Support schools directly with DonorsChoose!

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BB is pleased to participate in this year's DonorsChoose blogger challenge to support high-need public schools in the US. DonorsChoose is a bottom-up platform to link donors with classrooms that need very specific things, from books and furniture to computers and musical instruments. Former teacher Charles Best came up with the brilliantly simple idea: individual teachers ask for the things they need, and individual donors choose what they want to help make happen! Charles helped Boing Boing pick ten classroom projects that we're hoping you'll join us in supporting. For example, a high poverty middle school is seeking help to print the Spring issue of their school newspaper. One "post-Katrina" school is hoping for a new digital piano for music classes. A 7/8 grade charter school with limited funds could really use a video camera for a Digital Arts program. I hope you'll check out this list of projects and consider helping out, even with just a few bucks! And if there are other projects on DonorsChoose that you prefer to support, please mention them in the comments and they'll get added to the BB page on the site! Thanks so much! DonorsChoose: Boing Boing Challenge


  1. My wife is a teacher, and I can say this is a great idea. Maybe the school she formally taught at can request funds to hire a math teacher who knows there are 360 degrees in a circle, instead of 380! Sad, but true – note I said my wife *used to* teach there!

  2. So, transferring the burden of public education to random donors is a good thing? Why not take the money and energy this site captures and use it to support an educational system in which bake sales and other forms of begging are replaced by adequate funding?

    I have trouble enough stepping over the urine soaked subway beggars. It would be great if we didn’t add every public school teacher in America to that group.

    Anyone else wondering if maybe capitalism doesn’t actually ‘work’?

  3. Half the blogs I read, it seems, are participating in the Blogger Challenge this year. Which is awesome on almost every level, but makes it harder for me to pick whose team I should ally with to donate my paltry sum.

    Of course, if the Tomato Nation team hits their goal, Sarah Bunting will go to the White House while dressed as a tomato. So, I’m leaning that way.

  4. Why not take the money and energy this site captures and use it to support an educational system in which bake sales and other forms of begging are replaced by adequate funding?

    Go on then. Don’t let us stop you.

  5. Antinous, thanks for your support. I’m actually not able to take the money and energy from DonorsChoose and redirect it as I suggested above, because it’s not my operation. Perhaps with the combined might of our two voices, the founders of this innovative fundraising tool will have a change of heart and repurpose it.

    Of course, there’s a chance that they belong to the ‘charity’ wing of social change movements and think it’s fine to fund education, health care and other needs on a voluntary basis instead of taxes. My comment was really aimed at folks who don’t get the contradiction between supporting strong schools and using charity to get there.

    If you want to keep begging alive as a profession, give money to beggars. By the same token, if you want to assist the state in abdicating it’s responsibility to provide quality education to all – then by all means, continue to give charity to educators. I’d rather pay taxes along with everyone else.

  6. Donors Choose is an amazing resource. I work for Los Angeles Unified School District. The difference between the schools in our affluent communities and the schools in the inner city where I work is that those in affluent areas get donations from parents. Prior to being a “beggar” I used to put in quite a bit of my own money to buy the students things to enhance their education. My first year I put in about $2,000 of my own money toward my first grade class. Now that I have a baby, I can’t afford to spend this way. I am very grateful for Donors Choose. Check out my current proposal: “Transition to Kindergarten for Spanish Speaking Families” if you want to help out my English Learners!

  7. This is something I can get behind. Oh, how I hate those school fundraisers where they require you to buy $10 worth of crap you don’t need and you could buy for $3 elsewhere; and where the school only gets $2.

    As to the question as to whether these things should come out of the taxes that are paid to the city and county…it’s an inequitable system. Some districts don’t need your hand outs. Others can’t get by without them.

    And don’t think that with the wave of a magic tax wand you could improve things for the impoverished schools. Texas tried what was called the Robin Hood Act back in the 90’s. Cities and counties that had voted to pay higher property taxes to benefit their own schools were going to see their funds pooled with the rest of the state’s. Then the funds were going to be doled out equally to all schools. The state never carried it out due to such an outcry from the wealthy counties.

  8. @NUORDER & @ANONYMOUS-4:48 heard your requests and we just added your two projects to the BoingBoing giving page “Spark Students Learning through Game-based Technologies” and Transition to Kindergarten for “Spanish Speaking Families”. Unfortunately there are only 4 days left on the last one. Check them out on the BoingBoing giving page.

    Good luck,

    the team!

  9. I am one of the fortunate teachers whose proposals are featured on this blog’s challenge (it’s the M.C. Escher one). This is my third year using Donors Choose to enrich my students’ learning, and I don’t consider myself a beggar in any way! I am a professional who knows how to assess available resources and find ways to fill in the gaps. Grant writing is nothing new, folks. It’s been going on for a long time.

    What’s different is the way Donors Choose has democratized grant writing and grant funding by taking the power usually held by school administrators and charitable foundations (both out of touch with the needs of our students, I think it’s safe to say) and putting it directly in the hands of classroom teachers and citizens who want to make a difference. The beauty of Donors Choose is in the way it cuts bureaucrats out of the whole transaction. That is never a bad thing.

    Of course Donors Choose is not an adequate funding source for the basics a school needs to function–furniture, paper supplies, textbooks, and the like. City and state officials need to put their money where their mouths are and get resources to needy schools, and No Child Left Behind is, well, leaving the neediest kids behind. However, until we manage to create an educational utopia in the U.S., Donors Choose will continue to serve an important function in classrooms like mine.

  10. Hi All!

    This is Mr. R, I was one of the featured projects looking for a video camera. Thank You!! You guys are awesome, thanks for funding our project.

    We have a wide vision for establishing a Digital Arts programs at our school including Video Production, Digital Photography, Web Design and more! I have been developing Digital Arts program for the past four years and I cannot emphasize enough the interest level from students in this upcoming generation. More and more students are getting cameras, video cameras and cell phones. These students are using sites like Flikr and Youtube every day! It becomes our job to teach how to do it better! Better yet and the ultimate goal is that students can use these skills to show mastery of other subjects.

    Just like when computers first became part of the curriculum, it is hard to find the funding for these types of programs. Our vision is eventually to have enough cameras and video cameras to give the experience to a large number of students.

    I have posted the next step in our project, being a couple of quality digital cameras, you can find the proposal here:

    Please help me to spread the link and the news!

    Thanks again for all of your help and support!

    Mr. R

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