MAKE GRANTS - Common Cents Curriculum


In the Philanthropy Roundtable, you are the guiding force behind the wonderful challenge your students will struggle with for the next 10 weeks: how to best put their Penny Harvest funds to use.

Becoming Community Change Makers: Beginning the Roundtable

Students on the roundtable have a unique opportunity: to make sure their Penny Harvest funds have maximum impact on the community and that this process includes the entire student body. Students will spend approximately 10 weeks researching community needs, deciding what issues to focus on and finding viable solutions by making grants to organizations and taking action through Neighborhood Service projects.  

As representatives of the school, Penny Harvest Leaders have a democratic responsibility to inform and involve other students who gathered pennies in their grant-making and service.  The first two weeks of the roundtable is spent orienting students to this important responsibility.  

Download the Common Cents "Becoming Community Change Makers" section

For the Colorado Penny Harvest Curriculum, adapted by teachers and coaches participating in the program, contact Kelly Hayes at

Quick Links for the Common Cents Curriculum Guide

Curriculum Connection: What Does Community Mean?

Interview Question Template for students to poll community members about issues and organizations

Research Assignment: Learn More About the Issues

Quick Links for the Alternative Curriculum Guide

Grant Making Guidelines for Students for roundtable students to reference during the grant making process

Wall of Caring Survey Form to help students see what issues interest their peers

Organization Score Card a form that student's may utilize to "rate" the organizations they are considering

Service Project Action Plan a form for students to fill-out as they plan their service project

Roundtable Checklist

Hands On Service examples of service projects

Coming to Agreement: Identifying Community Needs and Solutions

Chances are, your students have generated a very long and diverse list of potential needs to address.  Now comes the challenge of narrowing their focus to just three to five issues.  This is an important exercise in democratic decision-making and an important way to maximize Penny Harvest funds.  Once issues of focus are selected, students begin to identify potential organizations.  

Download the Coming to Agreement section

Resources to find organizations: – enter your zip code to focus on neighborhood organizations

YPF's Non Profit Finder

Gathering Information: Interviewing Community Based Organizations

With a list of potential organizations to fund and service projects to implement, students are ready to gather more information.  Making a site visit or hosting a presentation by an organization is a meaningful way for students to connect with the issues they care about.  The more information students gather, the more informed their decisions will be.  Direct contact with organizations is the best method for building long-lasting mutually beneficial relationships.  Remember, the Penny Harvest is about building connections!  

Download the Gathering Information section

Making Decisions: Allocating Roundtable Funds

Weeks of careful research and thoughtful decision-making will culminate now as students make their final decisions.  Students analyze the information they have gathered and then allocate funds to organizations and service projects.  Just like any grant-making body, students must fill out the necessary paperwork (the Roundtable Decision Report) in a timely manner!

Download the Making Decisions section

Click here to continue to Phase 3: Take Action