Giva Blog Categories : Non-Profit

World Changers: Giva Salutes The Annie E. Casey Foundation

The Annie E. Casey Foundation

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.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation

Giva Salutes the Annie E. Casey Foundation (AECF) for their work to improve the lives of children at risk of poor educational, economic, social and health outcomes. To elevate at-risk children to brighter futures where they can be self-sufficient, successful and civic minded-members of their communities is no easy feat. AECF recognizes that there is a complex system of indirect and direct forces that can contribute to a child's success or failure. AECF has developed a refined and thorough approach that addresses the contexts in which at-risk children live and grow. Their work and research aim to improve and strengthen communities, families and access to opportunities for at-risk children throughout America. Giva Salutes AECF for their steadfast commitment to developing and implementing evidence-based strategies to improve at-risk children's lives and futures. We honor their work in advocacy and policy reforms and their leadership in the world of child welfare.

There are hundreds of mission driven organizations throughout the country that target their work to focus on child welfare and supporting at risk youth. Unfortunately, many of these organizations have high need, but minimal resources and funding. The AECF works to alleviate issues of inadequate funding through their grant program, which helps "federal agencies, states, counties, cities and neighborhoods create more innovative, cost-effective responses to the issues that negatively affect children: poverty, unnecessary disconnection from family and communities with limited access to opportunity" (About Us). In 2013 AECF awarded $87 million dollars in grant funds to 552 organizations throughout America. AECF chooses recipients carefully so as to contribute to organizations, programs and initiatives that are sustainable and creating measurable impacts.

Mission driven work is, by nature, virtuous and incredibly important, often targeting the most pressing social and environmental issues. Such imperative work warrants sound strategies that will be sure to create a legitimate and far-reaching impact. This is why the Annie E. Casey Foundation places high importance on utilizing research to develop and implement sound, evidence-based approaches and policies for improving the lives of at-risk children and the general state of child welfare in America. AECF funds a nationwide initiative called KIDS COUNT, a network of organizations that collects and utilizes data to inform smarter policies and more effective programs geared toward issues of child welfare.

The AECF Child Welfare Strategy Consulting Group (CWSG) provides intensive consulting to child welfare agencies, practitioners and policymakers. CWSG consults with organizations to strengthen their management, finances, operations, policy and advocacy work so that they can provide more effective child-welfare programs and have greater impacts in their communities. AECF recognizes that child welfare is an issue that requires partnership and collaboration; when one organization can better support and advocate for at-risk children, strengthen communities, and influence effective child-welfare policy, everybody wins.

Grant-making, KIDS COUNT and the Child Welfare Strategy Group are just a few examples of how the Annie E. Casey Foundation is helping to improve at-risk children's lives and futures. Other areas of the Annie E. Casey's work around children include: juvenile justice, poverty and economic opportunity, education, community partnerships/community development, and a wide array of research and policy reform initiatives.

Communal support and nurturing is at the heart of philanthropy. It is a cornerstone of the Annie E. Casey Foundation's work to strengthen communities so that children from all backgrounds and circumstances can be cared for and nourished into healthy, happy adults. When we care for our children and the children in our communities we are helping to grow a generation of healthy, strong, civic minded adults; a generation who will "pay-it-forward," continuing to strive for social, political, economic and environmental progress.

20 Tough Questions to Better Select, Compare & Evaluate Any Software / Cloud Vendor

Questions for Software Vendors

There is nothing more frustrating than signing on the dotted line and then regretting it. Selecting a software or cloud vendor is a major decision for any company and Giva has designed a whitepaper to assist you in becoming more informed and educated by reducing the complexity of the cloud or software vendor selection process.

This whitepaper provides twenty penetrating questions to ask cloud vendors in order to become a more informed buyer. It provides practical "how to" advice to help avoid mistakes that even the most experienced professionals make, ultimately costing them a lot of time and money. Use these questions early in your selection process to poke and prod at your list of cloud vendors.

Some topics covered include:

  • Using uptime and support service level agreements to manage our relationship
  • How to qualify the reliability and security of a data center; SSAE 16 (formally SAS 70), Trustwave PCI Certification and SysTrust Compliance
  • Access to your data and rights in the cloud
  • Source code escrow rights and responsibilities
  • Termination clauses, contract term commitments, discounts and hidden fees
  • What if my company is dissatisfied?
  • What if my company finds better technology?
  • Deployment "out-of-box" vs. time and cost of customization/configuration
  • Preparing and comparing the total cost of ownership (TCO) of all alternatives
  • Most overlooked critical fine print in software maintenance agreements
  • Vendor product roadmaps and commitment
  • What are the costs for post-implementation customization/configuration?
  • What qualifies as routine technical support vs. professional services fees?

