An online charity connecting you to classrooms in need
Charles Best tells us how DonorsChoose.org makes it easy for anyone to help students in need
- Duration 9:25
- Date Oct 15, 2012
Charles Best tells us how DonorsChoose.org makes it easy for anyone to help students in need
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First of all you know we always talk different tort type of charity and always.
Social media this seems to tie in very nicely with this one.
And with a lot of the other charities that we talk about on the show this particular online charity is actually connecting you with classrooms in need.
Comment as we know we always want to tried to help our our our -- occasion system in this country because you're contributing to the future.
I'm Charles bass disease CEO and founder of donors choose -- that's and end.
What first I guess inspired you to start -- choose -- exactly what is it how can we get involved what does -- do.
Well -- -- of these -- -- go to jail yet thanks for asking I was a history teacher at a high school in the Bronx for five years.
And during my first year teaching my colleagues and I would find ourselves talking about all these materials that we wanted to our students to have many of which we were.
Buying out of our own pockets but many of which we saw our students going without.
And I figured that there -- people out there who wanted to support.
Students like ours and teachers like us if they could see where their money was going so we created a website -- public school teachers create classroom project requests.
And then donors can choose the classroom project that they want to support.
And get photographs and thank -- -- from the classroom.
You know it's amazing because in the New York City public school system.
You don't get a lot of the things that a lot of -- Urban schools get -- in school supplies -- just.
Generic school supplies that a lot of schools in this country actually supply to kids.
They don't get here and it is amazing that student teachers like yourself -- spending money out of their own pockets which is.
Really incredible that you that you've ever -- not to spend money on on another person's child to better educate them.
I guess how do you stay connected with the school project and and how do you come across sponsors -- order to.
To help your cause.
Well so so step one for anybody coming to donors choose dot org is simply too.
Express a personal passion and then look at the classroom projects which -- that passion so if you grow up and enough Omaha Nebraska you could look at all the classroom projects that Omaha teachers have created on our site or if you read.
Green eggs and ham last night to your kid you could do a search for all the teachers requesting green eggs and ham for their students.
So you find the projects that really speaks to you personally and you can give as little as one dollar to the projects that that makes her eye twinkle.
And then what begins -- not just the consummation of the donation but.
The beginning of a real relationship you can message back and forth with the -- from you chose to help.
You get photographs of your project in action a thank you note from the teacher -- impact letter from the teacher describing the learning that's taking place and and you really get vivid feedback.
Showing you the impact of your generosity.
What has been the reaction from parents.
I would think parents to be so great pulls a lot of these families who can't afford to buy.
School supplies and and books and and it's so expensive to send a child to school even if it is a public school.
The response from parents has been awesome as it has from from teachers and and of course from students that the vast majority of the teacher is creating classroom projects on donors choose them or come from low income communities will be really our.
Areas where -- -- our teachers often being asked to teach without an essential materials and and teachers who.
Are constrained and their ability to innovate because when they come up with an idea for a field trip or four.
-- theater production right or for an art projects there's no way for them to secure the funds that they need so if you give over fifty dollars he'll actually received something in the mail right that's exactly right he can give us a little as one dollar in the project of your choice and -- photos of your project thank you know from the teacher -- -- letter from the -- But if you get fifty dollars or more you also get physical student thank you letters that are almost always handwritten.
-- all funny.
And and really what do you.
Feel like you got to meet a classroom -- rain we're supporting their need what's the price range for helping out those classrooms and need.
So the average project on our site is 500 dollars that means there are projects that need just.
Thirty bucks to cross the finish line down and 101000 dollar projects for teachers are really dreaming big and what kind of projects that give me an example I -- event of a 101000 dollar project -- Tim shore -- 101000 dollar project might be a field trip to Washington DC to see the Supreme Court consider a case or it could be.
Computer lab that a teacher wants to.
Install and their classroom and in the 100 dollar project might be.
Paints and paint brushes -- an art teacher needs to do an art project.
Do you have laptops and in schools.
Because I know that a lot of kids now are supplied with laptops which is insane because it's so much money to think of the amount of money that parents are.
