DonorsChoose.org: A Better Way to Give -- and to Receive

A nonprofit Web site allows teachers to post requests for projects or supplies that potential patrons can then select to fund.

A nonprofit Web site allows teachers to post requests for projects or supplies that potential patrons can then select to fund.
DonorsChoose.org
Credit: Bill Duke

Yes, it's the thought that counts. (Remember that when you get yet another set of cutesy guest towels from your mother.) But it counts a whole lot more when giver and givee are thinking the same thing. DonorsChoose.org makes charitable giving -- and receiving -- a little more seamless, and it's about to expand its operations to benefit a lot more educators.

The nonprofit Web site allows teachers to post requests for projects or supplies that potential patrons can then select to fund. When Cynthia Rosado, a first-grade English as a Second Language teacher at P.S. 169 in Brooklyn, gave it a shot two years ago, she asked for $1,200 for two sets of guided readers. She got the funding (and the books) in a matter of days.

Since then, Rosado has had more than forty proposals funded -- for things from books to art supplies, from Legos to a laminating machine. And personalized philanthropy can get even more personal. Several of the people who have contributed to DonorsChoose projects at her school have come to visit the classrooms. "They want to know that their money is really getting to the kids," says Rosado.

Benefactors donate by check or major credit card to DonorsChoose, which then buys the goodies and sends them to the teachers. About half of the proposals get funded within sixty days, and, overall, 75 percent are backed.

DonorsChoose gives contributors of every tax bracket greater control over their largesse and a closer relationship with their benefactors, who are encouraged to send thankyou notes. "Even though you might have only fifty dollars to give," says Ilana Goldman, the company's vice president, "we're going to treat [our donors] the way the Ford Foundation treats someone who has $1 million to give."

Until recently, this eBay for educational philanthropy was available only to teachers in the New York City school system, where it has channeled more than $2 million (more than 60 percent of which came from outside the Big Apple) into over 1,400 classrooms. Now, however, schools throughout North Carolina can participate, and San Francisco Bay Area and Chicago teachers can get on the gift list this winter.

No need to send that letter to Santa Claus after all.

This article originally published on 11/10/2004

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Special Education Teacher from Boothville, LA

My name is Vicki Alexander,

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My name is Vicki Alexander, and I am a special education teacher. I am a very passionate teacher that gives 100% everyday of the year to make sure my students are successful. I teach several different grade levels from Pre-K to 2nd grade, and my students like to work at literacy centers. Please let me know if you would like to donate some supplies for the centers: stick/bottle glue , paper bags, cardstock paper, construction paper, file folders, handwriting paper, and Kindergarten jumbo pencils. Please send to : c/o Vicki Alexander, Boothville Venice School, 1 Oiler Drive, Boothville, LA 70038. Thank you so much for your help.

My name is Janie Bloomberg

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My name is Janie Bloomberg and I run a Fast Forword Computer Lab at my school. This programs helps retrain your brain and focuses on memeory , awareness , percetion , and Sequencing. We are in need of 50 carollers ( dividers ) to go between computers. If you can help us please send to:
Janie Bloomberg
c/o
Brinson Elem. School
319 Neuse Forest Ave,
NewBern NC 28560

Thank you so much ! :)

I work for Craven County

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I work for Craven County Schools in NC
I run a Fast Forword Computer lab. I was wonder if anyone would like to donate , pencils , erasers , crayons , sharpeners , pens , rulers to be awarded to students who achieve their potencial on a weekly basis. If you would like to donate please send to :
Janie Bloomberg
c/o
Brinson Elem. School
New Bern NC 28560

Thank you so much

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My name is Janie Bloomberg , I work in a Fast Forword Computer LAB. I'm LOOKING FOR DONATIONS OF PENCILS , PENS , ERASERS , GLUE , CRAYONS , things I can give my students as incentives for when they reach their highest potencials. If you would like to donate please send them to: Janie Bloomberg
c/o Brinson School 319 Neuse Forest Ave. New Bern N.C. 28560 / THANKS

Radhika Murari (not verified)

Free supplies for teachers

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Supply Our Schools is a non-profit where US public school teachers can request specific supplies and donors buy those supplies for teachers. It is like a gift registry for teachers.

See some of the Supply Lists teachers have set up:

From a teacher in Oklahoma.

From a teacher in Maryland.

Read some of the notes students and teachers have written when they got supplies.

CECIL MARAGH (not verified)

Free Equipment

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I KNOW THAT TEACHERS WOULD WELCOME DONATIONS TO ASSIST IN THE CLASSROOM. TEACHERS ARE NOT ACTIVE TO APPLY FOR DONATIONS/GRANTS. ANY METHOD TO FACILITATE THIS PROCESS OF GETTING DONATIONS IS A P[OSITIVE MOVE AND IT IS REFRESHING TO KNOW THAT THIS OPTION IS AVAILABLE.

CECIL MARAGH

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