To view the whitepaper in its entirety, please see Twenty Tough Questions to Better Select, Compare & Evaluate Any Software or Cloud Vendors.

Saving You Money: Selecting The Right Help Desk Staffing Model, Part Two

Help Desk Staffing Models

To understand the financial impact of the various Help Desk staffing models discussed in Part One, the important question to answer is, "How many Help Desk staff are required for your call volume?"

The Meta Group and the Help Desk Institute have calculated the cost per call resolution at the various levels of support. These studies show the real financial impact of the different models. In all cases, the Generalist Model is about 48% more cost effective.

The following are methods of determining how many Help Desk staff are required for your volume:

  • Determining Direct Labor Requirements. How calls are submitted determines the biggest impact of labor requirements. The percentage of calls actually being resolved at the Help Desk have a direct impact as well.
  • Determining the Number of Potential Direct Labor Hours Available. It is unrealistic to think that anyone who works a 40-hour week will be available for all 2,080 theoretical hours in the year. When you factor in and deduct hours for company holidays, vacations, sick time, training, etc., the net number will determine the potential direct labor hours available.
  • Utilization Rate. This rate reflects the fact that inbound calls arrive randomly. Rarely does a new call arrive at the exact moment an open call is concluded. The level of service required of analysts determines an "appropriate" utilization rate.
  • Sample Formulas. Calculations to determine:
    1. Total numbers of hours required
    2. Number of potential direct hours available
    3. Actual number of direct labor hours available
    4. Gross staffing level

For these formulas and much more in-depth information, please refer to Giva's Whitepaper on Help Desk Staffing Models.

Saving You Money: Selecting The Right Help Desk Staffing Model, Part One

Help Desk Staffing Models

Studies indicate that 80% of the typical help desk budget is salary. Frequently, Help Desk managers worry about staffing levels more than any other matter. These managers need a methodology to determine said levels. The usual Erlang formulas from queuing theory do not always work because of the wide diversity of Help Desk entry points (phone call, e-mail, fax, etc.). This theory is helpful for some call centers but not for the more complex Help Desk environment. Therefore, staffing appropriately has a major impact on the business and the bottom line.

Understanding the Different Call Flow Design Models is Key

Gatekeeper Model

This model can be staffed with a single person or a few. It is designed to make it easier for the customer to have one phone number to call. In most cases, however, this model creates more problems than it solves; most often the "Gatekeeper" cannot solve the problem, creating a bottleneck instead, resulting in very low customer satisfaction.

Call Sorting Model

This structure sorts the calls into special groups using technology rather than people. Each call is then transferred to someone who can solve the customer's problem, a "specialist." With this model, additional staff is required in order to resolve the issues in each category; and, due to the fact that call volumes are not predictable, a lot of time can be wasted. Often, customers have more than one problem they are calling about which is a big drawback to this design.

Tier Structured Models:

  1. The Specialist Model is the filtering of calls, commonly known as a tiered specialist structure. Often, the Desktop Support group receives the calls in order to solve more customer problems on the first call. Because of payroll expense for the "specialist," phones are not manned 100% of the time prompting customers to leave a message.
  2. The Generalist Model is where the "generalists" answer the phone, e-mail, log the calls, answer what they can and transfer the rest to the second level (tier). This model resembles an ER triage process. This triage call handling process is the most effective for most help desk operations. The majority of good help desk analysts can solve 45%-65% of all calls allowing the second level (tier) to solve the more challenging issues. Customer satisfaction is often very high because the Help Desk operators "own" the problem even though they may not be the one to handle it, similar to the first nurse contact in the triage of an ER

In part two, we will discuss the financial impacts of various Help Desk staffing models!

For more in-depth analysis, please refer to Giva's Whitepaper on Help Desk Staffing Models.

