By Heather Campbell
Fourteen Science Leadership Academy teachers are reaching out to the non-profit organization Donors Choose for funding school projects.
Donors Choose allows teachers to request funding and materials from those that are able to donate to. In exchange for a donation of $50 or more, the recipient class will send pictures and thank you letters to the donors.
“Donors Choose is the first place I think of when I have an idea that needs funding.” said Spanish teacher Melanie Manuel. She has received the most donations through Donors Choose, with a total of over $30,000; half of which was funded by her family and friends and the other half by strangers. A large majority of that money has gone towards the school’s service trip to the Dominican Republic last March.
Math teacher Caitlin Thompson has the second highest total for the most amount of donations received with a total of over $15,000 for almost 25 projects. “The various social networks are helpful for getting the word out about each other’s projects.” stated Ms Thompson. “About half of that money has come from people or companies that we aren’t connected to.”
“It’s nice just to get that kind of support.” Said English teacher Meeno Rami. “I’ll send a request out and I’ll tweet it out and someone from, like Nebraska will support it.” Ms Rami has been using Donors Choose to purchase new books for independent reading in her English class. “Last order we got $900, which got us more than 50 books.” she commented, “It has helped create a culture of reading.”
Despite being largely successful, not all teacher opt to use Donors Choose. Because the organization operates on a point system, some teachers decide to go through other teachers, who have more points, to look for funding through Donors Choose. Some teachers, like Digital Video teacher Douglas Herman, find that they require more funding than Donors Choose can provide.
All in all, Donors Choose has contributed to over $68,000 of the schools funding for projects since teachers first started utilizing the site. It has allowed teachers to cut out the paperwork process required by school district to fund the things it needs. This has been particularly beneficial considering the large amount of cuts that have been made to the school district’s budget.