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Wednesday, November 26, 2008



Donors Choose.Org

Our Beginning was pioneered by teachers at a Bronx public high school in the spring of 2000. Charles Best, then a social studies teacher, saw first-hand the scarcity of materials in our public school classrooms and the profound impact of this scarcity on kids' education. Looking for a way to address this problem, he sensed an untapped potential in people who were frustrated by their lack of influence over the use of their charitable donations., a website connecting classrooms in need with individuals who want to help, was born.

Our Mission is dedicated to addressing the scarcity and inequitable distribution of learning materials and experiences in our public schools. We believe this inequity is rooted in the following factors:
1. Shortages of learning materials prevent thorough, engaging instruction;
2. Top-down distribution of materials stifles our best teachers and discourages them from developing targeted solutions for their students; and
3. Small, directed contributions have gone un-tapped as a source of funding. will improve public education by engaging citizens in an online marketplace where teachers describe and individuals can fund specific student projects. We envision a nation where students in every community have the resources they need to learn.

Our Philosophy has attracted contributors from all walks of life through an approach called Citizen Philanthropy. No matter their contribution size, all donors are treated to a level of service normally reserved for established philanthropists. This includes:

Meaningful Choice: Whether interested in pre-K literacy or science field trips, donors can select the specific project that they feel will have the biggest impact.

Full Accountability: provides "end to end" integrity. We screen each project proposal before posting it online; purchase the materials for the teacher (shipping directly to the school); and compile photographs, student thank-you notes, and a teacher impact letter as feedback for the donor(s) who completes the project.

Portfolio Services: contributors can track and manage their giving in "My Account," which shows the citizen philanthropist everything from the subject areas she/he has funded to the number of students she/he has helped. Tools such as GivingCards and gift registries allow donors to engage their children, friends, and family members in citizen philanthropy.

Our Projects

Project proposals at range from "Where Did All the Pencils Go?" ($60), to "Dictionaries for At-Home Use" ($259), to "Geological Field Trip" ($2,000). Most proposals are not simply requests for materials but fantastic ideas for helping students learn. Thanks to the participation of dedicated and imaginative teachers, has become a showcase of original and successful student projects.

Please see Case Studies for stories about selected projects created at

More questions? Please see our Frequently Asked Questions in the Help Section.

Donor and Media Inquiries
To receive an answer to your question as quickly as possible, check if someone has asked it already: 'What happens when a project expires?' 'Can I send you physical materials?'. The answers to these questions and more await you, right around the corner in the FAQ.

Contact Form for Donors
If you are a member of the media:
Click here to send us a message.

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National Office
347 West 36th Street, Suite 503
New York, NY 10018
Phone 212-239-3615
Fax 212-239-3619

Teacher Inquiries

Be advised...
Before contacting, please try answering your question/concern by visiting the links below. If your question could have been answered by reading one of these resources, we will not be able to respond. When you answer your own question using the links below, can devote more time to getting your proposals funded!

Frequently Asked Questions -- Answers to all the common questions that teachers have.

Teacher Online Tutorial -- Review the series of Web pages that you clicked through when submitting your first proposal.

Step-by-Step Guide to Submitting a Proposal -- A printable guide that explains how to submit a project proposal at

If your question wasn't answered above...

If the links above do not answer your question, please describe your issue to us using our Contact Form for Teachers.

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