Skills-Based Volunteerism, Part 2: Functional Coaching and Mentoring

Skillful & Knowledgeable Volunteers

Functional Coaching and Mentoring

Function coaching and mentoring can be defined as a for-profit business lending its employees to mentor and teach nonprofit partners essential skills and functional expertise. Does your company have individuals with expertise in change management, leadership development, or simply a knack for motivating others? If so, Functional Coaching and Mentoring may be an ideal route to go with for a Skills-Based Volunteering (SBV) program.

Functional Coaching and Mentoring Programs can focus on things like:

  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Transformational leadership
  • Change management
  • Assessing and utilizing organization/community assets
  • Strengths-based leadership
  • Working in groups and teams

The examples below show how businesses can provide coaching and mentoring to nonprofit partners, leaders of change, or groups that do mission-driven work.

Gap Inc. Leadership Initiative

In 2009, Gap launched their Gap Inc. Leadership Initiative, partnering with 25 nonprofit organizations each year to help leaders at these organizations learn skills to better manage their limited resources and manpower, and leverage their assets to create the most significant benefits for the communities they serve. Nonprofit leaders benefit from intensive learning workshops focused on a variety of things to increase partner skills, capacities, and effectiveness. Examples include: visionary leadership, staff development, and change management.

The mentoring Gap provides to its community partners is based on the leadership tools originally designed for training Gap Inc. executives. Their program is unique in that the mentoring provided is adapted to fit the needs of each individual community partner. "Moreover, the continuous nature of the relationships built between Gap Inc. leaders and the nonprofit program participants allows for a constant exchange of information and ideas in the context of a formal program" (Making Pro-Bono Work: 8 Proven Models for Community and Business Impact).

New York Needs You: Career Coaches

You do not have to create a program to get your employees involved in skills-based volunteering; there are many organizations that already employ volunteers for their specific skills, knowledge, and areas of expertise. New York Needs You (NYNY) offers a career-coaching program for college students across the city. Their "Fellow's Program Saturday Workshops" are a series of workshops where volunteer career coaches (professionals from a variety of disciplines and professional backgrounds) lead a structured career development curriculum for "Fellows," all first-generation college students.

Another opportunity for professionals to lend their specific knowledge and skills is through the Career Development Program (CDP) "Industry Insiders" Weeknight Seminars, where Career Coaches can teach students from community colleges about various routes to starting and securing a professional job and building a successful career. NYNY even offers their volunteers opportunities to contribute to young-adults professional development, without leaving the comfort of their homes. For their Technology Initiative's Online Program, "Career Coaches are part of an online pilot program to virtually help students with internship/job searches, resume review, and mock interviews."

World Changers: Giva Salutes SkillsUSA


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.


The United States economy is displaying signs of a skills gap. According to statistics compiled by, 83% of companies report a moderate to serious shortage of skilled workers. These troubling statistics coincide with an increasingly prevalent fear of joblessness amongst young people. Fortunately, admirable organizations like SkillsUSA are addressing these concerns by inspiring young people to prepare for careers in trade, technical, and skilled occupations. For decades, SkillsUSA has provided direction and encouragement to thousands of young individuals in order to strengthen local communities and the workforce. Their efforts are worth highlighting.

SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to prepare students for careers in skilled trades. The organization is divided into thousands of student-led chapters responsible for running a variety of activities. Each chapter focuses on professional development and the specific skills required to join a profession. This often means meeting with local businesses in that field (job-shadowing), attending workshops dedicated to teaching industry lessons, and listening to feedback provided by the chapter’s teachers and mentors. Students also assume other responsibilities. Each chapter must participate in a series of community service events, fundraising activities, and team building exercises. The goal is to provide students with intangible skills like leadership and teamwork to complement the professional skills they are also learning.

Each year chapters meet to celebrate this professional development at skills competitions and at the National Conference. Skills competitions are designed to showcase the professional skills of their participants, and students are given the opportunity to thrive in a public setting. Often participants leave the competition with a renewed passion for their trade and the additional confidence that comes from competition. Chapter members are also given the opportunity to attend a series of presentations at the National Conference. Information on professional development, legislative updates, occupational and technical career trends, and program overviews are explained to members over the course of the conference. This national meeting gives members the opportunity to reflect on their progress and identify future goals while enjoying the company of other SkillsUSA supporters.

From its founding, SkillsUSA has been an organization dedicated to strengthening local businesses, communities, and students. Local businesses are given the opportunity to connect with skilled and motivated workers while communities enjoy the benefits of a stronger economy with more engaged stakeholders. Most importantly, students are able to find a professional passion and pursue it with support. They leave the program as leaders, ready to contribute to their local community and start their professional lives. SkillsUSA facilitates all of these actions, and their efforts deserve our praise.

