Learning to Give, Philanthropy education resources that teach giving and civic engagement

Independent Schools


Title: Philanthropy 101: The Westminster Schools, Atlanta, GA

Type: Course

Duration: 33 Lessons

Grades: 11, 12

Subject Correlation: Language Arts, Social Studies

Summary: This four-week summer course defines philanthropy and teaches effective giving and informed critical thinking about community service through readings, research, site visits, and local speakers. May be adapted for a semester course and to fit local community needs and resources.

Created By:

Sally Finch and Stan Moor


Callie Crabb
The Westminster Schools


The Westminster Schools

Atlanta, GA

On this page:

About the Course

Philanthropy 101 is a not-for-credit course that introduces rising high school seniors to effective giving and informed critical thinking about community service through readings, research, site visits, and outstanding speakers. It connects students to their local community and, through community-based experiences, helps them become more keenly aware of society’s growing needs. In addition to coming to understand the meaning of the word “philanthropy,” the class strives to help students answer the following questions: Who am I in relationship to my community? In what ways can I give? How can I make a difference for a cause or issue about which I care?

By the end of the course, students should be able to

(1)   Explain why philanthropy exists – why it is important to people and how it contributes to a healthy community and society

(2)   Articulate many ways of giving to one’s community (through sharing time, talent, and treasure)

(3)   Recognize spiritual, religious, and cause-based motivations for philanthropy

(4)   Describe the types of organizations that comprise the nonprofit sector and specific nonprofit examples representing these types

(5)   Show increased understanding, desire, ability, and instincts for philanthropic service and giving

(6)   Distinguish factors that are important in effective philanthropy

(7)   Demonstrate understanding of what contributes to smart donor decision-making by explaining the rationale behind a personal contribution to an organization of their choice

See the Course Syllabus and List of Philanthropy 101 Lessons in the Course Files below.


Course History and Context

Atlanta philanthropist and Westminster alumnus Thomas K. Glenn II approached The Westminster Schools in 1998 to establish a course that would cultivate students’ community engagement and informed giving. The school launched Philanthropy 101 in the summer of 2000 with Community Service Coordinator Stan Moor and Economics teacher Sally Finch. Moor and Finch developed the curriculum and taught the course for the next 15 years.

The success of the course encouraged the founding in 2003 of the Wilbur and Hilda Glenn Institute for Philanthropy & Service Learning at The Westminster Schools through an endowed gift from the Wilbur and Hilda Glenn Family Foundation. The Glenn Institute helps educate young people about the principles and practices of philanthropy, supports community service programs, and promotes the value of service learning as an important instructional methodology throughout the school’s K-12 curriculum. Philanthropy 101 continues to be offered each summer for rising seniors.


Course Format

At Westminster, Philanthropy 101 is a four-week, not-for-credit summer course designed for rising seniors. The course takes place from 8:30 am to 2:00 pm Monday through Friday during the month of June. Students visit a variety of nonprofit organizations and foundations, and hear the stories and lessons learned from representatives of many charitable organizations. They also learn about their school as a nonprofit and the vital role that fundraising plays as a revenue source that helps support the educational and co-curricular programs available to them as students. As part of the curriculum, students learn how a tax-exempt, nonprofit organization operates and how to analyze a nonprofit’s annual financial statement, IRS Form 990.Although the course is not for credit, it is a rigorous academic class with assignments and readings, research on the assessment of nonprofits, and individual reports and presentations. Students are expected to spend one hour each day outside of class on homework. On Fridays, the students participate in a volunteer experience.

A unique aspect of this course is that each student receives a stipend of which they are required to donate $500 or more to a nonprofit organization at the end of the class. During the four weeks, students research and assess many organizations, with particular emphasis given to learning how to use Charity Navigator and Guide Star as assessment tools. The final class is a luncheon during which students present their checks to a representative from the organization he or she has chosen to support. At the presentation, each student explains his or her choice and shares experiences from the course. The school may find local funding to provide this stipend for students.

A typical class day begins with a look at current events, helping students to see the focus of philanthropy in the news, followed by a class discussion on a particular topic or a presentation by a guest speaker. There are typically six nonprofit site visits addressing major areas of philanthropic giving (and representing subsectors within the nonprofit sector: religion, education, health, the environment, the arts, and human services).  There are also visits to at least three local foundations representing a private foundation, community foundation and corporate foundation. Sites and speakers vary from year to year. Homework assignments are typically readings from several texts listed on the Philanthropy 101 Reading List. All students write a final paper about their experiences. Many of the students have found these papers very useful for college applications and interviews.


Recommended Background

Students: There are no prerequisite courses or knowledge required to take Philanthropy 101. However, students must be rising seniors and most applicants have prior experience with service or service learning.

