Lakeshore Learning is committed to instilling a sense of wonder and fostering a lifelong love of learning through their quality materials and resources for teachers and parents.  Recently, Lakeshore debuted new STEM materials to further enhance the resources available to teachers and the learning opportunities available to students.

Their Alarm Your Pencil Box STEM Learning Lab provides step-by-step activities that culminate in an in-depth engineering activity to create a pencil box alarm.  Teachers on DonorsChoose.org are requesting this product because they know that it is through hands-on learning that students will be able to “grapple with a problem and gain higher-order thinking skills.”  Another teacher is using the Lakeshore STEM Science Station Sink or Float Kit to provide independent, hands-on learning opportunities to empower students.

To celebrate their ongoing commitment to STEM education and supporting teachers, Lakeshore Learning is supporting a Double Your Impact campaign on DonorsChoose.org.  Through this campaign, Lakeshore Learning will fund 50% of eligible projects if someone like you provides the remainder!

Want to bring these awesome resources to your classroom?  Post a project with a total cost of up to $500 (roughly $350 in materials) requesting STEM materials from Lakeshore Learning.  One project per teacher will be eligible.   Post a project as soon as possible to have the greatest chance of qualifying for this generous funding!

Check out the Lakeshore Learning Giving Page for ideas and to see if any projects speak to you!

Here are five of the fun ways we saw teachers fundraising for their classroom during the Friends and Family Challenge. Share with us your great ideas in the comments below!

1. Create original pieces of art to share your project page:

2. Share videos of your students, and explain why the donations are so important:

3. Get the administration involved with your goals – this principal promised to dress like a duck if the project was fully funded!

4. Show your donors the exciting things your students accomplished with a previous project:

5. Make a bulletin board to share with your whole staff, parents, and community:

It’s Volunteer Appreciation Week! We’re so excited to share this guest blog post from our Donor Appreciation Land intern, Omnia. Here’s what she had to say:

Guest Blog Post by: Omnia Khamis, Intern

8. The Office. I get to come to work in an office that is fun, quirky,* new*, spacious, warm, engaging, active, and totally decked out with a MakerBot (Um, I know, right?) You feel the energy of the place instantaneously. The office is on fire.

7. The Mission. I work for an organization that has a mission of helping, teachers, classrooms, and kids all over the country get access to a better education. What’s better than that? Coming to work alongside equally passionate people about the mission makes it all worthwhile. You create amazing things with amazing people for an amazing cause to help an amazing generation of bright and ambitious students.

6. We’re nerdy AND cool. We made three lists this year, and it’s not even June yet. Fast Company recently named DonorsChoose.org to their list of the 50 Most Innovative Companies in the World for the second time (we came in at number nine!), while GOOD Magazine highlighted us as one of 30 Places We Want to Work, as well as coming in at number eight on The Nonprofit Times list for Best Nonprofits to Work for in 2014!

5. Our volunteers are the bomb. As the Volunteer Coordinator Intern, I can attest to the fact that not only do we have some of the most dedicated and energetic volunteers around, but our volunteer program is designed to kick-ass and take names! 72 volunteers have donated 1,588 hours to mail 46,127 Thank-You packages and hand-write 7,140 donor Thank-You notes. Whoa! And by the way, we actually KNOW all of our volunteers. They are incredible.

4. I get to follow my ultimate passion. It doesn’t feel like coming to work. It feels like coming in to propel  forth a greater cause of helping our next generation of leaders get access to a better education. I get to fulfill my passion for education, every day.

3. It brings out the philanthropist in all of us. Our site allows everyday citizens to come together and interact in a new and creative way. It allows teachers to become world-class fundraisers. It allows everyday people to become heroic donors of brilliant classroom projects. It gives a whole new and accessible meaning to philanthropy.

2. The Peeps. I work with the BEST staff. I’m not an intern, I’m simply part of the team. Everyone is profoundly enthusiastic about the mission and vision of the org, and once you’re in, you’re family. You are appreciated.

