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It’s Time for Us to Talk About How Awesome 2015 Was

Very soon, 2015 will come to a close. As we reflect on a year in which donors across the country gave more than $90 million to over 132,000 classroom projects that needed it, we thought it important to share a few of our favorite, warmest, and fuzziest stories, and the events that made the past 12 months so special.
Our friend Stephen Colbert helped South Carolina teachers by donating $800,000 to classrooms in his home state. We know for a fact how inspirational that gift was, since after news of it broke, it took off on Reddit and spurred more citizen donors nationwide.
We saw a classroom profiled by NBC Nightly News in New Orleans, where “so much of what happens in classrooms like this one goes beyond the budget.” The video tells the story of how the teacher was able to supply with with books, iPads, and computers for her students to use.

As the school year began, we partnered with the Entertainment Industry Foundation to power Think It Up, a new initiative to support students who wanted to ask for their own supplies, under the supervision of teachers. (Colbert joined us again for the televised announcement too!)

Get ready, West Coast! @DonorsChoose Founder&CEO @CharlesBest and @EIFoundation CEO Lisa Paulsen kick off #ThinkItUp pic.twitter.com/CkOxQR7is1
— DonorsChoose (@DonorsChoose) September 12, 2015

We saw more amazing examples of gratitude and joy—created by classrooms and for donors—flood our inboxes than ever before. Before Thanksgiving, Janice Kaplan of Parade even offered her readers a Family Gratitude Challenge, encouraging parents to teach their children the power of thanks, too.

On Giving Tuesday, the calendar day devoted to charitable giving, Google showed their support by linking to special needs classrooms from their homepage. They also gave their own special gift to those classrooms in need.

It’s official! @Googleorg has matched $1MM in contributions to special needs projects. pic.twitter.com/pmzYzVgBwi
— DonorsChoose (@DonorsChoose) December 22, 2015

As a person who had #SpecialEd, it’s awesome @DonorsChoose & @google are teaming up to help thoseSs #GivingTuesday https://t.co/s4g7qOUDTr
— Genein Letford (@GeneinLetford) December 1, 2015

Happy #GivingTuesday!! These are some charities I love: @TrevorProject @SU2C @RoomtoRead @DonorsChoose Tell me about your favs!
— Anna Kendrick (@AnnaKendrick47) December 1, 2015

Over the holidays, we saw people across the country mention that supporting classrooms was one of the best gifts you could give to teachers who work in them, as well as the students who are there to learn, too. Miracles—as in, the kind that can only happen in classrooms—surprised and inspired us every single day.

Teachers like Beth Ann make our day https://t.co/d1aAmTtlbk #TeachersMakeMiracles pic.twitter.com/eGmgXDBJuR
— DonorsChoose (@DonorsChoose) December 18, 2015

#teachersmakemiracles my Ashley was a kindergarten with no English language. Got her a scholarship to drama. She had a role in the play.
— Isabel Marsh (@coffeemakergirl) December 18, 2015

#TeachersMakeMiracles no longer shy and quiet she spoke. Acted. Had fun. Blossomed. Right before my eyes.
— Isabel Marsh (@coffeemakergirl) December 18, 2015

Along the way we met and helped share the stories of teachers in Washington, D.C., whose classrooms received funding. We saw teachers ask for and acquire hoodies to keep their students warm. And we saw quotes from teachers like Mr. Thomson of Michigan who have been able to turn their dreams into realities. As the Huffington Post reported:

Overall, this year filled us with hope and showered us with surprises. The 74 Million, writing about children, inadvertently captured our own thoughts pretty accurately: “1,2,3… eyes fly open and cheers and shrieks fill the room.”
Now let’s all take that excitement even further in 2016. Cheers to you all!

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