Faculty: Philanthropy 101 teachers should be ongoing learners who study the field of philanthropy and nonprofit organizations. Initially, they will need a base of understanding about the following: the purpose and structures of the nonprofit sector; philanthropy’s role in American society; a vocabulary to talk about these issues; and their local nonprofit organization landscape. Good sources for learning about philanthropy appear on the Philanthropy 101 Reading List, Learning to Give website, and The Chronicle of Philanthropy. For faculty interested in formal academic programs in this field, there are also a large number of nonprofit and philanthropic studies programs at universities and colleges across the U.S.


Sample Student Work and Course Stories


Course Faculty

 From 2000 to 2014, Philanthropy 101 was taught by Stan Moor (stanmoor@westminster.net) and Sally Finch (sallyfinch@att.net). Beginning summer 2015, Stan is joined by Callie Crabb (calliecrabb@westminster.net) and Mark LaBouchere (marklabouchere@westminster.net).

Stan Moor has taught Spanish at Westminster since 1981. He earned his B.A. in Spanish from LaGrange College and his M.A.T. in Spanish from Georgia State University. Since 1992, Stan has served as the school’s Community Service Coordinator.
Sally Finch taught economics and history at Westminster from 1984 until her recent retirement. She earned her B.A. in History from Emory University and her M.A.T. in Social Studies from Georgia State University. While at Westminster she also was the founding director of the Summer Economics Institute.
Callie Crabb is the Program Manager for the Glenn Institute for Philanthropy and Service Learning at The Westminster Schools. She received her B.A. In Art History from Oglethorpe University and her M.A. in Art History from Georgia State University.
Mark LaBouchere is a Technology Integration Specialist and Economics teacher at Westminster. He received his B.A. in History from Clemson University and his M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from Arizona State University. Mark is an Apple 



About the School

Founded in 1951, The Westminster Schools is located in Atlanta, Georgia, and enrolls 1850 students, grades Pre-first through 12. The school’s mission: “Westminster is a Christian, independent day school for boys and girls which seeks to develop the whole person for college and for life through excellent education.”


Topics Covered in the Course

  1. Introduction
  2. Philanthropy in the U.S. – A Historical Perspective
  3. Motives for Giving
  4. Examination of Beneficiaries and Institutions of Philanthropy
    1. Individuals
    2. Institutions – Types of Nonprofit Organizations
      1. Arts
      2. Education
      3. Environment
      4. Health
      5. Religion
      6. Social Services
    3. Institutions – Types of Foundations
      1. Community
      2. Private - Family
      3. Private - Independent
  5. Philanthropists
  6. Assessing Charitable Organizations
  7. Dangers of Philanthropy
  8. Non-financial Philanthropy
    1. Volunteering
    2. Leadership
  9. Careers in Philanthropy
  10. Summary and Reflection


Site Visit Examples

Georgia Shakespeare Festival
The Woodruff Arts Center

The Carter Center 
The Westminster Schools
WABE Public Radio
The Georgia Conservancy
Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta 
Shepherd Center
The Temple
Monastery of the Holy Spirit
Social Services:    
The Atlanta Community Food Bank
The Day Shelter for Women and Children
The Robert W. Woodruff Foundation
The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta


Lesson 1: Class Overview Note: Not all lessons are used during any given summer course.

Purpose: To introduce students to the concept of philanthropy and have them begin thinking about where they will donate their money.
Presentation: A representative of the philanthropic community will share ideas and practices about giving. 
Duration: 1 hour
Objectives: Students will:
  • Demonstrate their understanding of the concept that we are all recipients of philanthropy and have befitted from others’ generosity by citing examples of philanthropy from their own family or community experiences
  • Learn and reflect on the speaker’s belief that students can and should be taught about philanthropy by discussing some of their beliefs after the presentation
  • Learn and discuss the myriad opportunities for philanthropic giving and serving   
Materials: Philanthropy 101 Course Syllabus (See Course Files)
Instructional Procedure: Walk through the overview of the course and talk about what will be covered over the next few weeks. Discuss aspects of philanthropic giving; the history of philanthropy; motives for giving; types of nonprofit and philanthropic institutions (Arts, Education, Environment, Health, Religion, Social Services, Foundations). Emphasis is given to the concept of philanthropy as giving time, talent, or treasure for the common good. Students are then asked to tell where they think they may be donating their $500 and why they may choose that particular cause or organization. 
Assessment: Class discussion followed by a short essay demonstrating the concepts learned from this lesson.



Lesson 2: For Profits versus Not for Profits

Purpose:  To introduce students to corporate philanthropy and key vocabulary terms used in the business world.