To learn more about SkillsUSA or to join a local chapter (as a student or mentor) visit http:/

Skills-Based Volunteerism, Part 1

Skillful & Knowledgeable Volunteers

What is Skills Based Volunteerism?

Put simply, skills-based volunteerism is when an organization utilizes volunteers for their specific and unique talents, skills and knowledge. Skills-based volunteerism is often compared to pro-bono services and consulting. Philanthropic causes, events, programs or initiatives can reap great rewards by skilled volunteers contributing tools, knowledge, and resources that can help to increase the impact and scale of a cause; refine internal standard operating procedures; implement tools and technology to streamline an organization's functions; and much more. Skills-based volunteerism is a rapidly growing strategy for improving volunteer engagement. According to the Committee to Encourage Corporate Philanthropy's Giving in Numbers: 2014, businesses employing pro-bono/skills based volunteerism has increased from 30% to over 50% in six years.

When done right, skills-based volunteerism has significant long-term benefits for the nonprofits and organizations or programs employing this strategy. Taproot Foundation's guide, Making Pro-Bono Work: 8 Proven Models for Community and Business Impact, states, "The true value of pro bono service is its ability to deliver to nonprofit organizations the powerful resources that help make private sector businesses successful." It also increases volunteer retention. When volunteers are able to more readily realize how their work and contributions are making a difference, they are more likely to continue to volunteer. Continued volunteerism allows for volunteers to foster deeper relationships and bonds with the organization with which they work, and deeper commitment to the organization's purpose.

Types of Skills-Based Volunteerism

Part 1: Loaned Employee

A loaned employee is when a company grants an employee a sanctioned and compensated leave of absence to pursue skills-based/pro-bono volunteerism for a mission-driven organization, project, etc.

Loaned employees can offer their skills and expertise for a variety of things, such as:

  • Creating strategic models aimed at improving a program's impact and scale
  • Streamlining organizational operating procedures to improve efficiency
  • Leading trainings to teach non-profit employees new skills (e.g. book-keeping or budgeting) and competencies (e.g. using CRM software)
  • Providing executive oversight on a project.

Many successful loaned employee programs deploy more than a single employee to do SBV for a non-profit, as you will notice from the two examples below.

Example 1: IBM's Corporate Service Corps

IBM's Corporate Service Corps is pro-bono volunteerism program that sends out 500 "IBMers" each year to take part in 6-month long community-engagement projects that provide assistance to local governments and community organizations. The program helps communities around the world to solve critical problems while providing IBM employees unique leadership development opportunities. By sending groups of 10-15 individuals to different countries for community-based assignments in emerging markets, the program has helped over 140,000 people since its inception.

Example 2: Pfizer, Inc. Global Health Fellows Program

Pfizer is an American multinational pharmaceutical corporation that established their Global Health Fellows Program in 2002. The program places Pfizer colleagues and teams on 3-6 month assignments with leading international development organizations. Global Health fellows contribute their skills toward improving health outcomes in underserved areas in the U.S. and abroad, transferring "their professional medical and business expertise in ways that promote access, quality and efficiency of health services for people in greatest need" ("Global Health Fellows: Overview").

World Changers: Giva Salutes Back on My Feet

Back on My Feet

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.

Back on My Feet

There is a beautiful symbolism to running. Participants take one step at a time, striding to reach an end destination or goal. It is an apt metaphor for how to overcome the challenges we face in life. When Anne Mahlum founded Back on My Feet (BoMF) in 2007, she hoped to bring this transformative power of running to a group of men experiencing homelessness. Running had changed her own life. Now she was hoping it would give a group of homeless individuals the confidence and control necessary to regain their own lives.

Since the first run took place in July 2007, Back on My Feet has grown into a nationally recognized organization with 11 self-sufficient chapters around the United States. Each week, the various chapters host a series of runs for volunteers and Residential Members or those experiencing homelessness. Once the members have dedicated themselves to their running, they are given access to other resources like educational support, job placement, and housing resources. The hope is that members will graduate the program as self-sufficient individuals in control of their life and their goals. Thus far about half of Residential Members have been able to advance their lives with a job or housing. In August of 2013, the 1000th member found employment, a testament to the success of the organization. It shows just how empowering running can be for people experiencing homelessness.

