Nov 21, 2017

Guest Post: Giving Thanks for Giving in Personal Finance

Thanks to NGPF Fellow Kerri Herrild of De Pere High School (De Pere, Wisconsin) for taking a chance on this new project and sharing it with the broader community: 

I am excited to share a powerful project that my Personal Finance students recently completed.  Students were introduced to the concepts of charitable donations using the NGPF unit on philanthropy.  They were then assigned The Giving Project in which they were to research a charity that was meaningful to them and create a promotion for that charity based on this rubric.

The purpose of this project was for students to view charitable donations as an investment into a cause that means something to them. Students compared various charities using the Charity Navigator website to understand that not every charitable organization is created the same.  Their personal project required them to find organizations that they could defend and stand behind.

The real impact of this project was due to my partnership with an anonymous donor who was willing to support my students in their giving campaigns.  This donor pledged each student in class $10 toward their chosen charity (students had to score at least 80% on the rubric to earn this donation).  In addition, to foster discussion on philanthropy at home, our donor pledged to match up to $1,000 per class period for any money that families donated toward their child’s charity.  This format allowed every student, regardless of financial resources, to donate to their charity.  It also allowed families, who were able to afford to donate, the chance to double their donations.  On top of it all, students were able to benefit from the highest level of philanthropy, in which a person donates anonymously with no expectation of anything in return.

Here is a list of accomplishments from this project:

  • 49 charities received a total of $5913 in donations!
  • Students learned that when a lot of people each do a little, we all are raised up together.
  • Students understand that not every charity is worthy of their donations of time or money, and they need to be aware of who they share their resources with.
  • Students and parents talked about money, budgets, charities and giving at home!
  • Students experienced the intrinsic value of giving.  Read Student responses to our project here!

So, here are a few things that I am thankful for this Thanksgiving.  I am thankful to my students for caring.  I am thankful to their parents for teaching them the importance of giving and supporting their efforts.  I am thankful to our donor for believing in teens and the causes that matter to them, and providing a moving example for our students of what philanthropy is.  I hope that this is a project that will stay in the hearts and minds of my students for years to come.  It will certainly stay in mine!

I would love to see this project replicated in schools across the country.  It takes some coordinating with a donor who is willing to participate, and that is possibly the most difficult part of this.  I would be more than happy to discuss this project with other teachers who want to implement something similar in their classroom!  Email me at and Happy Thanksgiving to all!

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