Duration: 1 hour
Objectives: Students will:
  • Compare and contrast the for-profit and not-for-profit (civil society) sectors
  • Learn the vocabulary of 990 forms, 501 (c) (3) status
  • Handout: “For Profit and Not For Profit Entities”  (see Course Files)
  • Examples of completed IRS Form 990 from nonprofit organizations (downloaded through Charity Navigator and Guidestar websites)
  • IRS Form 1023 “Application for Recognition of Exemption” [blank form downloaded from http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1023.pdf]
Instructional Procedure: Introduce students to the resources Charity Navigator and Guidestar and project examples on the board of a variety of different nonprofit 990 forms. Discuss the differences in goals and sizes. Compare the tax definitions and major goals of for-profit vs nonprofits. 

Assessment: Class discussion reflecting students’ understanding of the material as well as class presentations on selected nonprofit agencies.


Lesson 3: 501(c)(3) Organizations

Purpose: To help students understand the legal aspects of a 501(c)(3) organization and how they differ from other organizations.

Guest Speaker: Representative from a local 501(c)(3) organization.
Duration: 1 hour
Keywords: Nonprofit Organizations; For-Profit Organizations; Tax Exempt; Foundations
Objectives: Students will:
  • Learn the vocabulary associated with 501 (c)(3) organizations
  • Understand tax ramifications of organizations that pay taxes and those that do not
  • Distinguish between private and public foundations
  • White, Benjamin T. (1991). The Foundation Desk Reference: A Compendium of Private Foundation Rules. Atlanta: Southeastern Council of Foundations. [http://www.secf.org/foundation-desk-reference]

Instructional Procedure: The guest speaker presents a summary of responsibilities that a 501(c)(3) organization must follow and those things a 501(c)(3) must never do

Assessment: Class discussion; research reports on nonprofits


Lesson 4: Current Events

Purpose: To create student awareness about philanthropy in daily life throughout the world using a variety of topics and sources.

Duration: As time allows, briefly at the start of class each day or periodically during the course
Objectives: Students will:
  • Read current newsworthy stories or articles about philanthropy and seek out television news and web based stories to present to the class
  • Learn about the many ways philanthropy occurs on a daily basis by using specific publications such as The Chronicle of Philanthropy and regional foundation publications as sources of articles, in addition to the use of mass media
  • The Chronicle of Philanthropy, local newspaper, magazines, television, local foundation reports, Internet resources

Instructional Procedure: The teacher leads discussion of recent articles and encourages class discussion and class contribution. Students have the opportunity in subsequent classes to present articles of interest from professional philanthropic publications.

Assessment: Class discussion; review and comment on lessons learned from the publications


Lesson 5: Creating a Passion for Philanthropy

Purpose:  To identify the intersection between students’ passions, community needs and the effectiveness of organizations selected.

Guest Speaker:  A representative of a local community agency that relies upon philanthropic gifts will describe the means of matching a student’s interest in giving to a particular nonprofit and the effectiveness of that nonprofit.
Duration: 1 hour
Objectives: Students will:
  • Reflect and think about their passions for the causes and issues of a civil society
  • Learn how to give based on their individual passion
  • Learn how to give to what the community needs
  • Learn how to give to an effective organization

Materials: Handouts of brochures or descriptions of services that the speaker’s agency provides for the community

Instructional Procedure: Lecture by a representative of a local community agency

Assessment: Students decide where to donate money.



Lesson 6: Andrew Carnegie and the Gospel of Wealth

Purpose: To introduce students to Andrew Carnegie as one of the outstanding early philanthropists of the United States

Duration: 1 hour
Objectives: Students will:
  • Learn about Andrew Carnegie and his philosophy of giving
  • Compare current philanthropic needs with those of Carnegie’s time
  • Learn about philanthropists throughout history and share ideas about the times and reasons for each philanthropists’ passion
  • Learn about the influence of the Carnegie Corporation of New York (Andrew Carnegie’s foundation)
  • Class set of Carnegie, Andrew (1889). “The Gospel of Wealth.” In Kirkland, Edward C. (Ed.) (1993). Harvard University Press. Reprinted by Indiana University Center on Philanthropy, Indianapolis. Digital download through Philanthropy Resources Online (PRO) at the Joseph and Matthew Payton Philanthropic Studies Library, IUPUI.  
  • Schug, Mark C., Caldwell, Jean and Ferrarini, Tawni Hunt (2014). “Lesson 23: Bigger is Better: The Economics of Mass Production.” In Focus: Understanding Economics in United States History. National Council on Economic Education. [http://ushistory.councilforeconed.org/wlg/focus_ushistory_lesson23.pdf]
  • Carnegie Corporation of New York website [http://www.carnegie.org]

Instructional Procedure: Homework reading assignment, lecture, class discussion, worksheet


Assessment: Students compare their list of six needed areas of philanthropic giving with Carnegie’s.


