High School Philanthropy

My father spends a lot of time working with various social service groups in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco, one of the poorest neighborhoods in the city. On Friday, I joined him to spend the day with some amazing students from Woodside Priory, a private high school in Portola Valley, CA. These students had spent the day in the Tenderloin and had spent the night at the neighborhood YMCA. Most of them then spent Friday volunteering at local nonprofits. I worked with a group of students who were interested in learning about how they could use philanthropy to make a difference.

I was really impressed with how engaged these kids were. One student was involved in her parents’ family foundation, one was on the board of a teen foundation operated out of the Jewish Community Federation, and another had written an essay about Andrew Carnegie’s classic essay Wealth and asked a number of thought provoking questions.

I think that there is a latent demand for philanthropic education among America’s high school students. A number of school-based programs (such as this one, this one and this one) have picked up on this and have begun offering classes that focus on charitable grant making. The opportunity to use these classes to teach our children about common values, American society, the nonprofit sector, finances, investments and taxes is really exciting. We already know that Generation Y is interested in the work of nonprofits and want to do what they can to get involved. I hope that more and more schools recognize this unique opportunity to engaging our children in such a positive area.

If any of the readers out there are aware of schools instituting philanthropy education in your area, please let me know.