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DonorsChoose: Bring Donors and Teachers Closer Together

Science Under the Microscope

With grants growing more competitive by the day, DonorsChoose still pays off.

It should come as no surprise that the current economic downturn, along with its impact on school budgets, has pushed more educators to grantwriting. I find myself writing more than three times as many grant applications as year as I have in the past. Some of these are for simple supplies to use in my classroom, while others are large, ambitious projects to revolutionize my entire Science department.


With an increase in applications and, I would imagine, no more money to disperse, the success rate has also dropped significantly. I once held a 10-0 record of successful grant applications. This year alone, however, I have been turned down for three different grants. In fact, the only arena in which I have hit “pay dirt” is

 DonorsChoose: Bring Donors and Teachers Closer Together

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In case you haven’t heard, DonorsChoose is a nonprofit founded by a former New York City school teacher who created a website that links donors and teachers directly. The website allows educators to request materials, trips, and visiting speakers for their classrooms, and the DonorsChoose organization takes care of all of the arrangements (tacking on an optional small donation to the requested amount to cover expenses), ordering supplies and having them delivered directly to the teacher.


All that is asked of teachers who receive DonorsChoose grants, is to return a simple thank-you package that includes photos of students learning using the grant materials and notes of thanks from students and teacher alike. The concept is simple: allow generous education supporters to fund classroom projects by picking the specific teacher and project to support.


The results are fantastic, and the system works very efficiently. I often receive materials only a few days after learning that my project has been funded. And, above all, my projects are still being funded. This is the face of education funding in these “trying economic times”.

Have you used DonorsChoose? Do you have other funding suggestions? Share in the comments section!