Donors Choose, a website that allows anyone to choose and fund specific projects posted by teachers all around America, aided numerous teachers who lack sufficient funding because of education budget cuts. At CVHS, many faculty members have benefited from the recent grants of Chevron and the Claire Giannini Fund, the latter having donated $1.3 million at the beginning of September towards every project in California.
“Teachers on our campus have already received color laser printers, digital projectors, cameras, calculators, art supplies, books, dictionaries, netbooks, and more,” stated Assistant Principal Jesse Woodward.
“Without [their] contribution only a handful of students would have gotten to insert a jellyfish gene into a bacteria cell to make it glow,” remarked science teacher Melissa Kindelspire. She had requested a set of petri dishes and agar for her project less than a week before the Claire Giannini Fund provided the necessary money.
Donations from the website have also made possible a new system to encourage classroom participation, involving “clicker” remotes for individual students to answer questions presented by the teacher.
DonorsChoose.org has raised exponentially more money every year since 2000, when an East Coast teacher and now company CEO, Charles Best, founded it in response to public frustration at the quality of America’s schools. The site affirms its mission to “improve public education by empowering every teacher to be a change-maker and enabling any citizen to be a philanthropist.”
In the past ten years, over $6 million worth of classroom supplies have been financed in California alone. Nationwide, Donors Choose financed $60 million worth of materials and impacted three million students.
The site displays a list of projects awaiting sponsorship, which can be sorted by cost, academic subject, location, or urgency. Donors can then select the project that they wish to support, either in part or entirety. When a particular project is fully funded, the materials are sent to the classroom and the donors receive personal thank-you cards from the students and teacher.
“My kids will have to get used to writing thank-you letters in the future!” said Kindelspire, who plans to post more requests for supplies.
As generous as the patrons of education may be, some still have a cause to worry.
“Public schools shouldn’t have to depend on others,” said history teacher John Green, though grateful for the illustrated history novels that were funded for him. According to Green, this should serve as a reminder that the education budget of California remains far from adequate.