Chances are, you know a child.
Chances are, that child is in school.
Chances are, that school, for reasons unexplainable to most, doesn’t have what it needs to most effectively prepare that child for the future.
Chances are, you can change that.
Yes. Schools are funded through taxes. You already pay your share. But what if you could give just a little bit more, and make sure that donation went toward something specific—and something you actually believed in?
That’s where DonorsChoose.org comes in. The national website connects teachers with detailed needs and projects (detailed, meaning right down to the itemized breakdown, vendor and shipping costs) to ordinary citizens with open hearts and wallets.
DonorsChoose.org has funded 1,155 projects in Kentucky since its inception in 2007, raising $499,012 and helping nearly 30,000 students. In Jefferson County Public Schools alone, that amounts to 330 projects to help local kids.
While the organization is national, Louisville area schools currently have 53 individual projects on the list, and donors can choose not only which project they’d like to sponsor, but how much they want to give; from as little as $1.
In some cases, your donation could be matched by local or national businesses. Currently, companies such as Leap Frog, ABC Family and UPS sponsor Double Your Impact initiatives, where they will match the contributions of so-called "citizen philanthropists." Projects that qualify for these initiatives are marked with a special symbol.
Last week, Clear Channel Radio (97.5FM WAMZ, 93.1FM WLVE and 100.5FM WLGX in Louisville) announced the “Tools for Classrooms” initiative in which they, along with corporate sponsors such as Chase, will match individual donations dollar for dollar, up to $50 per contribution, with a total commitment of $250,000.
To participate in the Chase and Clear Channel Communities program, use the matching code CHASE when donating on the DonorsChoose.org page.
Matching programs aren’t just sponsored by national companies, however. Last October, the Community Foundation of Louisville announced that it would match contributions in a Double Your Impact initiative. Dollar for dollar, the foundation will match gifts up to a program total of $50,000. Click here to find eligible projects.
Each classroom project is vetted by DonorsChoose.org, which does the purchasing of the materials and has them shipped directly to the school. Sponsors receive photos of the project taking place, as well as a cost report showing how contributed money was spent. Those who donate over $50 will reap the benefits of handwritten thank-you notes from the children they've helped.
From the list of Louisville-area projects:
Mr. Miner requests headphones, because when he brings his class to the computer lab, the students hear the noise from every computer. His project is in need of $59.
Mrs. Wesley requests pencils, a pencil sharpener, a printer and an easel so that her 4th graders can write and share their ideas. Her project needs $895.
Mr. Sapienza’s English as a Second Language learners would love two eReaders to help them conquer the challenges they face as they not only assimilate to a new country, but try to learn in an environment very different from what they’re used to. Mr. Sapienza’s project needs $231.
Does the program make a difference?
Ask the students in Ms. Winebrenner’s class. They received a donation worth $556 which purchased two Tag Reading Systems and a variety of LeapFrog books.
Ask the students in Mrs. Porter’s music classes at Kerrick Elementary. Those 500 students now have recorders, music books and glockenspiels in their music classes.
Talk to the students at Stuart Middle, in Ms. Rogalinski’s class. They now have basic supplies—pencils, glue, folders, and colored pencils—with which they can participate in daily classroom activities.
Talk to the 30,000 Kentucky students who have already had their education enriched by ordinary people.
Can you help?
Louisville kids are counting on you.
Image: Courtesy DonorsChoose.org