civil society.



PrintOne 45 minute class period

The learner will:

  • describe how the philanthropic actions of an historical figure have influenced society.
  • correlate the concepts of fairness, equality, justice, tolerance, human rights, common good and philanthropy to describe the philanthropic actions of an historical figure.
  • Student copies of handouts:
  1. Research Poster Evaluation Rubric
  2. Research Poster Information Collection Form
  • One copy of handout: Wall of Philanthropists
  • Optional – student copies of handout: On My Own Terms
  • Audio, video or text of Martin Luther King’s, “I Have a Dream” speech 
  • A display area in the classroom or school entitled “Wall of Philanthropists”
  • Large drawing paper or poster board for each pair of students
  • Markers or crayons


  1. Anticipatory Set: Using audio, video or text, share Martin Luther King’s, “I Have a Dream” speech with students. Discuss how the speech inspires them, especially around personal responsibility for the common good. 

  2. Tell the students that they will be learning about other people from history who have taken action for the common good and inspired action from others. They will be creating posters about the people to be hung on a “Wall of Philanthropists.” Define philanthropist as "somone who gives time, talent, or treasure and takes action for the common good."

  3. Distribute Research Poster Evaluation Rubric to outline and discuss required components for the poster and Research Poster Information on which to gather poster information.

  4. Review the principles/key concepts historic philanthropic figures have championed: fairness, equality, tolerance, justice, human rights and common good.

  5. They may work in pairs to research a person and create a poster for the “Wall of Philanthropists” display. Let each pair choose, or assign to each pair, a person to research from the list in the handout: Wall of Philanthropists.

  6. Ask the pairs to share their posters with the class as they are displayed and to share one fact about their philanthropist that most impressed or surprised them about the person and their impact.


Use the Research Report Evaluation Rubric to evaluate student work.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Define philanthropy as individuals and organizations providing their time, talent, and/or treasures intended for the common good throughout history and around the world. Give examples.
      2. Benchmark MS.4 Give examples of how individuals have helped others.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark MS.4 Describe the characteristics of someone who helps others.
    2. 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.10 Identify reasons why historic figures acted for the common good.