Lesson 7: Guest Speaker Discusses Motives for Giving

Purpose: To introduce students to a significant community donor and to learn about various motives for giving, a vision for philanthropy, and why and how young people should learn philanthropy.

Duration: 1 hour
Keywords: Motivation for Giving; Giving; Altruism
Objectives: Students will:
  • Recognize that there are various motives for giving
  • Learn that motives such as gratitude, guilt, peer pressure, self-satisfaction, altruism or honoring the dead vary with each individual situation
  • Understand that a common motive is that philanthropy is the right thing to do and that it makes sense
Materials: Quotes of philanthropic leaders about their motivations
Instructional Procedure: Lecture and discussion of "Motives of Giving"   

Assessment: Students offer examples from their own perspective and from their family’s motives for philanthropy.


Lesson 8: Andrew Carnegie Prince of Steel A&E Biography Video

Purpose: To continue the study of philanthropist Andrew Carnegie’s influence on American culture.

Duration: 1 hour
Keywords:  Carnegie; Philanthropist
Objectives: Students will:
  • Learn about the life story of Andrew Carnegie
  • Understand the impact of his philanthropic giving during the 19th and 20th centuries
  • Understand the concept of “Robber Barons” and philanthropic giving prior to tax laws
  • Understand and appreciate the efforts of the Carnegie Corporation today
  • Understand why some question Carnegie’s legacy

Materials: Harris, Bill (A&E Director) (1995). Andrew Carnegie: Prince of Steel [Television series episode]. In Rick Davis (Producer), Biography.  A&E Television Networks.  [http://www.biography.com/people/andrew-carnegie-9238756/videos/andrew-carnegie-full-episode-2071932799]

Instructional Procedure: Watch video followed by discussion

Assessment: Students discuss whether they think Carnegie was an effective philanthropist for his time or whether he could have made more substantial contributions and changes in the working conditions in his factories.


Lesson 9: Volunteering in the Community

Purpose: To introduce students to volunteering through a local nonprofit or the service program at their school to understand the importance of giving their time to make a difference in the greater community.

Duration:  1 hour or more
Objectives: Students will:
  • Understand why a community service program supports a school’s mission
  • Understand that volunteer hours are central to defining philanthropy
  • Match their passion to organizations in the community working to solve specific problems 

Materials: Brochures about volunteerism from their school and local nonprofits.

Instructional Procedure: Lecture by the school’s Community Service Coordinator or Director of a local agency together with a community volunteer sharing experiences about why and how to volunteer.

Assessment: During the four  weeks of the course, the students will participate in at least two volunteer experiences. Students will have follow up discussions and submit short essays describing their experiences and what they see as the value of volunteering.


Lesson 10: Site Visit to a Local Community Foundation

Purpose: To introduce students to grantmaking and the work of community foundations.

Duration: 2 hours
Keywords: Community Foundation; Grantmaking; Family Foundation; Need
Objectives: Students will:
  • Meet “movers and shakers” of the local community and be introduced to possible careers in philanthropy
  • Understand the difference between smaller grants and larger capital grants
  • Differentiate among different types of giving through family and donor advised funds
  • Participate in a grant workshop using actual grant applications

Materials:  Handouts of actual grant proposals submitted to the Community Foundation

Instructional Procedure: Leaders of the Community Foundation direct students during group activities, including an introductory activity on personal and family values, focusing on student and family passions and preferences; matching community needs and family values.

Assessment: Students decide whether or not to fund specific grant proposals.


Lesson 11: Site Visit to a Local Foundation

Purpose: To understand the workings of a large foundation that distributes major capital gifts and scholarships for higher education.

Duration: 1 hour
Objectives: Students will:
  • Understand the difference between large and small foundations and their recipients
  • Meet with major civic leaders who influence decisions on addressing community and statewide problems
  • Continue discussion on careers in nonprofits – foundations
  • Learn about major grant proposals and how decisions are made regarding approvals or denials

Materials: Brochures and sample applications from each foundation are distributed

Instructional Procedure: Speaker explains the different goals of each foundation type and how major grant proposals are distributed.

Assessment: In class discussion, students are asked to explain the difference between small community operational grants and major capital grants. 


Lesson 12: Site Visits

Purpose: To introduce students to examples of the major types of nonprofit organization: arts, education, environment, health, religion, and social services.  Each site is representative of a nonprofit category and the visit is to give students an example of opportunities for giving.

