We all know that budgets are tight in public education (understatement of the decade!), but an amazing organization out of New York has provided millions of children with the resources that are so desperately needed for their education. If you haven't heard about DonorsChoose.org or are new to teaching, I am here to testify! DonorsChoose.org has afforded my students learning tools that my school couldn't afford and was certainly not in my family's budget! Just today, I received my 11th grant for materials (in a 4 year span) totalling close to $4000 all together. My kiddos will be getting 80 leveled books ($425 value) to add to our classroom library for readers workshop.
The process really is E-A-S-Y. Teachers (public schools only) fill out a proposal and shop for items in a on-line catalog from retailers that we all probably shop from (Best Buy, Lakeshore Learning, School Specialty, etc.). Before submitting my first proposal, I read many others to get a feel for what other teachers needed for their students and how they presented the request. Once the DC staff approves it (for grammar, feasibility and other stuff), it is put on the DC site. Not all of my proposals have been funded (I think 2-3 did not). It's not a huge deal- I just resubmitted it and it was funded later. It can take up to 5 months to get funded sometimes. There are also many opportunities for funds to be matched by companies and other foundations. DonorsChoose will email you when there is an offer so you can promote it to friends on Facebook or however you choose. My parents love to take advantage to the matching offers in order to double their impact!
Donors are able to log on and donate to any project they like! I've been funded by complete strangers the most- How awesome is that?!! I have also opened it up to my family, friends and school families. In lieu of Christmas gifts this past year, I requested that they make a tax-deductible donation to DC instead. It's the gift that keeps on giving and goes right back to benefit their own child.
Now that teachers are not able to claim classroom expenses on their taxes anymore, I'll be donating to my classroom through DonorsChoose.org (which IS tax-deductible). I urge you to check out the DonorsChoose.org site for more information. This is an amazing opportunity for our children!
You can check out my page for some ideas.... Mrs. Smyth's First Grade on DonorsChoose.org
I want to give a shout to a favorite blog for continuing to inspire me for the last year- Charity at The Organized Classroom . She put out a Five-Star Blogger Challenge a few weeks ago (and I got side-tracked!). I hope it inspires you today like it did me!