Saturday, January 10, 2009

"Citizen Philanthropists"

A story from Women's International Perspective (WIP) contributor Janelle Weiner about an organization that links donors to cash strapped teachers (WIP):
Former teacher Charles Best started eight years ago as a way to connect “citizen philanthropists” directly with teachers like Dubin who have ideas for enhancing their students’ learning experiences, but lack the funds to implement projects. Best saw firsthand how a lack of classroom supplies prevents teachers from providing “thorough, engaging instruction” to their students.

“My principal is super supportive,” says Sacramento, Calif., resource teacher Lisa Claussen, “but our money goes to basic classroom supplies.” And yet since April of last year, Claussen has managed to add about $3,000 worth of classroom materials for her students with special needs by listing her projects on the DonorsChoose website.

Concerned that public schools should be sufficiently funded by the government?

Vice President of Operations Cesar Bocanegra says he is familiar with critics of DonorsChoose who say the organization is doing the government’s job.

“We agree that we should not exist,” he says, “however, we’re not an organization that works for systemic policy change.” Instead, explains Bocanegra, the organization grew organically from Best’s desire to help his own school.

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