The secret to BoMF's success is in the dedication required of its members. Each Residential Member signs a "Dedication Contract" agreeing to show up for runs on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 5:30 a.m., to be on time for each event, to respect oneself, and to support all other participants in the program. Members are also required to fill out a goals sheet and an evaluation. At first, the focus is on running. Members train and compete in local races together. If after 30 days in the organization members have at least 90% participation, they are placed in the Next Steps phase of the program. Here, members meet with BoMF staff to discuss future aspirations and potential ways to achieve an independent lifestyle. They also have access to BoMF's resources, like employment training and financial assistance. Financial assistance is crucial for overcoming upfront fees, such as security deposits and outstanding fines. Those who are able to achieve independence often remain involved in running as alumni members. Running remains an integral part of their lives, and the foundation of their strength.

There are a number of reasons why this model works so well for members. All behavior is voluntary. Members are not forced to show up for early morning runs or events; the initiative is placed squarely on the participants, preparing them nicely for an independent lifestyle. Members are also recognized for their hard work, where every mile and achievement is tracked by the organization. We all appreciate being recognized for our dedication, and BoMF incorporates this element nicely into their mission. Finally, running is an excellent way to teach dedication, perseverance and fortitude. As many members will attest, it is an introspective activity that has the potential to be truly transformational.

Over the last seven seven years, Back on My Feet has established itself as an exemplary organization. By harnessing the power of a simple activity, its volunteers have changed the way hundreds of people view themselves. Their actions are appreciated and serve as an excellent example for us all.

The Mizuno Baton

Mizuno is one of the many companies that have picked up on the great work being done by Back on My Feet. To help support the organization, it launched "The Mizuno Baton." The project was fairly simple: runners were encouraged to download and activate the Mizuno Baton app. They then had one week to run as many miles as they could. For every mile run, Mizuno donated 1$ to Back on My Feet. The initiative ended at the end of 2014, but it raised $87,458 for BoMF.

The project could point to a couple of reasons for its success. It was an exciting way to engage a number of people in the mission of Back on My Feet, and it was very easy to get involved. But most importantly, it targeted the close-knit and competitive running community in a positive way. Credit is due to Mizuno for capitalizing on something so close to its brand in order to help an excellent charitable organization. Although the challenge has ended, Mizuno says to stay tuned, as this was just the first step.

Congratulations again to Back on My Feet, and to Mizuno for their work with this beneficial organization!

To learn more about Back on My Feet or to help out, visit

Context-Focused Giving, Part 2

Business & Communities Philanthropic Partners

In part 1, we introduced context-focused giving as corporate philanthropy and strategy combining to achieve both social and economic gains, examining how this can be done by analyzing various factors, based on the Harvard Business Review publication, "The Competitive Advantage of Corporate Philanthropy," by Michael E. Porter and Mark R. Kramer, last time including factor conditions and demand conditions. Here, we continue on with the other two elements: context for strategy and rivalry and related and supporting industries.

Context for strategy and rivalry has to do with the rules of business engagement in which a company operates. A context-focused giving strategy that works to open local markets to trade, that is governed by policies that reward fair competition and deter corruption, has a clear and widespread social impact that benefits communities and citizens as well as the economic benefit of operating in an amenable business environment. Twenty-six U.S. corporations have engaged in giving targeted toward improving their context for strategy and rivalry by joining forces with Transparency International in their fight to end corruption and create an intersection of business, government and society that places a high value on transparency and accountability. Their work and corporate partnerships has a significant and far-reaching impact on society and the economy.

Companies rely on other related and supporting industries to operate. Philanthropy that is focused on generating benefits and improvements for related businesses or local suppliers allows for corporate growth and partnership opportunities, along with a better use of time and resources: "Proximity enhances responsiveness, exchange of information, and innovation, in addition to lowering transportation and inventory costs" (Porter and Kramer, 5). American Express has used context-focused giving to identify the travel industry as an important related industry where efforts and resources could be used to generate social benefits and economic gains for American Express. They have provided significant funding to Travel and Tourism Academies that train students for careers with travel-related companies such as airlines, hotels, and restaurants. Their program has improved educational and job opportunities for people in communities served, as well as a competitive advantage for local travel clusters. Because American Express relies heavily on travel-spending, their global brand is also a part of local travel clusters, and they have a stake in these clusters' success.