1. The Impact. I get to make a difference in people’s lives, every day.  From engaging and training with our delightful volunteers to communicating with our donors, to checking out the classrooms our donors fund, DonorsChoose.org makes a really extraordinary impact on the daily lives of teachers, students, donors, and especially, me!

Georgia Summitt, an art teacher from Jonesboro, Arkansas, was inspired by her daughter’s temporarily paralyzed dog, Lila, to work with her class to build wheelchairs for dogs. Already invested in Lila’s story, the students were eager to help her and other disabled animals “because it is unfair that they can’t help themselves” (Kaleb Anderson, age 12).

With money raised through DonorsChoose.org, Ms. Summitt lead 15 sixth grade students in researching dog wheelchairs and building their own. Despite the struggles of trying to keep dogs still for measurements, the project has been a success! Ms. Summitt’s students have strengthened their math and problem solving skills while helping disabled dogs in the area.

Read the whole story here.

We love hearing about the unique and creative projects being funded through DonorsChoose.org! Let us know about your extraordinary project by commenting on this post.

You might have heard the news: today, our partners at Google were so inspired by our amazing teachers that they funded EVERY project in the Bay Area, bringing materials and experiences to more than 700 classrooms throughout the Bay.

We’re so happy for all of the students and teachers who benefited from today’s news. To celebrate, here are 10 of the newly funded projects that most moved us, made us laugh, or led us to leap up and down with glee imagining how psyched the students will be.  Add your own favorite classroom project in the comments below!

(1) A craft corner for teen moms and expectant mothers at Ms. H’s San Francisco school.

(2) Mr. Aringo’s lunchtime boxing club!

(3) The pretend restaurant (and pretend pet clinic and pretend grocery store and pretend post office) in this San Francisco Kindergarten classroom.

(4)  MAGNETS!

(5) A replacement  for the portable batting cage net that’s been eaten away by the salty sea air in Alameda.

(6) This LASER!  The fourth grader inside of us is pumped, and we’re pretty sure Mr. Jones’s fourth graders will be, too.

(7) The award winning Hayward High School orchestra that will now be able to replace all of its violin and viola strings.

(8) A carpet that helps you learn shapes and colors!  Can we get one for the DonorsChoose.org office?

(9) This planer (it’s a tool industrial arts students can use to turn scrap wood into premium material – thanks for teaching us that one, Mr. Trowbridge!), which will help Concord high schoolers bounce back from “the great planer malfunction of ‘13.”

(10) And all the places these 27 Kindergarteners will go, now that they’ll each get their own copy of the Dr. Seuss classic.


To Ms. H, Mr. Dyer, Ms. Monterrosa, Mrs. Ayllon, Coach Saunders, Mr. Jones, Mr. Cato, Mrs. Roark, Mr. Trowbridge, Mrs. Kinsley, and all of our Bay Area superstar teachers: THANK YOU for inspiring us and our friends at Google!  Here’s to many more awesome Bay Area projects.

Crafting a subject line can seem like a straightforward process, but for email marketers, the devil is in the details (and the testing). This week we look at 3 lessons learned during our holiday season.

Lesson #1 Be Direct
It is always tempting to opt for the cute or “punny” subject line. During the holiday season, themed headlines are particularly enticing. While we love being festive, we found that a direct approach yielded better results. The subject line, “Urgent classroom request” won across key metrics. The simplicity of that subject line inspired our donor base without needing holiday flair.

Test Results:

Lesson #2: Look closer.
Be sure to pay attention to all metrics, not just the open rates. In the table above you can see that the “Present!” subject line actually achieved a higher open rate than one of the urgent subject headlines. If we look a little further however, it did not achieve the same click or conversion rates. Had this simply been an awareness raising email, open rates would have been sufficient but it is important to make sure that your email generates real results.

