According to Fast Company, Craig Newmark, the founder of Craigslist, donated $1 million to assist teachers in low-income areas support STEM initiatives. Newmark made the donation through DonorsChoose, a public school crowdfunding platform.
While this gift is already huge, it’s expected to keep on giving; the platform, which was designed by teachers, has a matching component, which can double its value. This is especially beneficial to teachers, since 94 percent of them use their own money to pay for school supplies. “We’re trying to excite everyone in the country to help out,” Newmark told Fast Company. “Teachers have already earned all this. It’s just a matter of recognizing that.”
Earlier this year, among the teachers engaged with the DonorsChoose Facebook community, 80 percent said that STEM was an area that needed attention funding-wise. As a result, DonorsChoose and Newmark made $850,000 available as a matching bonus for donors who chose to give to eligible projects, and $100,000 available for specifically girl-in-STEM ideas that appeared to be falling short of their funding goal. Plus, an extra $50,000 will be made available after there’s a discussion on Twitter about projects people think should be considered, Fast Company says.
Why education decision makers should watch DonorsChoose:
Fast Company says that DonorsChoose has been around for 18 years, and has enabled over 3 million people to raise $700 million for over 1 million projects.
More specifically, DonorsChoose founder and CEO Charles Best told Fast Company that one of the most important parts of the platform is its matching element. This is because it can influence visitors to the site to become actual donors. “A match offer creates a lot more projects that small donors can take across the finish line,” he said. “That inspires them to actually open their wallet and make a gift because they’re like, ‘Oh, my 50 bucks or 100 bucks is going to make a huge difference.’”
Plus, many campaigns through DonorsChoose, like Newmark’s, features a social media element that highlights needs that might be missed: “75 percent of the dollars given through DonorsChoose beneficiaries come from people who don’t personally know the teacher but can empathize with them,” Fast Company says.
“We’re the place where a teacher can be discovered by donors they’ve never met before,” Best told Fast Company. “Which is why we’re a magnet for teachers in low-income communities because you don’t have to have friends with money or students’ parents with money to bring a project to life.”