Duration: Site visits (with travel) take up to 4 hours
Objectives: Students will:
  • Develop a better understanding of reasons to give based on a particular passion
  • Learn about the purpose of each organization and how and why they rely on charitable giving
  • Continue class discussions about where and how to give most effectively
  • Brochures distributed in the presentation; handouts and presentations by each organization including budgets, capital campaigns and operational needs
  • Handout “How to Conduct a Site Visit” offers guidance on what to do during a visit and what to ask to learn about the organization and the needs it serves (see Course Files)
Instructional Procedure: Tour of facility; presentation by development personnel and others; discussion of fundraising campaigns, annual budget, and sources of funding
Assessment: Students will ask pertinent questions and indicate a better understanding of each organization.
Examples of visits include: (Please note that these organizations are examples from Atlanta, the community in which Philanthropy 101 takes place.)
  1. Arts: Atlanta Symphony Orchestra,Fernbank Museum of Natural History,Fox Theatre, The High Museum, Woodruff Arts Center
  2. Education: Charles R. Drew Charter School, Emory University Goizueta Business School, Morehouse College, The Westminster Schools
  3. Environment: Atlanta Botanical Garden, Chattahoochee Nature Center, Environment Georgia Research & Policy Center, Piedmont Park Conservancy, Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper
  4. Health: Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Good Samaritan Health Clinic, Grady Memorial Hospital, Scottish Rite Children’s Hospital Campus, Shepherd Spinal Center, Wesley Woods Geriatric Center
  5. Religion: Atlanta Masjid of Al- Islam, Cathedral of St. Philip, Monastery of the Holy Spirit, The Temple, the United Methodist Children’s Home
  6. Social Services: American Red Cross, Atlanta Community Food Bank, Habitat for Humanity, Project Open Hand, Refugee Resettlement and Immigration Services of Atlanta, St. Vincent de Paul Society, Senior Citizens Services of Atlanta


Lesson 13: Online Research

Purpose: The students learn how to use the Internet to assess effectiveness of a nonprofit. Time is scheduled throughout the course for students to research nonprofits, philanthropists, charity assessments, causes, and related topics.

Duration:  1 hour per session
Objectives: Students will:
  • become familiar with Charity Navigator and Guidestar.
  • go to the nonprofit website to evaluate their programming and effectiveness.
  • become familiar with nonprofit assessment tools on the internet.
  • prepare for oral reports.
Materials: Internet accessibility and laptops or computer lab

Instructional Procedure: Ensure access to enough computers for students’ individual or small group work and guide student research

Assessment: To be completed later in the course at the time of student presentations of their research.


Lesson 14: Weekly Reflections on Philanthropy 101

Purpose: To give students time to reflect on the course of study each week and to encourage them to begin thinking of how to best make a monetary donation to an effective organization.

Duration: 30 minutes
Objectives: Students will:
  • Thoughtfully reflect on each week’s lesson
  • Consider influences of local philanthropists and foundations on their community
Materials: Use one prompt on the “Reflection Prompts” Handout (see Course Files)

Instructional Procedure: Students are given 30 minutes on their own to write reflectively about their personal experiences.

Assessment: Review of reflections and discussion afterwards. 


Lesson 13: Discussion of The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry

Purpose: To discuss the wisdom of giving and receiving gifts. What makes a gift or giver wise or foolish? How should you decide what you should give?

Duration: 30 minutes
Objectives: Students will:
  • Challenge each other about what the best gifts are to give or receive
  • Prompt each other about the appropriateness of specific gifts
  • Assess the worth of gifts
  • Decide whether an ordinarily good gift is a good gift from this particular giver or for this particular recipient
Materials: Class copies of Kass, Amy A. (Ed.). (2002). The Perfect Gift: The Philanthropic Imagination in Poetry and Prose. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press. Chapter: “The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry.
Available to read online on Learning to Give  http://learningtogive.org/resources/stories/giftofmagi/ 
Instructional Procedure: Class discussion
Assessment: Student reflections on the story


Lesson 14: Assessing Charitable Giving

Purpose: To help students understand that not all organizations spend their philanthropic dollars wisely and to teach them effective ways to assess the different approaches.

Duration: 2 hours
Keywords: Charity; Organizations; Needs Assessment
Objectives: Students will:
  • Learn about GuideStar and Charity Navigator, organizations that assess charities
  • Learn which questions to ask when assessing organizations
  • Learn about budgets for individual nonprofits including program expenses and salaries
  • GuideStar website [http://www.guidestar.org/]
  • Charity Navigator website [http://www.charitynavigator.org/]

Instructional Procedure: A guest speaker describes ways to determine the effectiveness of a community organization; followed by time for students to explore nonprofit assessment sites online. See "Assessing Charities" in the Course Files below.

Assessment: Students will answer assessment questions about several nonprofits and attempt to select an effective recipient for their donations.


Lesson 15: Exploring Generosity

Purpose: To expose students to the history and philosophy of generosity in order to better understand why and how we should be generous.

