by Kristie Burk
Well, we had Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. Tomorrow is #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back. And there is a great website dedicated to helping people give to teachers and students.
Let’s face it – teachers have great ideas or needs for their classrooms that often cannot be met financially. Charles Best, a social studies teacher in the Bronx, had this problem back in 2000. He often talked with his colleagues about materials they wanted to have. Like most good teachers, he didn’t accept the status quo. He decided to create a website called DonorsChoose.org where individuals could donate money, even just $1, to fund the projects.
Unfortunately, not many people funded the projects in the beginning, so Best did it himself anonymously! The teachers thought the website worked and more people started to use it. (We can talk about that later.) Oprah Winfrey entered the picture a few years later, and today, the website has raised over $289 million for 500,000+ projects!
So here’s how it works. Teachers can set up a free account and enter details about their requested project funding. The project appears on the website and individual donors can start giving. Once the project has reached its funding goal, DonorsChoose will ship the materials to the school. 69% of the projects are fully funded and the average wait time to be funded is about one month.
If you or your students would like to donate to a classroom project instead, you can search in a variety of ways to find the project that most interests you, including by topic, geographic location, age, etc. Once the project is fully funded, you’ll receive photos of the project taking place, a letter from the teacher, and insight into how every dollar was spent. Give over $50 and you’ll also receive hand-written letters from the students.
If you’ve received funding from DonorsChoose.org or if you’ve donated to it, we’d love to hear about it!