Philanthropy 101 Course of The Westminster Schools

Unit of 34 Lessons
Grade Levels: 
11
12
Subjects: 
Language Arts
Social Studies
Philanthropy
Media / Technology
Science
Mathematics
Keywords: 
Issue Area: 
Civil society
Focus Question 

Who Am I in relationship to my community? How can I make a difference for a cause or issue about which I care? How can I make an informed gift? Why is philanthropy important to individuals and to a healthy community and society? What types of organizations exist in the nonprofit sector? What is effective philanthropy?

Unit Overview 

Philanthropy 101 is a not-for-credit, month-long summer course that introduces rising high school seniors to effective giving and informed critical thinking about community service through readings, research, site visits, and meetings with local leaders. It connects students to their local community and, through community-based experiences, helps them become more aware of society’s growing needs and their own interests. 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?  The course may be adapted to a semester format and to focus on a school's local community.   Watch the video, "Philanthropy 101: Making Donor Education a Habit of the Heart" to learn about the course through the words of its teachers, students and alumni. Before teaching the course, take this educator mini-course that prepares the educator for teaching and leading Philanthropy 101: Teaching Philanthropy 101: A High School Course

Service Experience 
As a culminating experience to their discovery of self, community and the local nonprofit landscape, students complete Philanthropy 101 by making a donation to a nonprofit organization of their choice during a celebratory luncheon.  This gift is based on reflection about what the student values and research about the nonprofit's work and effectiveness. The donations are made possible by a gift from a donor to fund the course and its annual stipends for students.  Students also participate in hands-on service and learn about aligning the giving of their money and time with organizations that have a real impact in their communities.  
Lessons in This Unit 
Unit: 
Philanthropy 101 Course of The Westminster Schools
Lesson 1 of 34
Grades: 
11
12

To introduce students to the concept of philanthropy and have them begin thinking about how they can be intentional about their giving of money and time. Students explore issues and identify an issue about which they are passionate; they get to know different types of nonprofit organizations; and they learn to determine the effectiveness of a nonprofit before they donate money or time to an organization that matches their interest.

Unit: 
Philanthropy 101 Course of The Westminster Schools
Lesson 7 of 34
Grades: 
11
12

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. 

Subjects 
Unit: 
Philanthropy 101 Course of The Westminster Schools
Lesson 9 of 34
Grades: 
11
12

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

Subjects 
Unit: 
Philanthropy 101 Course of The Westminster Schools
Lesson 11 of 34
Grades: 
11
12

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

Subjects 
Unit: 
Philanthropy 101 Course of The Westminster Schools
Lesson 12 of 34
Grades: 
11
12

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.

Unit: 
Philanthropy 101 Course of The Westminster Schools
Lesson 13 of 34
Grades: 
11
12

To learn how to conduct research and dedicate time to learning about nonprofit organizations, philanthropists, assessment of nonprofit effectiveness, social causes and issues, and related topics. Research time is scheduled periodically. 

Unit: 
Philanthropy 101 Course of The Westminster Schools
Lesson 14 of 34
Grades: 
11
12

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.

Subjects 
Unit: 
Philanthropy 101 Course of The Westminster Schools
Lesson 16 of 34
Grades: 
11
12

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

Subjects 
Unit: 
Philanthropy 101 Course of The Westminster Schools
Lesson 17 of 34
Grades: 
11
12

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

Unit: 
Philanthropy 101 Course of The Westminster Schools
Lesson 18 of 34
Grades: 
11
12

Purpose: To share with students how a successful local nonprofit was formed and how laws have been changed as a result of its advocacy work. In the case of Road Safe America, the nonprofit's advocacy work affected laws dealing with the trucking industry.

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.

Unit: 
Philanthropy 101 Course of The Westminster Schools
Lesson 20 of 34
Grades: 
11
12

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. 

Subjects 
Unit: 
Philanthropy 101 Course of The Westminster Schools
Lesson 23 of 34
Grades: 
11
12

To introduce students to organizations that focus on international and global problems, rather than local or national concerns.

Note: This specific lesson involves CARE, an international organization located in Atlanta where the Philanthropy 101 course was developed. We encourage other schools to identify an international nonprofit located in their community.

Subjects 
Unit: 
Philanthropy 101 Course of The Westminster Schools
Lesson 24 of 34
Grades: 
11
12

To introduce students to a variety of specific nonprofits and their representatives who address topics such as the organization's mission, financial support, and work.  

 

Subjects 
Unit: 
Philanthropy 101 Course of The Westminster Schools
Lesson 25 of 34
Grades: 
11
12

To introduce students to the grantmaking process (through a Harvard Business School case study) using all of the concepts learned in class this semester.

Unit: 
Philanthropy 101 Course of The Westminster Schools
Lesson 26 of 34
Grades: 
11
12

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

Subjects 
Unit: 
Philanthropy 101 Course of The Westminster Schools
Lesson 27 of 34
Grades: 
11
12

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

Unit: 
Philanthropy 101 Course of The Westminster Schools
Lesson 28 of 34
Grades: 
11
12

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. 

Subjects 
Unit: 
Philanthropy 101 Course of The Westminster Schools
Lesson 29 of 34
Grades: 
11
12

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 private, nonprofit school they attend. If a public school adopts Philanthropy 101, teachers might consider adjusting this lesson to introduce students to their school district's education foundation or to a local private school. 

Subjects 
Unit: 
Philanthropy 101 Course of The Westminster Schools
Lesson 33 of 34
Grades: 
11
12

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

Subjects