Lesson #3 Word Sequence Matters

We played around with variations of the same subject line, placing the name of the teacher at the beginning or the end of the sentence. The subject line in which the teacher’s name came first performed better in opens, click-thrus and conversion rates.

Test Results:

So why does sequence matter? It probably has something to do with how the brain absorbs information. Perhaps readers are more likely to be intrigued by a personal name (ie. Ms. Smith). Also, keep in mind emails are read across multiple devices. Depending on the device (iPhone vs Android), the entire subject line may not be visible. This makes the first few words of the subject line even more significant.

We received a fantastic email from one of our donors and we had to share.

“…my family made DonorsChoose.org our charity this year — particularly because our kindergartener started public school in Montclair this year and was curious what kindergarten was like for other kids around the country. He helped us pick every classroom we donated to, how we spent our money, and read every classroom request. And when the packets of thank yous arrived, he was flabbergasted that they’re actually real kids :) What a wonderful experience, and a fabulous way to teach kids about the power of giving — you guys really know what you’re doing. You’ve certainly got our attention.”

Thank you Lisa for using DonorsChoose.org to teach your children the power of giving back!

We love hearing stories like this! Tell us about the way you engage your kids in philanthropy in the comments section. Comment in the next 10 days for a chance to win a $50 DonorsChoose.org gift card to spend with your family.

One of the best parts of funding a project is seeing the results! We love when our donors and teachers share pictures of thank you notes and classroom materials in use on Instagram.

Browsing through the feed gives you a glimpse into a few classrooms around the country. Here are a few of our favorites:


@adhelmick ’s students making use of their new math and literacy games!


@hbsara shared her young artists’ work. They are using Jackson Pollack’s work as inspiration.

Carpet squares funded by a successful project @picouek

@tara_arnold_14 shared these beautiful Thank You notes with us.

Next time you receive thank you notes from students you’ve helped, spread the cheer by sharing a photo on Instagram. And, don’t forget to tag  and follow @DonorsChoose!

By: J. Alex Pruner, DonorsChoose.org Screening Manager

We’ve been experimenting with the ancient art of classroom chalk in the new DonorsChoose.org office space. Thanks to the vision of our creative partners from the design firm Eight Inc., Allison, Karina, and Jeff, and the inspired talent of chalk artist Mark Hamilton, our office now features multiple classroom-sized chalkboard walls with vibrant chalk illustration.

Mark spent a week in our office transforming The Playground, our common space, with his dynamic chalk art. The “Thank You Wall” commemorates rockstar teachers, citizen philanthropists, generous partners, and significant giving campaigns including disaster relief to schools in Joplin, MO and Moore, OK. The “Thank You Wall” also includes hand drawn images of reddit aliens and Ham Rove, a beloved icon of Colbert Nation.

The centerpiece is a diverse mosaic chalkboard of commonly requested supplies by teachers on DonorsChoose.org. Mark chose bold icons which represent different methods of classroom teaching. The illustrated chalkboard includes a microscope, paintbrush, world globe, basketball, laptop and a magnifying lens among other surprises. If you take a closer look you can see a familiar character from the book Where the Wild Things Are playing with a Bunsen beaker. In Mark’s own words, “we wanted a bit of mischief in the chalk art.”

Check out this video to hear more from Mark:

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At DonorsChoose.org, we envision a nation where children in every community have the tools and experiences needed for an excellent education. We know how important having these resources is, so we’re thrilled to announce that we’re working with AT&T this spring to help classrooms get the materials they need.

AT&T’s Aspire program is dedicated to helping students graduate high school, and beginning Monday, February 24, AT&T will launch a $250,000 matching campaign. In other words, they will match your donations to support teachers at our highest-need high schools across the country*. Learn more by visiting http://about.att.com/content/csr/home/blog/2014/02/donorschoose_we_ma.html or support a project today at http://www.donorschoose.org/donors/search.html?matchingId=735.

* Any project under $2,000 posted at our highest need high schools (where 70% or more of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch) will qualify for a “Double Your Impact” match offer from AT&T.