On The Move
Teachers and community members work together to fund classroom projects through Donors Choose
Sep 28, 2012
IRMO, SC - September 27, 2012 - When Margaret Nickerson became Irmo Elementary’s first teacher in the EXCEL tuition-based pre-kindergarten program this year, she received an open classroom that she had to fill. There were no hand-me-down books from a previous teacher or leftover toys. She needed creative, hands-on materials that she could use with her classroom of four year-olds and she turned to DonorsChoose.org for assistance.
DonorsChoose is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting students and teachers by connecting needed classroom projects with potential donors.
Teachers can post a proposed project on the DonorsChoose website. Interested individuals then browse the site and make targeted contributions to the projects they want to support. Once a project reaches its funding goal, materials are delivered to the school. Donors get photos of the project taking place, a thank-you letter from the teacher, and a cost report showing how each dollar was spent. Donors that give over $50 also receive hand-written thank-you letters from the students.
Nickerson posted a list of items she needed for her classroom, along with costs, on DonorsChoose.org. She requested blocks, toy ocean animals, toy farm animals, a toy tree house, and a toy cash register. She posted, “These toys will be used in a variety of activities to promote learning. Activities with these toys will help promote imagination, learn about balance, shapes, money, life, animals, real world experiences, cause and effect, cooperative play, motor skill development, writing, drawing, problem solving, and creativity! These toys will help build the foundation of resources we desperately need as a first year program.”
Within one week, Nickerson’s entire proposal, totaling $376.74, was funded.
She said, “I am honored to have such a supportive community and supportive parents. Because the project was funded at the beginning of the school year, my students will benefit from a full year of using these materials. I am so excited for my students.”
David Stanley, a local Horace Mann agent, encourages teachers to post classroom projects needing funding to DonorsChoose.org soon. Starting October 1, Horace Mann will match properly coded donations up to $100 through its “Imagine a Better Classroom” matching donation campaign.
For a project to receive a matching donation, the donor must enter a promotion code at checkout when making a donation. Full-time public school teachers, nurses and guidance counselors wishing to have projects funded can obtain the code from any Horace Mann agent and can pass the code along to colleagues, friends, family and other potential donors.
Once Horace Mann donates to a project, the monies stay with that project even after the $250,000 funding is depleted. If a project isn’t fully funded, the matching donation returns to the donor who was matched, not Horace Mann, to reallocate to a different project. Gift cards and corporate donations will not be matched.
To review project funding requests from other schools within Lexington-Richland Five, visit DonorsChoose.org and click on “Projects” in the upper right corner. Then click on “State,” “South Carolina” and then “School District” and finally “Lexington-Richland Co. SD 5.”