Buying their kids laptops and and then if you you know one kid in the class have a nice laptop and then someone from a lower income.
-- the -- level community doesn't have a laptop then there is that the feeling of jealousy and inequality and how do you generate computers into the classroom for those who can't afford to buy them.
If it is a lot of money and that there a lot of class or project these computers are essential in the classroom I mean at every school has computer.
So that's right and -- and for that reason we see hundreds and hundreds of classroom projects requesting the autopsy computers requesting tablet computers.
Consistently the most commonly requested technology device on our site is not a laptop or a stationary computer or even Smart board or an iPod.
It's a document camera.
Which is -- next generation overhead projector where anything the teacher is doing underneath a camera whether that's reading a book with.
Their finger going underneath every word or doing a science experiment that.
Every student in the class needs it is a feeling closely -- projected huge like you're on a dry rain moving the -- that's the most commonly requested technology device really RA what kind of response I guess you know.
Would you like to see in the future what.
What what are the goals of the web -- I mean how much money have you guys raised up until this point and and and what's the ultimate goal.
-- teachers -- half of all the public schools in America have created classroom project requests on donors choose -- over the last few years nearly a million what we -- citizen philanthropists -- have given well over a hundred million dollars to projects on -- site that averaged six million kids from low income -- wow and how long have you -- been doing the last twelve years I was I was a history teacher for five years and and since then it's been -- she's not wearing your school in particular there was a lot of -- I -- -- I've visited schools.
In that distract and there is a lot of -- there that's right.
That's right I was teaching at a school that was newly constructed and then I was lucky -- in that regard but even there there were projects that my colleagues and I wanted to do -- which there was no funding.
That's what prompted a simple.
Blur donations you know there's there's -- personal writing utensils and -- -- I mean that alone.
A lot of schools are not equipped with them and and kids have to bring in their own -- writing utensils that's right that's right and we -- -- projects on our site requesting pencils and paper.
Just pencils and paper and that that the schools need that they don't have enough -- to hand out to all the kids.
I mean is there anything else you think that the government should be doing said to be -- pitching and so that it's not left up to the community because.
Is it not the government that is responsible for our public schools I mean is that not why we have public schools in the first place -- Salute Lisa is there of course there's some folks who believes that the system needs to provide more fun now -- other woman who believe that we need to.
Deploy existing funds in -- more efficient way yeah don't take a stance on that debate -- what we do hope is that.
All of the teacher is posting projects right site.
A trove of data data that we've opened up in hopes that people will make discoveries about what teachers most need in particular communities.
And -- these discoveries could help make government education spending smarter better targeted more efficient.
Yeah and you find the zoning issue to be as you know because I know in New York City as well there there are a lot of -- conflicts with the No Child Left Behind and zoning issues where.
-- you live in a particular neighborhood that you want to send your kid to a school in a different zone because of the better school.
How does that play a role in in these projects I mean you -- found that -- issues in in certain zones where there's a lot more -- than others and that they.
Are left behind so to speak.
We do see a lot more teachers post creating classroom project requests on donors to vote in districts where there have been budget cuts that that -- sort of intuitive.
On our site is used by people very often to support a classroom in their own community but -- -- other side of the tracks and this means that many of donations.
Cross neighborhood boundaries right -- -- and that makes us excited.
That's good so there's him there's no boundary as far as helping these kids out and there and they're not going to select and choose where.
The services supplies go to the goes to everybody that we win that -- the need is there that's right.
That's awesome we'll thank you so much he's an inside good for you to be a teacher and and and in take this upon yourself because -- need is there and I guess you wouldn't know any better unless you were in that classroom yourself.
And the parents of course -- -- too since they have to buy all the stuff and it's just so expensive these days.
Charles last thank you so much for coming in defending NCAA -- CEO and founder of donors choose and I just want to put the web -- up one last time.
For everybody whose interest -- got to get on there.
What you have kids or not this is a great cause and then certainly.
One that you should check out donors choose dot org is the website if you -- -- learn how you can help out thank you again thank you --