November 15, 2007, New York – Actors Claire Danes and Zac Efron and former Senator Bill Bradley announced today that DonorsChoose.org, the award-winning nonprofit website where teachers and donors connect to help students in need, is opening to every public school in America.
Founded in 2000 by a young teacher at a Bronx high school, DonorsChoose.org has been recognized as “America’s most innovative charity.” Already, 30,500 public school teachers have used the site to secure funding for $15 million of books, art supplies, technology, and other resources that their students need to learn. Through the site, donors from all walks of life have helped 700,000 students from low-income families.
“DonorsChoose.org is a simple way to fulfill needs and foster innovation in public school classrooms,” said actress Claire Danes. “Over the last two years, I’ve funded many classroom projects on DonorsChoose.org. The creativity of the projects, and the appreciation of the students who benefit, never cease to amaze me.”
“I am excited to be a part of this initiative,” said actor Zac Efron. “I’m happy for the millions of teachers and students who are going to benefit from the national expansion of DonorsChoose.org.”
With its “open source” approach to supporting public schools, DonorsChoose.org has attracted the support of Yahoo! co-founder David Filo, renowned venture capitalist Vinod Khosla, Netflix founder Reed Hastings, and Omidyar Network, which is leading the group in supporting DonorsChoose.org. Together, these Silicon Valley titans are providing $11 million to underwrite the charity’s national expansion.
“DonorsChoose.org provides an open and honest environment where teachers and donors can connect over projects they care about,” said Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay and founding partner of Omidyar Network. “Just as eBay enables buyers and sellers to collectively determine the value of a product, DonorsChoose.org lets the people decide which projects should get funded.”
“Here is a website where anyone can be a philanthropist,” said former Senator Bill Bradley, who recently joined the DonorsChoose.org Board of Directors. “DonorsChoose.org has the potential to unleash the generosity of the American people by giving a $10 donor the same choice, impact, and accountability enjoyed by millionaire benefactors. We call it ‘citizen philanthropy.’”
AIG, world leader in insurance and financial services, is the lead sponsor of DonorsChoose.org. Ned Cloonan, AIG Vice President of International and Corporate Affairs commented, “We are proud to sponsor such an innovative organization that is making a difference for schools in communities throughout the country.” In 2005, DonorsChoose.org won the Nonprofit Innovation Award given by Stanford Business School and Amazon.com. The organization has also been recognized with the Fast Company Social Capitalist Award, a TECH Museum Laureate, and selection by Ashoka.
DonorsChoose.org made these strides while operating in eight states and four cities – New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Indiana, San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. and Chicago.
With DonorsChoose.org now open to every public school in America, individuals from all walks of life can support classroom projects such as:
– Improving vocabulary with a class set of dictionaries ($150)
– Discouraging teen pregnancy with ‘Baby-Think-It-Over’ dolls ($500)
– Taking students to Washington, D.C. to see the Supreme Court consider a case ($2,000)
“I started DonorsChoose.org seven years ago with the help of my students, and we never imagined that our experiment would one day become a national nonprofit organization,” said Charles Best, founder of DonorsChoose.org and a former history teacher at Wings Academy in the Bronx.
DonorsChoose.org is a nonprofit website where public school teachers describe specific educational projects for their students, and donors can pick the projects they want to support. After completing a project, the donor gets photographs and thank-you letters from the classroom he/she chose to help.