Monday, June 7, 2010

I'm giving you the gift of giving!

Have you ever heard about Donors Choose?  I'm going to tell you about it, and then give two readers the opportunity to donate (free) money to a Donors Choose project.  This is not a request for a donations; I promise.  Read on.



Donors Choose is a non-profit organization where teachers can request money or materials for their classrooms, and donors (you) can choose where you want to donate, what project you'd like to help fund.  This is a cause near and dear to me as a teacher, and a teacher who often spends my own money on books and other supplies that I need for my students.  I don't teach in a poor district, and still there is no school money for a lot of the things I would like to buy for my students.  Imagine the constraints of schools in high poverty areas.  Teachers just want to provide books, art supplies, technology and learning programs for their students, and Donors Choose gives them a place to ask for help.

So, if I really wanted to teach a novel that our school couldn't afford to buy, I might post a request on Donors Choose and someone who wanted to make a donation towards the needs of a classroom might find my needs interesting or compelling and make a donation.  Right now on Donors Choose there are teachers hoping to buy all sorts of things for their students:  An elementary teacher who needs an area rug for an active-play area.  A third grade teacher in a high poverty school in NYC who would love to have a camera and projector to enhance learning in her classroom.  A Maine elementary school teacher would love to purchase class sets of fairy tales for her students.  The lists go on and on, but the site is really user friendly.  You can search for teachers who need help in your state or your town.  If you are interested in art, you can find the teachers who just need some new art supplies.  If you are a book lover, you can search for teachers who would like some new class sets of books.  You can also search for "urgent need" or "high poverty" projects and schools.  You donate whatever you can toward a teacher's wish.  For instance, a classroom might need a set of books that costs $250, and you donate $25 toward that goal.

The cool thing about this organization is that when you make a donation, you see exactly where your money goes.  You see pictures of the classroom that needs help, and after you make a donation, you get a thank you note from the students and the teacher that you helped.  It's a feel good situation all around.

With many thanks to my friend Amy, I have two "Giving Cards" for $25 to give away.  Amy made some donations on Donors Choose and they gave her some "Giving Cards" and she gave them to me to give to you.  That's a lot of giving!

If you leave a comment on this post, you will be in the running.  I'll choose 2 commenters at random on Thursday and contact you if you won.  The "Giving Cards" are very easy to use.  You will use them like a gift card to make a donation to any classroom project of your choice, and you will receive a thank you note from the kids that you helped out.  Got it?   You'll be a hero!

Comment away!  I will post the winners on Thursday.

13 comments:

Jennifer said...

My sister-in-law teaches at a pilot school in Boston, and utilizes Donors Choose. I think its a fabulous organization!

Carly said...

I think my high school chemistry teacher has one of those pages. I think it's really great.

Nancy said...

Very cool! I love that the school children write thank you notes. It shows that they are learning about giving, too, not just by getting, but by needing and then receiving through someone else's kindness. A great "pay it forward" opportunity.

SNW said...

Those "Giving Cards" are a great gift idea-- letting someone choose a class to sponsor! My favorite holiday present last year was a donation in my name to the Bangor humane society.

Anne-Marie said...

What a neat concept.

Laurie in Maine said...

A wonderful gift idea!
I found a science class in need of safety glasses when I typed in "girls in science". Lots of art supplies on wish lists. Hate to think of students being held back for lack of basic needs.

Natalie said...

I love donors choose. I put a proposal on there last year for books for a classroom library; my timing wasn't good, so it didn't go through. BUT, in my neurotic checking, I was able to see some awesome projects that did get funded. I also know they have used it in Brewer to get books.

Leigh said...

I had never heard of this program until now and it was disheartening to go to the website and see how many schools are in need of items. Our school system is pretty well funded, but it would be nice to help one of the "urgent need" classrooms. This is a great idea Emilie!

Kirsten said...

Awesome! It's so good to be given ways to help people/causes that seem out of reach--when so often offering and accepting help IS within reach!

defining moments said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
defining moments said...

I love this! I know that schools always need support! I think that giving keeps us honest and authentic to who we are.

Celeste said...

This is a wonderful idea. I am very familiar with Donors Choose and giving cards. I think they are the best. I have a friend that teaches at-risk students in a low income area. You may have heard of it in the news and seen the video "The Corridor of Shame". She currently has a project up that needs funding. She's hoping to get basic supplies for the beginning of school in August. I'd LOVE to help her out more.

Carver Fam said...

You just keep spreading the goodness, Ms. Manhart. What's next, a school for girls in a third world country?

(If so, can I come??)