The third grade class at the Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts has been engaged in a very important discussion about the community, a conversation that J Mullineaux of the Community Foundation was happy to join. The teacher of this class, Miss Bonnie Raines, has been inviting a series of speakers from various non-profits to speak to her 22 students including Forget Me Not Farms, the Alzheimer’s Association and Catholic Charities. Prior to J’s visit each student wrote a paper, “If I had $1,000, I would give it to ……” Nine of the nine year old children said they would give the money to the homeless. Other responses included animal shelters, foster care programs, Camp Taylor, and one student even said he would give the money to the Charter School for the Arts.

When J asked the class, “How many philanthropists are there in the room today,” no one raised their hand. Given that he had just read 22 well-written essays on how the class would donate $1,000, he suspected there were at least a few philanthropists in the room. As he read the definition of philanthropy, the “desire to promote the well-being of others,” five hands suddenly went up! He continued, philanthropy is “the practice of giving money and time to help make life better for other people.” All of the remaining hands shot up!

We are big believers in the idea of our schools, synagogues, churches, and other institutions having philanthropy as a core part of their curriculum and practice. Lessons at each grade level introduce a common language of giving and serving and help youth understand the importance of civic responsibility.

If you had $1,000 to give away, who would you give it to?

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