Section 1
What in the World is Philanthropy?
You as a Philanthropist
60 minutes
  • Handout — “Who is a Philanthropist?”
  • Local newspaper (print or online)
Physical Setting
Large room, workshop arrangement, with room for participants to find a quiet space
  • 5 minutes for the introduction
  • 10 minutes for handing out materials
  • 20 minutes for group work with newspaper
  • 10 minutes for processing
  • 15-30 minutes for reflection

This important activity introduces participants to the definition of philanthropy. They discover philanthropic stories from local newspapers and websites and begin to increase their knowledge of the word and actions.


  • To introduce young people to the idea that they are or can be a “philanthropist”
  • To have participants reflect on their ideas of what a philanthropist is and individuals they know in the community who fit the description
  • To re-emphasize the definition of philanthropy


The facilitator introduces the activity by explaining that very few people call themselves “philanthropists”, but many people practice philanthropy. It is hoped that participants begin to see themselves in this role and be proud to call themselves “a philanthropist.”

There are many reasons why people don’t use this word:   hard to pronounce, sounds like you are bragging, only associate the word with a certain type of individual. This activity will make this word and role come alive for you and help you pass it on to others.

The facilitator passes out the worksheet: Who is a Philanthropist? Participants are directed to fill out the worksheets individually, thinking about good causes   in their own communities. The facilitator should encourage them to consider schools, parks, neighborhood associations, faith-based organizations, etc.

The facilitator brings the participants back together and has them set aside the handout till later in the activity. 

The participants move into small groups and each is given a newspaper or asked to look up the information online. The instructions are to find newspaper stories about philanthropists, the type of people they thought about when completing the worksheet.  Discuss and note why these people are philanthropists.   The group will appoint one person to report their findings to the larger group.

The following questions are posted for everyone to see.  As participants report, they should respond to these questions:

  1. What was the name of the person?
  2. What characteristics does this person have that made your group decide he/she was a philanthropist?
  3. Where did these people spend their time, talent, and treasure?

Each group reports out. Next the facilitator asks the participants to review their own handout and answer the same questions.   Were similarities found?