Monday, September 29, 2014
Editor's note: Charles Best leads DonorsChoose.org, a nonprofit organization which provides a simple way to address educational inequity. At DonorsChoose.org, public school teachers create classroom project requests and donors can pick the projects they want to support.
In 2000, I was teaching history at a Bronx public high school. My colleagues and I dreamed of the microscopes, books, and field trips we wanted for our students, but we lacked the funding to bring them to life. That sparked the idea for DonorsChoose.org, a crowdsourcing platform for teachers looking to secure micro-funding for their classroom needs.
A few months ago, we entertained what we thought was a hypothetical question from Google: "What would it take to support every project in the San Francisco Bay Area?" We quickly realized there was nothing hypothetical about it when Google funded all 700+ projects a few weeks later.
And it didn't stop there.
Over the past few months, we've worked with to Google to flash-funded every project on DonorsChoose.org in 11 different communities.
We were inspired as we saw Google’s generosity and impact: $3.5 million in projects supporting 3,293 teachers and 288,331 students in 2,051 schools. For one-third of those teachers, it was their very first project to be funded on DonorsChoose.org.
Now, Mr. Craig can expand his school garden in Detroit, where his students with physical and mental disabilities grow fresh produce and sell it at the local farmer’s market. In Pittsburgh, Ms. Casciato’s AP Calculus students got graphing calculators and a bonus — individual notes of inspiration from their local Googlers. And Mrs. Barbeau’s students in Los Angeles now have a 3D printer to help them design and build a robot roller coaster.
Yet the impact reaches beyond the art supplies, musical instruments, and technology that over 150 Googlers hand-delivered. News of this generosity inspired more teachers in each community to sign up and post projects. In cities like Seattle and Los Angeles, we saw five times as many teachers sign up this year as we did during the same time last year. We've also seen more partners and donors step up to support their local classrooms. Google’s kindness has proven contagious.
This flash funding is just the latest initiative in our valued partnership with Google that has also brought coding and advanced science, technology, engineering, and math courses to students across America.
If you’re interested in supporting a classroom classroom, head to DonorsChoose.org to find your favorite project.