DonorsChoose and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Celebrate Successful First Year,
Increased Resources for Local Public School Students and Teachers
CHICAGO, Nov. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Today DonorsChoose, recently recognized
as the most innovative nonprofit by Amazon.com, celebrated its first year in
Chicago at a birthday party thrown by Cooper Elementary Dual Language Academy
students and staff. The school arranged the party to thank DonorsChoose for
funding several classroom projects during the past year through the
organization's partnership with CPS.
At the event, special guests Arne Duncan, Chicago Public Schools CEO, and
Charles Best, DonorsChoose founder and CEO, spoke to students and teachers
before cutting two birthday cakes -- one twice the size of the other --
donated by Eli's Cheesecake to represent the organization's commitment to
double its support for Chicago student projects during the next year.
In attendance were teachers and students who have had projects funded
through DonorsChoose, and several important announcements were made, including
a $350,000 two-year contribution from Lehman Brothers, a leader in global
finance. This grant will launch the organization's push to double its impact
in Chicago. Additionally, a special December Challenge was announced with
featured proposals already half-funded through the support of Ronald McDonald
House Charities -- making it even easier for individuals to make classroom
ideas a reality.
Since it launched in December 2004, DonorsChoose has provided over
$325,000 in resources to more than 400 teachers for 650 student projects
thanks to big and small donations from 663 individuals across 41 states.
Ninety-nine percent of the 25,000 students affected by the donations are from
high-need schools. The organization allows anyone to directly sponsor a
teacher-submitted project proposal and receive feedback about exactly how
their money was spent and how it impacted students in the classroom they
"Fulfilling a teacher's proposal for student resources through
DonorsChoose is a simple and direct way for Chicagoans to help students in our
public schools most in need of resources," Arne Duncan said.
Cindy Giacchetti first contributed to a Chicago project one year ago, and
has funded four other projects throughout the year. "It was one of the most
rewarding giving opportunities that I have experienced," she said. "The
process of picking out the project was fun, and being able to hear how the
students and teacher benefited from my donation was very touching. The
DonorsChoose giving system is very transparent and tangible, so that any size
donation makes a huge impact."
The Chicago operation of DonorsChoose has big plans for 2006. Executive
Director Linda Erlinger expects to see donations double to $650,000 in 2006.
"We have had a fantastic first year here thanks to the generosity of
Chicagoans, our corporate and foundation supporters and our partnership with
Chicago Public Schools. We're excited to celebrate with students and teachers
at Cooper Elementary, who know first-hand the difference individuals can make
in our city's classrooms through supporting DonorsChoose projects," Erlinger
Through DonorsChoose's revolutionary "market approach" to charitable
giving, donors from all 50 states have funded 9,300 projects requested by
6,300 public school teachers, channeling $4.5 million worth of books, art
supplies, technology supplies, field trips and other resources into public
school classrooms. DonorsChoose currently serves all public schools in
Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles, North Carolina, South Carolina and the
San Francisco Bay area. The nonprofit has also recently opened an operation
in the Gulf Coast to help those schools affected by the hurricanes of 2005.
Visit http://DonorsChoose.org for more information.
Chicago Public Schools
The Chicago Public Schools is the nation's third-largest school district.
It includes more than 600 schools and serves about 425,900 students. For more
information, visit http://cps.k12.il.us .