A nonprofit Web site, DonorsChoose.org, enables individuals to contribute directly to specific needs in specific public schools in Maryland, has generated more than $300,000 in grass-roots donations to classroom projects during the 15 months since it began operations in the state.
The Web site enables contributors to view and contribute to funding requests from teachers for school projects in 48 states. Teachers are seeking financial support ranging from several hundred dollars to more than $1,000. A partner for the Maryland site of DonorsChoose.org is The Abell Foundation, a GBC member that helps fund the site’s operating expenses, enabling individual donations to go directly to classrooms.
So far in 2009, donors have funded more than $44,000 in resources for classroom projects in Maryland schools. Currently, teachers are seeking funds for 160 class projects in Maryland relating to subjects ranging from math to reading.
DonorsChoose.org was pioneered by teachers at a Bronx public high school in the spring of 2000. Charles Best, then a social studies teacher, saw first-hand the scarcity of materials in our public school classrooms and the profound impact of this scarcity on kids’ education. Looking for a way to address this problem, he sensed an untapped potential in people who were frustrated by their lack of influence over the use of their charitable donations. The Web site connecting classrooms in need with individuals who want to help, was born.