Common Cents Mission: Common Cents, creator of the Penny Harvest, nurtures a new generation of caring and capable young people between the ages of four and 24 by enabling them to strengthen their communities through philanthropy and service-learning.

Penny Harvest location: 

Join the Common Cents email list!
Donate to Common Cents and the Penny Harvest!
Tell A Friend about Common Cents and the Penny Harvest!

NYC / Metro NY
Run for Change!
Penny Harvest Field

Search the Common Cents and Penny Harvest web site  

Penny Harvest Report

Bookmark and Share

What's New at Common Cents and the Penny Harvest
Register for the Penny Harvest Run for Change! Represent your school, recruit your team or sponsor a school to keep the Penny Harvest going and growing!

Check out the issue of Time Magazine for Kids featuring the Penny Harvest (pdf)!

Connect with us and other Penny Harvesters online:

Twitter logoFacebook logoYoutube logo

Common Cents's Online Shopping Mall


Instant Poll
Who do you think should be responsible for teaching our children to be good citizens?
Religious institutions
Educational programs (like the Penny Harvest!)
All of the above

Penny Harvest NYC / Metro NY

Home > Penny Harvest > Location > NYC / Metro NY > Coaches > Curriculum > Make Grants
email this page | print this page


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.  

Skip down to:

Not only does the Penny Harvest transform pennies into community solutions; it transforms young people into decision makers.  Your most challenging role is to “take a step back” and empower students to reach their own decisions.  Just like a team coach, you provide the strategy while the students play the game!  
Download the Introduction to Make Grants section 


Penny Harvest Leader Permission Slip to re-engage parents and families of student leaders (T)

Dear Parent/Family Letter to re-engage parents and families of student leaders (T)

* (t) Translations are available in Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Haitian Creole, Korean, Russian, Spanish and Urdu


In this section, you will find:
  • Tips to re-engage your principal, your colleagues and families  
  • Penny Harvest grant making guidelines
  • What if my school has needs?
  • Self check to make sure you are ready for the roundtable
REMINDER: Making Grants is the second phase of the year-long program and typically takes about 10 weeks.  Most coaches find it useful to plan a standing one hour weekly meeting with students before or after school, during lunch or during the coach’s prep time.   

TIP: Your Penny Harvest Leaders will continue on to take on the responsibilities of the roundtable.  If you haven’t already recruited student leaders, revisit p. vi in the Intro to the Curriculum Guide.

Read about how PS 335 Student Leaders Pass on the Penny Pins
“When I first became involved [in the Penny Harvest] I felt that as a teacher I would have to be involved with more lecture and less facilitating.  Boy, was I wrong!  [The students] were so involved that for some time I became the student, learning and growing from their dedication and commitment.”
---Judith Correa, Penny Harvest Coach, NYC




Grant Making Guidelines for Students

Curriculum Connection: The Meaning of Philanthropy
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 Becoming Community Change Makers section
In this section, you will find:
  • Activities for students to explore the meaning of philanthropy and community
  • Activities to instill commitment and professionalism  
  • Penny Harvest Leader Permission slip to remind families about their child's honor
TIP: Start at the end.  Distribute copies of the Student Grant Making Guidelines (see QuickLinks) to give students some ideas of the end product of their decision-making.  

REMINDER: Meet with your Penny Harvest Leaders as soon as you have attended a January Penny Harvest Professional Development session.

“[Penny Harvest Leaders] are like elected officials.  They represent the entire school.”    
---Charlene Shulman-Glasser, Penny Harvest Coach, NYC





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

What if my School has Needs?  to acknowledge and discuss when students identify a need within the school
Now that students understand their role as community change-makers, it’s time to identify community needs that will later be addressed through grant-making and service.  Students explore the community through research, interviewing community members, and polling the school.  

Download the Assessing Community Needs section
In this section, you will find:
  • Activities for students to explore the meaning of community
  • Activities for students to gather input from the community
  • Activities for students to deepen their learning about community issues

TIP: Students might be tempted to specify organizations while brainstorming community needs.  Push them to consider the issues first – what is the problem the organization is trying to address?  Revisit the Wheel of Caring where each classroom expressed the issue they care about most.  

REMINDER: Everyone who contributed pennies should have a say in what community needs and solutions the pennies go towards.  Poll the school by surveying class to class or use a bulletin board.  
Read about how PS 19 Voices Their Expertise on Youth Needs

“The roundtable is about connecting students to their community and getting them to work together.”  ---Ann Dow, Penny Harvest Coach, NYC






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

NYC/Metro Only: for a student-friendly database to search for organizations by location and issue
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

In this section, you will find:
  • Tips to help students reach consensus
  • Tips to establish funding criteria
  • Homework assignment: identify potential organizations  
TIP: Even before researching potential organizations, students should consider funding criteria (a set of requirements they are looking for in organizations they might fund).  

REMINDER: As students are identifying potential organizations, they should start considering how they can maximize their budget by planning and implementing service projects in addition to making grants.  Go to Neighborhood Service: Take Action (coming soon!).

Read about how PS 112 Students Inquire to Inspire

“After we have raised all the money we can, we start thinking about what issues are the most important.  This year our issues were cancer, AIDS in Africa, endangered animals and stray pets, victims of the Pakistani earthquake, the environment, and wounded American soldiers.  We have discussions about the issues we've come up with.  We try to make sure that everyone is happy with our decision.”  ---Paige Mcmahon and Sasha Stahl, Grade 5, Student Leaders



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

In this section, you will find:
  • Tips on gathering information from organizations: planning site visits, conducting phone interviews, hosting presentations
  • Questions to ask potential grantees
  • Homework assignment: reviewing organization information  

TIP: Prepare students to call or meet organization representatives by creating scripts or doing role-plays.

REMINDER: Involve the school.  Invite other students on site visits or to CBO presentations.  

Read about how Murry Bergtraum High School Students Become the Voice of Their Community

“It’s about being wise about their civic responsibility.  It’s almost as if the shoe is on the other foot with these organizations coming in and making presentations to students.  It’s about students being able to be selective and articulate why.”  ---Barbara D. Brown, Principal, NYC



Philanthropy Roundtable Decision Report.  Check with your Penny Harvest Office for due date.
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

In this section, you will find:
  • Activities for students to review information gathered and make final recommendations
  • Ideas to inform the school about final funding decision
  • Tips for filling out the Roundtable Decision Report
TIP: If students choose not to allocate any of their budget to service projects, remind them that taking action with direct service can cost nothing!  Go to Neighborhood Service: Take Action (coming soon!).  Submit these projects as $0 service grants in your roundtable report.

REMINDER: Roundtable decisions are due in early April.  Gather all the information you need to fill them out in advance.

“The [final] decisions came down to a matter of long-term benefits versus immediate benefits.  One student, a 2nd grader, adamantly debated with 4th and 5th graders, because he couldn’t stand the thought of not helping people in immediate need.  Because of his efforts and his passion, the money was split between two very deserving organizations.”   ---Claire Waistell, Penny Harvest Coach, Seattle


Back to top

Home | Contact Us | Site Map | Privacy Policy | Web Credits


Close Window
Close Window
Close Window