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World Changers: Giva Salutes DonorsChoose.org

Here at Giva we search for organizations, large and small, that are doing a great job of changing the world around them for the better; and we are pleased to salute them here.

DonorsChoose.org

Charles Best and his colleagues at a Bronx high school were having difficulty raising money for class projects. This challenge gave Mr. Best the impetus to start DonorsChoose.org, an online charity dedicated to raising funds for public school class projects. His colleagues posted the first 10 projects as a way of testing the new tool. Mr. Best proceeded to anonymously fund each of them giving the impression that the website was a quick success. Fortunately, the donor base has grown considerably since the initial test. With over 250 million dollars raised for over 471, 027 projects, it is safe to say DonorsChoose.org no longer relies on Mr. Best for funds. The organization continues to prove itself as one of the most innovative charities in the world. In March of 2011, it became the first charity to make Fast Company's annual ranking of the 50 most Innovative Companies in the World. Each year DonorsChoose.org becomes more ambitious relying on its simple model to accomplish even loftier goals.

DonorsChoose.org is a database of thousands of public school projects posted by teachers seeking funds. All projects are approved by the organization ensuring their legitimacy. Donors can then search through the database by category or keyword until they find a project that resonates with their interests. No minimum donation is required. Individuals can give as little as 1$ to a project. This structure allows anyone looking to support public schools to help out. Once projects raise sufficient funds DonorsChoose.org purchases the materials and ships them off to the teacher to use. Donors eventually receive photos of the project, as well as a letter from the teacher and insight into how their money was spent. The entire process is highly personal and extremely transparent. About 70% of projects are successfully funded through the site, an indication of its popularity. Both donors and teachers feel empowered, and have a clear way to support the next generation of thinkers.

DonorsChoose.org is a personal and reliable way to give back to one of the community's most important assets. It has established a large and excited donor base and is primed to tackle more challenging problems. By tracking the kinds of projects that appear most often on DonorsChoose.org, the organization hopes to better advise local governments and school boards on how to allocate funds. It is also attempting to support 100% of high-poverty public schools. Its goals are certainly ambitious, but given the strength of its tool and the trust it has established, DonorsChoose.org is ready to address these important challenges.

To learn more about DonorsChoose.org or to support a project visit: http://www.donorschoose.org/