Sunday, January 11, 2004

Donors Choose

Donors Choose is a wonderful funding organization which allows NYC public school teachers to post short (1-2 paragraph) grant proposals for small projects that they would like funded but can't or don't want to pay for themselves. Donors go to the site and browse the proposals, then partially or fully fund one that interests them. The teacher gets the project materials, and in return completes a thank-you package - thank you notes from the children, photographs of the children doing the project, and a thank you note from the teacher. I have had several projects funded through Donors Choose, including a small copier for my school before we got our copier from the district, materials for our drama program, air quality testing materials, and more.

My colleague is offering an after school photography class, but was having a lot of trouble providing materials for the student to use - she improvised by having her photographer husband take pictures and then teaching the kids techniques to alter them in interesting ways, and she paid for a small amount of film and development herself. She wrote a $3000 grant on Donors Choose a few weeks ago, but Donors Choose kept telling her it was too big, it will never get funded. (Most of the projects on Donors Choose cost only a few $100). Last week, she got an email: her project has been fully funded! She and her husband bought some real cameras, and enough film for each child in the class to borrow a camera each week with one roll of film, then get it developed! Wow. The results are going to be amazing...

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