We the Community

3, 4, 5

The students will be introduced to the concept of civic virtue and the positive contributions of community nonprofits.

Lesson Rating 
PrintOne Class Period

The learner will:

  • discuss the difference between selfishness and selflessness.
  • describe what responsibility people have for the common good of their community.
  • define philanthropy and nonprofit organization.
  • identify local philanthropic organizations and their work

Chart paper or blackboard

Teacher Preparation 

Familiarity with local nonprofits


  1. Tell the class to THINK about the difference between selfishness and selflessness. (Write the words on the board.) Have the students PAIR up and talk about the difference between selfishness and selflessness. Then have students SHARE their thoughts and discuss the differences with the whole group. What does selflessness in the community look like? Introduce the term civic virtue. Civic virtues are qualities that contribute to the healthy functioning of a democracy.

  2. Ask the group to discuss what responsibility they think people have for the common good of their community. Possible answers: civility, cooperation, respect, feed the hungry, to provide shelter for the homeless, to provide activities for the youth, to keep the city clean.

  3. Review the definitions of philanthropy and nonprofit organizations. (Philanthropy—giving of time, talent and treasure for the common good; Nonprofit Organization—an organization whose income is not used for the benefit or private gain of stockholders, directors or any other persons with an interest in the company)

    Ask the students to help you create a list nonprofit organizations in your community that help people.  Include suggestions from your students of actions they could take with these nonprofits.


The teacher assesses through observation of student participation and contributions to the discussion and brainstorming sessions. 

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.3 Recognize that citizens have a responsibility for the common good as defined by democratic principles.
      2. Benchmark E.4 Define and give examples of selfishness and selflessness.
    2. Standard DP 03. Names and Types of Organizations within the Civil Society Sector
      1. Benchmark E.2 Name an example of a civil society charitable organization.
    3. Standard DP 04. Operational Characteristics of Nonprofit Organizations
      1. Benchmark E.3 Describe how a volunteer youth club in the community operates.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark E.7 Identify women and minority philanthropists.
    2. Standard PCS 03. Philanthropy and Economics
      1. Benchmark E.1 Define and give examples of civil society sector corporations.
    3. Standard PCS 04. Philanthropy and Geography
      1. Benchmark E.1 Name examples of civil society organizations in the community.
    4. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark E.9 Describe how philanthropic activities can bring about social change.
  3. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 03. Providing Service
      1. Benchmark E.1 Provide a needed service.
      2. Benchmark E.2 Describe the goals of the project and their impact.
      3. Benchmark E.3 Describe the task and the student role.