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Our Favorite Moments from 2017’s DonorsChoose.org Partner Summit

This year’s fifth annual Partner Summit brought together some of our most generous supporters to share insights and inspiration, learn from fantastic speakers, and recognize amazing work from teachers and students across the country.
Here are some of our favorite moments from the event:
Celebrating our Amazing Teachers
Every year, we kick off Partner Summit with an evening that highlights the reason we’re all here: supporting teachers and the students they work with. Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn and a member of the DonorsChoose.org Board of Directors, remotely welcomed everyone to the event, which took place at LinkedIn’s NYC office in the Empire State Building. Fellow board member and teacher Genein Letford followed up with a heartfelt thank-you to all of the people who have helped support classrooms like hers. And our founder, Charles, continued an annual tradition of sharing his favorite projects from local New York City teachers, some of whom were standing in the audience beaming with pride as the audience awed and cheered for their ideas.
Learning from our Outstanding Speakers
Senator Cory Booker inspired us all with the story of the New Jersey middle school teacher who changed his life, and shared some wisdom that we wholeheartedly agree with:
“The genius of our children is our greatest natural resource.”
Author, researcher, and entrepreneur Dan Heath offered some great leadership advice that also applies in the classroom:
“For behavior to be contagious, it must be visible.”
Actor, producer, writer, director, and all-around legend Whoopi Goldberg told us all about her mother, a Head Start teacher, and why she instilled a lifelong appreciation for education. Whoopi also shared why she supports classrooms through DonorsChoose.org:
“All children deserve a great education. And it starts with public schools.”
Hearing the Partner Point of View
Every year, our partners tell us that one of the best parts of Partner Summit is getting to connect with and learn from each other. In this spirit, we asked four partners – Shannon Schuyler from PwC, Christi Woodworth from SONIC Drive-In, Victoria Vrana from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Ryan Hall from College Football Playoff – to share their experiences on stage. Through the Q&A sessions and table discussions, they got a chance to share best practices, learn about each other’s’ campaigns, and brainstorm ideas for future collaborations.
Visiting PS11’s Classrooms
After a busy morning of inspirational speakers and powerful conversations, the whole group headed out for an afternoon “field trip” to PS11 William T. Harris, a nearby elementary school. Our partners heard from Principal Bender, then headed upstairs to visit classrooms ranging from pre-K to fourth grade. The group got a chance to see first-hand the ways in which the projects they help fund translate into educational outcomes for children, whether it’s a school chicken coop or indoor games for rainy days (our partners are no match for the kids at Connect Four!)
Our Hosts at Google and LinkedIn
We’re so grateful to our friends and gracious hosts at Google and LinkedIn for welcoming us into their offices. LinkedIn’s office on the 28th floor of the Empire State Building was the perfect backdrop to introduce our partners to New York City’s teachers, and our out-of-town friends got an excellent skyline view (and a spectacular sunset) with a distant look at the Statue of Liberty. On Wednesday, we spent the day at Google’s NYC office, a beautiful (and enormous) brick building in Chelsea. Thank you so much to Google and LinkedIn for hosting us!
Want to dive deeper into Partner Summit? For more photos from the day, check out #DCPartnerSummit on Twitter, or read our highlights from last year’s event in San Francisco. We can’t wait for 2018!

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