On the eve of the new year, we’re raising our glasses to you and to everyone who helped bring learning to life for America’s students in 2018. With more than 260,000 classroom dreams funded this year, we know that more students than ever before will start 2019 ready to tackle the learning adventures ahead.
Here are some of our favorite moments from 2018!
1. A one-in-a-million celebration
The year started with a swell of excitement as we celebrated the funding of our one-millionth classroom project! (Woah.) And what better way to celebrate than by sharing the experience and excitement of a funded project with the whole country? On January 25, Good Morning America surprised teachers at May V. Carrigan Intermediate School with the announcement that every project from the school had been funded, and all donations on DonorsChoose would be matched that day.
“I’m still in shock that we were all fully funded on national television! My students can’t wait to start our literature circles. Thank you isn’t enough for all that you’ve provided for my students.” —Ms. Pitts, “Please Give Us The Giver!”
2. Record-breaking support from foundations and companies
This year, more than 100 corporate and foundation partners donated over $70 million to bring classroom dreams to life. Among the millions of students who received resources thanks to DonorsChoose partners are Mr. Utsler’s class. His school will launch their first self-sustaining ceramics program because of the #SpringIntoArts initiative, funded by an anonymous arts donor who matched donations to every arts project on the site.
“Thank you for showing your love of the arts and their place in our daily lives that most people take for granted. Your contributions are building a creative program that lets students expand their knowledge and skills in the age-old art form of ceramics. ” —Mr. Utsler, “Building a Self Sustaining Ceramics Program”
3. A national spotlight on Good Morning America
On September 7, DonorsChoose teacher Mrs. Viau and her students got to share the magic of the DonorsChoose community with the whole country as part of Good Morning America’s #GivingMyAll event. Carlos, one of Mrs. Viau’s former students, said, “Strangers coming out of their way to donate so an entire class can have a book — it opens up your eyes on how much people really care about you.”
During the five-day back-to-school fundraising event, Good Morning America rallied public support for education and inspired 22,800 donors to give more than $2 million to classrooms.
4. Big waves and a #BestSchoolDay from Ripple
Ripple, a San Francisco-based financial technology company, made history on March 28 by donating $29 million to fund every DonorsChoose project in celebration of #BestSchoolDay. This unprecedented donation not only funded a record-breaking number of projects in a single day, but it also inspired an outpour of public support. From folks on social media to the New York Times, Ripple’s gift got the country talking about exactly what teachers need.
Teachers we surveyed reported that they felt more supported in their work, and their students are more engaged and focused because of the resources and experiences received through this once-in-a-lifetime donation. With 35,647 projects funded, that’s a lot of students!
5. A new way to bring a friend to DonorsChoose
Teachers tell us all the time that the classroom wisdom they value most comes from the colleague down the hall. We wanted to make it easier than ever for teachers to help each other get started on DonorsChoose, so we launched the Refer-a-Teacher program. This new referral tool, through which teachers can help others create an account and receive a funding reward, will empower more educators to request exactly what their students need to learn.
Ms. Griffin was one of the 4,800 teachers who signed up for DonorsChoose using a teacher friend’s referral code this fall. Her friend got $25 in DonorsChoose credits to use towards their next project, and Ms. Griffin’s drama students got the bubbles and backdrops needed to make the students really feel under the sea during their production of The Little Mermaid. Win-win!
6. Top marks from Charity Navigator for the 13th year
As one of the only nonprofit crowdfunding sites, we were thrilled to have been awarded the highest possible rating from nonprofit watchdog Charity Navigator for the 13th year in a row, putting us in the top 1% of the nonprofits they review.
When history teacher Charles Best created DonorsChoose, he was inspired by the idea that people would want to help teachers if they could see where their dollars were going. We’re still inspired by that principle today. From shipping resources directly to public schools to showing the cost of every requested item in a project, trust, efficiency, and transparency are at the core of who we are.
7. New tools for a better teacher experience
Our product and engineering team works under the hood year-round to make sure teachers and donors alike have the best experience possible creating and supporting projects. This year, we’re especially excited that teachers now have a faster teacher sign-up process and that school districts can submit their technology guidelines to our site. That way teachers can create their first project with ease. (And if they request technology for their classroom, they can see exactly what items are already compatible with their school set up!)
8. A growing community creating record-breaking change
Because of the incredible moments above, our unique nonprofit funding model, and tangible impact in classrooms, more people than ever were inspired to join DonorsChoose in 2018. This year, more than 80,000 teachers had their first classroom project funded, and more than 400,000 donors supported a classroom request from a teacher they’d never met.
Teachers in a 4 out of every 5 public schools have now used DonorsChoose to request just the resources and experiences they need for their students, whether that’s crayons and construction paper, or robots and science museum field trips, and we’re over the moon that so many of those classroom dreams came true this year.
A new year of learning ahead
So many teacher ideas have come to life this year, and there are so many incredible ideas seeking support. Currently, more than 55,000 teachers have classroom projects on our site — ideas for inspiring field trips and exciting experiments, for musical adventures and mathematical discoveries. Between the hard work of our teachers, the generosity of our donors and partners, and the innovation that’s at the core of this community, we know that 2019 will bring vital experiences and opportunities for growth to America’s students.
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