Folks, you've started off just fine. One of our Donors Choose projects is fully funded. This will allow the purchase of books designed for the kids to take home to read with their folks. This is an awesome project, but there are so many more, and even a couple of bucks helps out. Let's move on to a new project. Many of the literacy projects are about listening, and the technology available is horrid. Cassette tapes? Really?
MP3 players would help kids listen to books. It's not a replacement for reading, but it's a step. Give a little.
Lansing is Michigan's capital. Like many Michigan cities, it's been devastated by the decline of the auto industry. One of our Donors Choose projects is for a first grade classroom with limited access to books for reading. The kids don't have many books at home, and count on school to provide them with most of their reading materials. My daughter is in first grade, and loves to read books over and over, but there is a limit. Once a kid gets bored with the only couple of books available, it's a quick walk to the TV. This project only needs $321 more. Click over.
During the last year, our school board addressed the coming budgetary disaster. Falling property taxes, declining enrollment, a a host of other recession-related factors have gutted our school system, and the board worked hard to keep the system solvent. This involved closing a number of schools, increasing class sizes, and decreasing activities such as music and art. The computer lab had to be closed down and turned into a classroom. Extra tables and chairs were put into the classrooms to accommodate the increasing numbers of students. The first grade classrooms look more like child warehouses than fun places to learn.
Just a few mile south of here, the Detroit Public Schools make ours look like heaven. And just a few miles to the northeast, one of the wealthiest systems in the country spends three times what ours does per child.
These disparities are built into the system. As a nation, we simply do not care if we educate our children properly. The system is designed to starve already poor systems and enrich those that are already rich.
We can vote for policy makers who wish to change the system, but meanwhile kids are suffering. Last year, you helped raise over $8,000 for classroom projects in Michigan. These projects reached over 2500 kids, and most of these projects will serve several years of students.
It's time again. The unemployment rate in Michigan is about 14%. Home foreclosures are climbing. School is often the only stable place for Michigan children. The projects supported by you through Donors Choose are efficient: they reach a large number of children for small amounts of money. Please consider giving anything---even a few dollars. It makes a difference.
This is the penultimate day of our Donors Choose challenge to fund needy Michigan classrooms. We have fully funded 13 separate projects and scooped up matching funds from the Gates Foundation and Hewlett-Packard.
You have all been terribly generous, but I have to ask one final favor. A generous reader just gave $100 to a project to create an outdoor science classroom focusing on gardening. It's a terrific project and that single donation has brought the project within $300 of being fully funded. If you, dear readers, could kick in even a few small donations (in the 1-5 dollar range) I think I could find a way to get this project funded before the end of the drive.
This is the last you'll hear from me until next October. If you could kick in a buck or two and get the word out on twitter, it would be very exciting.
You guys are great. Large donations continue to trickle in, but really, we can live quite well off of small donations. It would be really cool if we finished off the drive with a bunch of micro-donations, in the 1-10 dollar range. These small donations add up really quickly.
A Story to Tell is $97 away from being fully funded, allowing the teacher to buy a laptop and printer.
Inner City Soccer Team is a bit more of a challenge with $376 to go. There is no reason we can't get this done before the end of the week.
So let's do it---a buck here, a buck there, and soon enough...
We have some very generous readers. We've managed to fully fund 12 out of 14 proposals from needy Michigan classrooms. We can probably pull off funding the final two projects this week, and although our readers have been quite generous in the size of individual gifts, I'd love to see a bunch of micro-gifts, in the 1-10 dollar range.
- A Story to Tell: The teacher is trying to get a lap top and printer for her kids. That's it. She's
$148 $123 away from getting it.
- Inner City Soccer Team: Aside from the benefit of athletics, these kids are isolated in an economically and ethnically homogenous community and the teacher wants them to be exposed to a bit more of the world. $450 left to go.
There are other projects as well, but these are the final two of the 14 original Michigan classroom projects. We have a few days. Let's get some micro-moolah flowing.
Technically, the Donors Choose challenge to help out needy kids doesn't end until the end of the month. But donations given by Sunday are going to be matched by Hewlett-Packard. There are two great projects I'd love to get funded by Sunday, and I can't see any reason why we can't do it. If enough of us give a couple of bucks, we can get there in no time. Some donors have been freakishly generous, but a whole lot of 2 dollar donations can add up quickly.
A Story to Tell will purchase a computer and printer to help kids print up memoirs, helping them learn to construct stories and write. Being able to write coherently can make the difference between a good job and none at all. Right now, there's about $220 left to go, and the Gates Foundation is matching!
Tools of the Trade will help kids who are learning English buy a printer. They will use it to construct stories and create comic books, a very cleaver way to help kids learn English. There's $272 left to go.
This blog gets around 2500 hits per day. That's a lot fewer unique visitors, but if even fifty people gave two bucks, we can make a big dent.
I've let you guys alone for a couple of days, but now it's crunch time. Hewlitt-Packard is going to match donation based on how much we are able to raise in the next few days. They have 200K to distribute, and who gets it will be based on how much we raise before Sunday. There are a couple of projects that look interesting, and all of them help kids in poor Michigan schools.
- A story to tell: teaching kids how to write is pretty important. $219.00 left to fully fund.
- Tools of the trade: kids making comic books to help learn English. How cool is that? All they need is a printer, and they'll do the rest. Something like a printer will go a long way. $323.00 left to go.
It seems perfectly reasonable to fund these two projects in the next 48 hours. This will help us get more funds from HP to the projects of our choice---in fact, HP will send out giving cards to donors to allow them to put the money where they want it. That's pretty cool.
If you can't give a couple of bucks, at least pass the message on via facebook or twitter. I've already given to my project of choice, so now the kids need your help.
Hewlett-Packard, the folks who made the computer I'm using at this very moment, are going to kick in more money to our project, and they're doing it on some sort of pro rated matching system that I don't understand. What I do understand is that as of today, HP is tracking how much we give, and based on how much we raise by Sunday, they will kick in some serious dough.
Also, as a special bonus to those who have given, HP is going to send out giving cards which will let you decide where more of HP's money goes.
The details are not clear, but it boils down to this: the more we give by Sunday, the more HP will kick in, and HP will give each donor the opportunity to help disburse the dough.
So now is the time. You're tax-deductible donations are worth even more if you get them in now. And there are a couple of projects that are almost fully funded: for example,Show and tell: building mathematical literacy, has only $55 more to go before kids can start improving their math skills.
Thanks to everyone who has helped out. So far, we have reached over 800 students in impoverished Michigan classrooms. Every dollar helps.