I'm a Philanthropist!

K, 1, 2

This lesson introduces the definition of philanthropy. The children are given the opportunity to see that philanthropy is something in which they are capable of participating. The memory building game stimulates the children to choose many different ways of being philanthropic. The students are encouraged to make a conscious effort to improve their community.

PrintOne Thirty-Minute Session
  • Identify a philanthropic act that they could actually perform.
  • Distinguish between the concepts of time, talent and treasure.

Paper, pencil, crayons, markers


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Tell the children that they will be learning a new, very big word. Introduce the word philanthropy by writing it on the board. Ask students if they have ever heard of the word? Have them repeat it several times. Ask students to guess what it means. Explain that philanthropy means giving of your time, talents or treasure for the common good.

  2. Discuss:

    • What does it mean to give your time? What is your time? (before school, 8:00, weekend)
    • What does it mean to give your talent? What is your talent? (play a musical instrument, identify trees, do research, be a good friend)
    • What does it mean to give your treasures? What are your treasures? (money, gently used toys and clothes)
    • What does common good mean? (for the good of everyone)
  3. Discuss the needs they see in their neighborhood, community, school, or world. This is an opportunity to listen and allow the young people to share ideas of what they see could be better and get a sense of their understanding. If they don't have a sense of needs, offer to look up and get more information. 

    Explain that people give some of what they have (time, talent or treasure) because they have strong feelings for the cause they selected.

    For example, it would be very appropriate for them to say, “I could volunteer my time at the Animal Shelter. I could walk dogs, clean cages or just play with lonely animals.”

  4. Give each child time to think of something philanthropic they could personally do. Explain that we will go around the room and each person will say “I’m going to be a philanthropist because I’m going to …” The next person will say “I’m going to be a philanthropist because I’m going to …” 

    Keep track of their ideas on a chart to review together and discuss the ones that generate enthusiasm and seem do-able.

  5. Make a class book. The children illustrate one of the ideas recorded on the chart. They indicate whether it is a gift of time, talent, or treasure. The facilitator can bind the pages into a book for the whole group to enjoy, and upon which they can reflect.

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.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.