Duration: 1.5 hours
Keywords: Charity; Generosity
Objectives: Students will:
  • Learn about the psychology, history, philosophy, and theology of generosity
  • Learn that generosity can be essential to a life well lived
  • Explore the abundance versus scarcity model
  •  Explore different types of giving and how personality may influence giving preferences
Materials: Handouts “Generosity Outline” and "Exploring Generosity" (see Course Files, below)
Instructional Procedure: A guest speaker provides an overview of generosity followed by discussion
Assessment: Students share the ways they have given in the past and how this may relate to their personality type 


Lesson 16: Establishing a New Nonprofit Road Safe America

Note: This specific lesson deals with a tragedy associated with an alumnus of the school where the Philanthropy 101 course was developed, and so it is included in this set of lessons. We encourage other schools to identify a nonprofit founded in their community as the result of a local need, event or tragedy. Invite a speaker to the class to share their motives and steps in developing a nonprofit.

Purpose: To share with students how a successful local nonprofit was formed and how laws dealing with the trucking industry have been changed as a result of its advocacy work.

Duration: 1 hour
Keywords: Nonprofit Organizations; Founding; Advocacy; Public Policy
Objectives: Students will:
  • Understand that a tragedy is sometimes the impetus for a nonprofit to be formed, with the purpose of addressing the cause of the tragedy
  • Talk with grieving parents who established a nonprofit after the death of their son in a traffic accident
  • Understand the scope of dealing with changing laws and public policies with respect to highway safety
Materials: access to the website www.roadsafeamerica.org 

Instructional Procedure:  Have students explore the website to learn more about the organization and its purpose. 


Lesson 17: The Ethics of Sweatshops, Child Labor, and Improving Standards of Living for the Poor

Purpose: To help students understand the choices that must be made to improve the lives of the poor and to analyze ethical dilemmas. Students will examine the impact of poverty programs on desirable goals such as job creation, improved living standards, efficiency, and fairness. Students are challenged to relate these ideas to profits and philanthropic giving, and to examine their own moral compass for giving.

Duration: 3 hours
Objectives: Students will:
  • Understand the workings of sweatshops
  • Study the economics of third world countries
  • Understand the options available to the poor and how to make the moral and ethical choices to improve the standard of living
  • Teaching the Ethical Foundations of Economics (handouts and worksheets), Council for Economic Education.
  • Stossell, John (2006, Nov. 28). Cheap in America. 20/20 In Touch Webcast. ABC News. [http://abcnews.go.com/2020/video?id=2684898]
Instructional Procedure: Lecture, handouts, worksheets
Assessment: Answer questions available on website.


Lesson 18: Fourteen Terms Every Private Foundation Should Understand

Purpose: To help students understand the language of private foundations, their unique terms, and specific definitions. Furthermore, to help students learn the specific rules and regulations governing private foundations that help foundations stay in compliance with IRS regulations. Finally, to help students communicate more effectively within the philanthropic community. 
Duration:  l hour
Keywords:  Foundations; Charitable Deduction
Objectives:  Students will:
  • Increase their knowledge about private foundations
  • Learn specific vocabulary relating to the world of private foundations
Materials:  Foundation Source Philanthropic Services (2013). "21 Terms Every Private Foundation Should Know." Fairfield, Connecticut: Foundation Source. [http://www.foundationsource.com/ks/21TermsMarch2013.pdf]
Instructional Procedure:
Lecture and presentation of terms. Students will discuss terms in relation to private foundations. It is emphasized that these terms are not intended as a substitute for legal, tax or investment advice.
Assessment: Short essay or quiz over terms learned in this lesson.


Lesson 19: John D. Rockefeller

Purpose: To continue the study of philanthropist John D. Rockefeller’s influence on American culture.

Duration:  1 hour
Objectives: Students will:
  • Learn about the life story of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. and his family
  • Learn about the impact of his philanthropic giving for the 19th and 20th centuries
  • Understand the economic impact of monopolies
  • Understand the workings of The Rockefeller Foundation today and develop an appreciation for its contributions
  • Deane, Elizabeth (Writer, Director). (2000). The Rockefellers, part 1. [Television series episode]. In Samels, Mark (Executive Producer), American Experience.  Corporation for Public Broadcasting. [http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/rockefellers/player/]
  • The Rockefeller Foundation website [http://www.rockefellerfoundation.org/]
Instructional Procedure: Watch video followed by discussion.

Assessment: Students discuss whether they think Rockefeller was an effective philanthropist for his time. Divide class into two groups and assign each group a different point of view to present regarding Rockefeller’s philanthropy.


Lesson 20: Individual Research Projects: 501 (c) (3)

Purpose:  To help students assess the effectiveness of charitable organizations and decide on their own financial contributions

Duration:  Approximately 3 hours over two days; a ten-minute presentation per student followed by class discussion.

