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The donations of sponsors, corporate and individual, make it possible for the Charity Checks Charitable Literacy Program to give students a hands-on giving experience and to start the habit of philanthropy.

Each student researches, reads, and writes about charities, thinks about his/her values, and then receives a $25 Giving Certificate to give to the charity he or she chooses. Some kids also make oral presentations and PowerPoint displays.

A contribution of $1,000 can turn any class of 25 students into a Giving Classroom. In addition to covering the cost of the Giving Certificates and the supplies, Giving Classroom teachers receive a stipend for creating curricula that can be used anywhere in the country. Lesson plans, classroom handouts, and assessment tools are among the elements to be made available through the Charitable Literacy program. To learn how you can sponsor a classroom, contact us.

For a sense of what goes on in the classroom, watch KNBC's coverage of a Giving Classroom at the Wonderland School in Hollywood, read what the Ventura Star said about the Giving Class in Simi Valley's Santa Susana High School, or check out what the Los Angeles Times said about the Giving Class in the A.E. Wright Middle School in Calabasas.

To understand what it feels like to make a Giving Classroom possible, here is how one of the Charitable Literacy angels describes the experience:

“If Mother Teresa and Warren Buffet Had Collaborated on
The Perfect Charity, They’d Have Come Up With Charity Checks”

A Giving Class, quite simply, brings the Mother Teresa/Warren Buffet combo into sharp focus. Here’s the way it works: you designate a classroom—or classrooms—at your favorite school, where you’ll donate, say, $25 for each student, plus a stipend for the teacher to teach the “giving” unit to the class. (If you don’t have a favorite school, Charity Checks would be happy to designate one; they have a waiting list of schools that would like to participate, but don’t have the funding.)

The students spend some serious time researching charities to see which charities would be worthy of their individual gifts. Most classes really get into it—the kids do art work about their charity, learn to write a business letter as a cover note to their gift, and even involve their math skills as they wrestle with what percentage of the class donated to what type of charity. Each child receives a certificate of giving from you as their benefactor (anonymous or signed, your choice), and they get a thank-you letter back from their charity. Finally, the class receives a framed award from Charity Checks, formally designating them a Giving Class.

I personally handed out the Charity Checks to each student. One by one, they got up in front of their peers, and did a small speech on which charity they chose and why. Their earnestness, their optimism, and their excitement brought me to tears. You have no idea what an impact $25 can have on a child until you experience it first hand. And then it really hits you: their joy in receiving the check is not for what they can spend it on, but for their exuberance and anticipation of what their charity will do with it. Talk about “return on investment”—seeing those beaming little faces, and feeling that maybe, just maybe, the experience will help create a new generation of “givers,” is priceless.

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Bruce Miller, Charitable Literacy Sponsor

"Charity Checks," "Giving Certificates," "The Giving Package," "Give the Joy of Giving," and "Teach the Joy of Giving" are trademarks, and "Charitable Literacy" and "Philanthropreneur" are servicemarks, of Charity Checks, Inc., a not-for-profit corporation.
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