Professional Development

Learn through Mini-Courses at Your Desktop!

The Fisher Educator Mini-Courses below provide online professional training in philanthropy education and service-learning. In your own time and at your desktop, learn methods of thoughtful service-learning, as well as the history, practice, and benefits of philanthropy, for educators, nonprofit professionals, parents, and volunteers. Participants earn certificates that may be applied toward professional CPE credits.

Recorded Webinars

Webinars provide information about concepts and events to support your teaching and learning. 

View the latest webinars here.


Welcome to the Fisher Online Institute for free professional mini-courses! 

Click on the title of the course to begin. You will need to create a free account (top of website) to access the courses. The mini-courses include information, research, tips, stories, videos, and reflection to engage the learner and may be completed in 20-45 minutes. 

Three types of courses:

  • Understanding Philanthropy (history, framework of democracy, nonprofit careers)
  • Service-Learning Practice and Projects (service-learning, reflection, raising philanthropic kids)
  • Using Website Resources (getting started and using different resources and lessons on the site)


Explore the research-based motivations for giving time, talent, or treasure for the common good and learn how and why to motivate oneself and others to serve. 

Here's one creative way to engage youth voice to take voluntary action for the common good -- teach them to use spoken word for the causes they care about. This mini-course provides background, examples, and tips for teaching spoken word poetry. Designed for facilitators, this mini-course is also beneficial to youth. This course was inspired through a spoken word poetry event by the Indianapolis organization, Indy Pulse

What is the relationship of the philanthropic nonprofit sector to democracy? We explore what schools teach about democratic citizenship, social contracts, and core democratic documents.

This mini-course provides a brief overview of everything you need to know about the nonprofit sector. You will learn about the role that the sector plays in society, how and why people work or volunteer in the sector, issues within nonprofit organizations, and how to empower students with participation in the nonprofit sector

This Educator Mini-Course provides a background for teaching the Urban EdVenture course or for incorporating philanthropy, leadership, and teambuilding into your classes. Gain knowledge, skills, and approaches to provide students with a basic understanding of philanthropy, nonprofit organizations, and the needs of their community.

Gain knowledge, skills, and approaches to help students understand issues and resources in their communities so that they can make informed, impactful decisions about how they will contribute their time, talent and treasure.

This Educator Mini-Course provides a background for teaching the “Food for Thought” Middle School unit at your school. “Food for Thought” is a service-learning unit for the seventh grade that engages students in thinking about how food is grown and harvested, the challenges of meeting the basic need of food, and the issue of food insecurity in the world. Its curriculum is available for free on Learning to Give.

In this mini-course, we learn what student activism looks like, why it is important to teach the knowledge and skills of social action, and ways to include activism in practice that gives students more purpose and ownership in their learning and volunteerism.

Explore how servant leadership, generosity, and collaboration can help groups lead change. We learn from philanthropic leaders in Michigan about how nonprofit, government, and business leaders work in partnership to make a difference. 

Learn about the purpose of reflection and a variety of reflection techniques and questions. Engage the hearts and minds of volunteers and activists in order to increase the meaning of any service experience. 

Raising children includes instilling values and habits that help young people grow into caring and productive members of society. Children learn philanthropic behavior and habits from family, faith-based practice, school, and other community influences. Throughout this course you will learn some of the theory, concepts, and practices that guide young people to be giving and empathetic adults. 


This brief tutorial will give you a tour of the rich and useful Learning to Give website. This course guides you through key starting points and tips for finding some of the great resources available. The more you explore, the more you'll find to guide your practice and help you infuse philanthropy education into all your subject areas. This is not an add-on, but an enrichment to what you are already teaching. 

This course gives a step-by-step plan for connecting learning and service to community needs. The learner defines philanthropy and the benefits of using class time for teaching students to give their time, talent, and treasure in connection to learning and community. Learn tips and tools to find lessons, project ideas, and training and connect to other teachers across the country.

Learn about philanthropic elements of ancient civilizations and religions. Explore the philanthropy of major social movements in the history of the United States.

Get a brief overview of strategies and the steps and quality indicators of service-learning. Through stories, examples, and reflection questions, learners analyze what makes a service-learning experience meaningful. 

The ease of planning lessons with Learning to Give

Learn from what other educators are doing and saying about philanthropy education and service-learning. Find motivation and ideas for infusing giving concepts into your teaching and guiding students in service-learning projects.

The Fisher Educator Mini-Courses provide online training in philanthropy education and service-learning. In your own time and at your desktop, learn methods of thoughtful service-learning, as well as the history, practice, and benefits of philanthropy, for educators, nonprofit professionals, parents, and volunteers.