The Edmond de Rothschild Foundations

Common Cents

Education lies at the heart of national priorities both in Europe and the United States. Certain organizational models that are perceived as groundbreaking in educational innovation – such as Common Cents – deserve support. The “service-learning” model developed by Common Cents is based on philanthropy’s most fundamental values. It enables children between the ages of four and 14 to become active and aware philanthropists from a very young age.

The Penny Harvest: community service and experiential learning

One of the cornerstones of philanthropy is education. Commons Cents offers a new approach by striving to present philanthropy in a different light – not only as a source of fundraising, but also as an educational tool. Philanthropy is built on numerous values such as respect, excellence, caring for others and generosity, all of which lend legitimacy to effective social action.

By teaching these values to children, by allowing them to understand the social challenges facing their own communities and by giving them the means to invent solutions, we enable them to become socially responsible. Young people then understand their own power to become involved and make a difference; doing good becomes a way for them to enjoy school, since the program takes place through the schools. Children gain self-confidence and their experience at school improves, which makes learning easier and enhances interactions with families and
the community.

Common Cents designed a program with these many facets in mind. It has created a network of over 1,500 non-profit organizations. Nearly 800 schools in New York City. Children and their teachers receive support from team members to collect pennies, and then meet with various community organizations before deciding how to allocate grants from the money they have raised. Young people become philanthropists and are then responsible for monitoring their projects to ensure they have a social impact.

>  Common Cents:

A shared passion for philanthropy and education

Education is the core mission of the Edmond de Rothschild Foundations. We endeavor to discover and test new models of teaching and learning.

We are convinced that numerous modern social challenges may be overcome through education, the most precious legacy we can give our children. Education that is rich, diversified, pragmatic and appropriate should provide each individual not with ready-made solutions but with the tools to enable personal growth.

This applies to philanthropy as well. Far from being an exact science focused solely on measuring social impact, philanthropy comes from the heart and must be approached as an art. It is important to make young people aware
of the values on which philanthropy is based, and share our commitment to giving back. Philanthropy provides the means to perceive current economic and social challenges as well as the various solutions put forward to meet these challenges.

Combining theory and practice, encompassing questions and answers, philanthropy represents a form of teaching that leaves each individual free to choose. The Foundations share with Common Cents an eagerness to spread the art of philanthropy and support the implementation of its program in New York’s elementary and middle schools.