Objectives: Students will:
  • Learn how to evaluate effectiveness in charities
  • Learn about the variety of charities that contribute to the wellbeing of the community
  • Describe how difficult it is to run an effective nonprofit
  • Learn to become poised in front of a group using public speaking skills and technology
  • Charity Navigator website [http://www.charitynavigator.org/]
  • GuideStar website [http://www.guidestar.org/]

Instructional Procedure: Each student presents a ten-minute presentation utilizing PowerPoint and brochures from the charity; many students use Charity Navigator and GuideStar examples.

Assessment: Students decide whether or not an organization should be supported based on the presentation. 


Lesson 21: Focus on International Giving with a Speaker from CARE International

Purpose: To introduce students to organizations that deal with international and global problems as opposed to local or national concerns.

Duration:  1.5 hours
Objectives: Students will:
  • Hear from a representative of CARE International, located in Atlanta
  • Understand the unique problems that face third world countries
  • Reflect and discuss whether it is better to give locally and think globally or give globally and think locally

Materials: Handouts from CARE including the annual report and other related materials; video/DVD on the work of CARE.

Instructional Procedure: Guest speaker with interactive class discussion.

Assessment: Class discussion and reviewing GuideStar’s evaluation of CARE.


Lesson 22: Nonprofit Speakers

Purpose: To introduce students to a variety of specific nonprofits and their representatives who address topics such as the mission of the organization, where their financial support comes from, and the work they are doing in the community. 

Duration:  1 hour each

Keywords:  Nonprofit Organizations; Volunteer; Nonprofit Careers

Objectives: Students will:
  • Be able to name a variety of nonprofits in the six different categories
  • Read and comprehend 990 forms
  • Recognize and be able to discuss the variety of nonprofit organizations
  • Learn about volunteer opportunities and how to become involved in their community
Materials: Assorted brochures and handouts from nonprofit organizations
Instructional Procedure: Lecture and interactive group discussions.

Assessment: Review and discussion with classmates and instructors about nonprofit organizations in their community and the use of appropriate forms to be followed by the administration of that organization.

Examples of organizations that have participated:
  • Atlanta Ballet
  • Boys & Girls Club
  • Make-A-Wish Foundation
  • Metropolitan Arts Council
  • Religion panel including speakers from Christian, Jewish, and Muslim faiths
  • Teach for America
  • Theater in the Square
  • United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta


Lesson 23: Harbus Foundation Case Study

Purpose: To introduce students to an actual grantmaking process from Harvard Business School using all of the concepts learned.

Duration:  2 hours

Keywords:  Foundations; Fund Allocation; Grantmaking

Objectives: Students will:
  • Read and understand the case study from Harvard Business School
  • Answer questions about the decision making process
  • Discuss how they would make the decision to spend the money

Materials: A case study such as, Austin, James and Carrigan, Linda (2002). The Harbus Foundation. (Harvard Business School Case Study).Boston: Harvard Business Publishing.

Instructional Procedure: Students work in groups to evaluate the case study and develop criteria for making a decision about how to spend money. They present their decisions in a 10-minute presentation to the class.

Assessment: Student presentations and worksheets


Lesson 24: Decision Day

Purpose: Enable students to methodically assess their choice of philanthropic giving and decide where to make a $500 donation.

Duration:  2 hours
Objectives: Students will:
  • Tell the class which organization they have selected to receive a check
  • Illustrate the similarities and differences of their choices and describe why they decided as they did

Instructional Procedure: Students defend their decisions with research and personal preferences.  After lunch, students contact their respective organizations and invite a representative to a luncheon the following week to receive a check.

Assessment: Each student will present a $500 check to the charity of his or her choice at the luncheon. At the lunch meeting, the recipient may comment on the student’s selection and understanding of the organization’s mission and need. 


Lesson 25: Accounting

Purpose: To acquaint students with the vocabulary and basic tools of accounting principles necessary for all nonprofits.

Duration:  1 hour

Keywords:  Nonprofit Careers; Nonprofits; Budgets

Objectives: Students will:
  • Learn basic accounting terms
  • Learn basic accounting principles
  • Understand the importance of accounting principles for both donors and nonprofits
Instructional Procedure: Presentation by a Certified Public Accountant and discussion
Assessment: Discussion followed by short oral quiz.


Lesson 26: Toxic Charity

Purpose: To explore many differing views on well-intended philanthropy with students. Review some of the dangers of philanthropy such as inappropriate intervention, inappropriate verbiage, and naiveté.

Duration:  2 hours

Objectives: Students will read and discuss selections from the text, Toxic Charity, covering topics such as public health, homelessness and welfare.

Materials: Class set of Lupton, Robert D. (2011). Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help, And How to Reverse It.  New York: Harper Collins Publishers.

