DonorsChoose.org is a nonprofit website where
public school teachers can submit proposals for supplies and materials
to support projects that they feel show promise of increasing student
achievement. Individuals interested in providing the support are
invited to search the web, identify proposals and elect to fund
DonorsChoose.org was developed by Charles Best,
a teacher in a Bronx public high school in 2001, and the concept
grew quickly. In 2006, the project raised nearly $5 million in 2006
in four cities for use in classrooms primarily in low-income communities.
DonorsChoose.org became a national organization in November 2007,
with a commitment to develop active giving programs in Baltimore
and three other mid-Atlantic cities in the next two years.
DonorsChoose.org is dedicated to addressing the scarcity and inequitable
distribution of learning materials in public schools, and aims to
improve public education by engaging citizens in an online marketplace
where teachers describe specific student projects that individuals
can fund based on their own personal interests.
Potential donors can search teacher proposals
on the DonorsChoose.org website by area of interest or geographical
location. Proposals range from Magical Math Centers ($200) to Cooking
Across the Curriculum ($1,100). DonorsChoose.org verifies each proposal
and coordinates the procurement of materials, and each donor receives
a feedback package of student photographs and thank-you notes, as
well as an expense report.
With a grant of $50,000 from The Abell Foundation, DonorsChoose.org
has successfully launched the website initiative in Baltimore City
public schools and the Baltimore community. Six months after its
entry into Baltimore, 771 city teachers have registered projects
for funding with DonorsChoose.org. In its first six months, visitors
to DonorsChoose.org have funded 370 teacher projects in Baltimore
City public schools, generating $135,000 in new resources for the
schools. Another 135 teacher projects are partially funded and 130
proposals are waiting for initial funding.
The Abell Foundation expects that DonorsChoose.org
will enable givers to link directly to Baltimore City teachers and
attract new contributors to the Baltimore City Public School System.
Interested individuals can log in on-line at www.DonorsChoose.org;
organizations may also choose to buy DonorsChoose.org gift certificates
for employees to use.