After School Students Focus on Philanthropy

Program Leader Jordan Rogers spoke with Blake Wilson, a new student in our after school program, during Thursday's philanthropy lesson.

Program Leader Jordan Rogers spoke with Blake Wilson during Thursday’s philanthropy lesson.

By Jordan Rogers, Program Leader

Over the course of the fall, our young men will be going through “Philanthropy 101” with Program Coordinator Reggie Mays Jr. and me. In this unit of our Character Education program, our students will learn the basics of what it means to be a philanthropist in today’s world.

Last week, our young men moved from a static working definition of philanthropy to a more dynamic version. Our course has used group discussions and multimedia presentations to push them to think about how and why people, including themselves, give to others in our society.

When they were first pressed for examples of their own philanthropic giving, they talked about giving money to buskers and homeless people on the subway. While nice gestures, these were not exactly what we were looking for. We encouraged them to adopt a bird’s eye view, with a focus on broader social problems. In addition to helping individuals, we discussed philanthropic giving designed to empower communities and address structural inadequacies.

Philanthropy 101’s content ties into the fundraising and awareness campaign that we are collaborating on with Golf Fore Africa this fall. Our efforts will help to build wells in Zambia, a goal that drives home a maxim many of our students were already familiar with: “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”

We’ve already made great progress. Our young men understand how philanthropy applies to their lives, and how they can work to make a real difference in the lives of others.