(NOTE: An alternative book that has also been used in this class to have similar discussions about the dangers of philanthropy is: MacDonald, Heather (2001). The Burden of Bad Ideas: How Modern Intellectuals Misshape Our Society.)

Instructional Procedure: Homework assignment of chapters followed by class discussion.


Lesson 27: Presentation Regarding Institutional Advancement

Purpose: To emphasize the importance of fundraising for capital campaigns and annual appeals and to discuss the importance of personally supporting organizations which are important to individuals and their family.  Convey the message that the students are all recipients of someone else’s philanthropic giving to the school they attend.

Duration:  1 hour
Keywords: Fundraising; Annual Gift; Personal Giving Plan; Nonprofit Careers
Objectives: Students will:
  • Understand the financial operations, budget and fundraising of the school they attend
  • Understand the importance of their own financial support to their school in the future
  • Learn about careers in fundraising and in the nonprofit world

Materials: Annual report, PowerPoint presentation, brochures from the college, school or organization.

Instructional Procedure: Panel discussion by representatives of offices of institutional advancement

Assessment: A reflective essay on their willingness to eventually give to their own school.



Lesson 30: Viewing of the Film "Millions"

Purpose: To show that in mainstream American society, philanthropic giving is relevant to everyday life.  This film deals with how people determine what to do with their resources, how to effectively distribute them and how a community can be changed through philanthropy. 

Duration:  2 hours
Keywords: Community; Philanthropic Act
Objectives: Students will:
  • Watch a film about two children who unexpectedly find a large sum of money and their dilemma of what to do with it
  • Gain a deeper understanding of what a person should or could do with his or her resources

Materials: Boyle, Danny (Director) (2004). "Millions" (DVD).  Boyle, Frank Cottrell (Writer) Pathé Pictures International (Production).

Instructional Procedure: View film and follow with class discussion.

Assessment: Class discussion reflecting on the pros and cons of giving away all or part of a newly found fortune. 


Lesson 31: Oral Reports by Students on Select Chapters of Harvard Business Review on Nonprofits

Purpose: Introduce students to graduate level studies in this field and research on effectiveness of nonprofit organizations.

Duration:  2 hours

Keywords:  Nonprofit Organizations; Boards; Effectiveness; Social Enterprise; Partnerships

Objectives: Students will research and report on:
  • Boards and effective oversight
  • Corporate-nonprofit partnerships
  • Social enterprise

Materials: Class set of N.A. (1994). Harvard Business Review on Nonprofits. Boston: Harvard Business School Press. (This is a compilation of articles about nonprofit topics.)

Instructional Procedure: Class is divided into four groups to read, study, and research select chapters for oral presentations.

Assessment: Class discussion


Lesson 32: Philanthropist of the Year

Purpose: An annual speaker introduces students to those in the greater community who are recognized for their philanthropic contributions to society.

Duration:  1 hour
Objectives: Students will:
  • Hear from a person committed to a specific area of philanthropy and be introduced to an influential community leader
  • Be introduced to possible career choices in philanthropy
  • Learn how a person has successfully directed their passion and commitment to a specific cause
Materials: Speaker may wish to bring relevant materials

Instructional Procedure:  Invited Speakers can be representatives of the greater community in which the school resides.  A local foundation can be the source of nominees for speakers as well as nominating others who are known for their philanthropy in that community. 

Assessment: Class discussion and review of philanthropic community leadership and passion for a certain cause. 


Lesson 33: Luncheon for Recipients of Student Donations

Purpose: To have students present checks and explain their assessment criteria for making a $500 donation to the organization of their choice.

Duration:  2 hours
Objectives: Students will:
  • Make a presentation of a $500 check
  • Explain assessment criteria that they used
  • Describe their passion for this organization’s mission and work
  • Exhibit networking skills while meeting and talking with community leaders and representatives of nonprofits
Materials: A $500 personal check
Instructional Procedure:
  • Students meet, greet and talk with invited guests
  • Lunch and discussion at table
  • Before students present the checks, two students share their essays with the audience that summarize their class experience on the understanding of philanthropy
  • Checks are presented to representatives of the nonprofits in attendance


Assessment: Community response to the event.


Associated Files

  1. Philanthropy 101 Reading and Resource List
  2. Course Syllabus
  3. Sample Student Application
  4. How to Conduct a Site Visit
  5. Reflection Prompts
  6. List of Philanthropy 101 Lessons
  7. Philanthropy 101 Brochure
  8. Generosity Outline
  9. Exploring Generosity
  10. Assessing Charities Case Study
  11. Quantitative Evaluation Questions
  12. Qualitative Evaluation Questions
  13. Selected Readings, Tools, and Resources
  14. Assessing Charities
  15. Final Evaluation
  16. For-Profit and Nonprofit Entities

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Last Modified: 11/21/2014 2:22 PM EST