For nine years to Michigan State University's University Outreach and Engagement team evaluated a new "philanthropy in education project," to be later known as Learning to Give.
Lead by Robert L. Church, Robert E. Floden and Diane L. Zimmerman, the team was initially involved in formative monitoring of the stakeholders’ satisfaction with the project and with the attitudes toward teaching philanthropy and toward the project of those teachers who volunteered to create lessons. As the project has matured, the evaluation team focused more on assessing the degree to which participating in the Learning to Give lessons affected student learning, behavior, and attitudes.
At the conclusion of the evaluation, it was reported that incorporation of the LTG materials in classrooms has been successful. The following is a sampling if those findings:
- Students demonstrate understanding of the concepts of philanthropy, individual responsibility to the community and tolerance.
- Students in LTG classes indicate in their responses to surveys that they are more involved in service learning, are more committed to giving and serving in the future, and are more willing to speak up in public forums than students responding to various national surveys.
- Teachers report that their students respond positively to the LTG lessons, applying the concepts in their interactions with each other and taking responsibility for maintaining a clean and happy classroom community.
One teacher remarked:
"my students were finally able to make a connection to what we were doing in the classroom and the local community. Many of them for the first time in their lives had the feeling that they were a valued member of the community."
And one elementary student put it very simply:
"I care more and I share more."