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School Year in Review


Six years ago, we set a goal that seemed far off on the horizon: Inspiring a million people and partners to give $100 million to classroom projects in one school year, delivering resources to 100% of our country’s high poverty public schools.

This year, donors like you helped us achieve one of those milestones by contributing $104 million to classroom projects. You delivered books, yoga mats, robots, field trips, and quality educational opportunities to over 3 million students across the country.

As we strive to reach even more students next school year, we hope you enjoy this look back at some of our favorite moments from the past year.

Thank you for bringing learning to life in classrooms across America.

Charles Best

Founder and CEO

By The Numbers

470,888 supporters
158,787 projects funded
3,947,917 students helped
1,583 thank-you packages delivered in one day, our record to date
5,446 new high poverty schools supported
125,200 teachers had projects funded on our site

As a first year teacher, it is humbling to see the outpouring of love and support from people I love and people I don't even know....My students are my world and I want nothing more than to provide the absolute best environment for them. Your contributions will help me achieve that!”

Mrs. Fielstra

In the Spotlight

We had some headline moments this year!

Photo: Jeffrey R. Staab/CBS ©2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved

Our #BestSchoolDay

On March 10, we unleashed #BestSchoolDay, a flash mob of support for public school classrooms led by 58 actors, athletes, entrepreneurs, and philanthropists. We called on citizen donors to join Ashton Kutcher, Sheryl Sandberg, Samuel L. Jackson, Serena Williams, Biz Stone, Yvette Nicole Brown, and many more to fund all the projects in their hometowns. People responded in droves, making #BestSchoolDay a top trending topic on Twitter, Facebook, and news outlets across the country. More than 30,000 individual donors helped bring 24,000 projects to life.

Another Record-Breaking #GivingTuesday

We have been a part of the #GivingTuesday movement since its inception in 2012. This philanthropic holiday on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving marks the kick-off of the holiday giving season. This year, donors contributed over $500,000 — our most successful #GivingTuesday ever — which helped fund nearly 2,000 classroom projects. Our efforts were boosted by, who called for support of special needs projects as part of their #ForEveryKid campaign.

“The Greatest, Simplest Idea”

When our board member and good friend Stephen Colbert took over as host of The Late Show last fall, he sat down with Mo Rocca from CBS Sunday Morning to share why he’s such a fan of DonorsChoose. In fact, he filmed the segment at our New York headquarters.

Expanding to Reach More Teachers, More Students, More Needs

Since 2000, we’ve helped nearly 300,000 teachers fund over 700,000 classroom requests for books, supplies, technology, field trips, and more. In order to support 100% of America’s high poverty schools, we asked ourselves, “How can we expand our platform to reach even more teachers and students?”

Student-Led Projects

For 16 years, teachers have been in the driver’s seat on DonorsChoose, creating new project requests and interacting with their donors. This year, we launched our student-led projects initiative, allowing students in grades 7-12 to post projects on our site with guidance from their teachers. Thanks to a match offer from Think It Up, more than 2,949 student-led projects have already been brought to life in classrooms nationwide.

Life Essentials

Without clean clothes, full bellies, and a safe place to sleep at night, many students living in poverty struggle to focus in class or may never make it to school at all. This year, we launched a pilot program for teachers to request life essentials — clothing, shoes, glasses, food, toiletries, and other personal items — for their students. 517 teachers had 571 life essentials projects funded, and the response was heartening. We’re currently refining the program and plan to launch Life Essentials sitewide in Fall 2016.

Professional Development

All of our projects to date have helped teachers invest in their classrooms, but what if we could help teachers invest in themselves? We’re currently piloting professional development projects to help teachers hone their craft, learn new skills, or even master a new subject. Part of the pilot includes a partnership with Infosys Foundation USA to help middle and high school teachers add computer science to their curriculum. We look forward to sharing the results from our pilot and next steps in the coming school year.

San Francisco Office

With the help of Eight Inc. we moved into our new San Francisco office this year. The collaborative spaces are perfect for poring over the latest data or welcoming our teachers, partners, and supporters. Please stop by the next time that you are in town. We would love to give you a tour!

Projects We Love

Our teachers post hundreds of inspiring projects every day. Here are a few that we can’t help but share.

Fund Olympic Fencing Programs at Democracy Prep!

This year we were left in awe by Mr. Lopez’ project that brought Olympic-class fencing training and equipment to 17 schools in the Bronx.

After fencing, students are more focused, disciplined, and confident...There’s so much you can learn doing sports like fencing that you can’t learn behind a desk.”

Mr. Lopez

Bronx Prep Charter School • Bronx, NY

Engaging Minds Through Nonfiction Texts

Since receiving the books students have been able to use them as a springboard into becoming an expert in a topic that they care a lot about.”

Mrs. Overway

Reeths-Puffer Intermediate School • Muskegon, MI

With special thanks to our most generous sponsors