Shifting your corporate giving strategy to context-focused giving is a rigorous process that should seek and consider input from management throughout your company in identifying a corporate giving strategy aimed toward improving competitive context. One question to ask when examining your company's competitive context is, "What constraints, tangible or intangible, prevent or limit our productivity and growth?" The more specific you can get when identifying areas for improved context, the better foundation you will have for beginning to research, plan and implement a successful context-focused giving strategy. Porter and Kramer stress the importance of rigorously tracking and recording the results of your initiative, both socially and economically, to provide a framework for creating evidence-based improvements and modifications in your initiative. They also encourage forming partnerships with other stakeholders, the benefits of collective action being enhanced efficacy and shared costs.

Businesses thrive from good strategy; there is no reason why the extensive research and planning that goes into other areas of corporate strategy should not be applied to corporate philanthropy. Corporations have more financial and intellectual resources than most non-profits that can provide unique perspectives and solutions to societal issues. Corporate Social Responsibility does not have to be separate from Corporate Strategy; context-focused giving is a framework for developing philanthropic initiatives with clear social and economic benefits.

World Changers: Giva Salutes A Follow-up

Giva recently published a blog post saluting We were thrilled when they sent us a $50 donation voucher to see for ourselves how they work. We assigned this fun and rewarding task to Natasha Gaydos, Giva intern, and here is the summary of her experience:

My Experience with
By Natasha Gaydos

Using a voucher for $50 to donate at, I was able to give back to a community that I love. I received my undergraduate education at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. Although I lived on campus and spent the vast majority of my time in classes or doing schoolwork, I learned to appreciate the community around me through volunteering and my part-time jobs. My experiences outside of the bubble of campus-town were among my most cherished. As a result, it was bittersweet to say goodbye to Champaign-Urbana this past May when I graduated.

When I learned I could donate $50 toward funding a school project of my choice, I knew exactly where I wanted to look; Champaign-Urbana where I benefited so much from my education and the community that fostered more than an academic education, but an experiential learning opportunity for personal and intellectual growth. Champaign-Urbana is a microcosm of creative, intellectual and socially conscious citizens; and, as a result, there are just as many wonderful events outside of campus in which I was able to take part. One of my most cherished experiences was volunteering for an after-school program as a recreation leader. The kids I supervised always brought me joy, and often their enthusiasm and zest for life was a remedy when I found myself stressed about my studies and workload.

Using my voucher, I was able to search for projects in the Champaign-Urbana area. One of my best friends from college, who also helped me to get through the rigor of college, is now teaching at Centennial High School in Champaign. While she did not have a project of her own listed on, I was excited to see a project from one of her coworkers, biology teacher Ms. Weidelman. Ms. Weidelman's project on is to fund the purchase of an iPad for her students to use for research and interactive learning. An iPad is a unique learning tool in that it is portable and can be used by multiple students at one time. It can also be used as a projector and presentation tool. Ms. Weidelman explains another important feature unique to a tablet, "If we have an iPad in my classroom we will be able to download and use apps and games like Nightmare:Malaria, Plague, as well as many citizen scientist apps that allow my students to record real time data and add to ongoing professional research."

I could immediately relate to an inability to access Apps from lack of a smartphone or tablet; I found personal resonance throughout her description about the need for an iPad, from my own frustrations, to my reliance on research and data throughout my studies, and of course my value for Champaign-Urbana Schools. In addition, I was excited to learn about the "Nightmare" App which I found particularly pertinent for learning in relation to the devastating Ebola outbreak in Africa, and the residual waves of destruction it had on communities and individuals. This was exciting and pertinent information to me, having just read a New Yorker Article on the research that was conducted to code the genome of the Ebola strain, track its mutations and eventually used to guide the developed ZMapp , a largely successful pharmaceutical drug that has been used to treat Ebola, and also in smaller doses as a vaccine.

Technology is an inherent aspect to modern science and medicine, so it is no surprise that Ms. Weidelman wants to teach her students to use technology in the biology studies. I know the iPad will be a great tool for learning, giving students access to the wealth of knowledge and research on the internet, as well as Apps with interactive learning tools. I was thrilled to be able to give back to the community which provided so much support, learning and fun throughout my undergraduate experience. Like many others, I left a personalized note to Ms. Weidelman and her students to tell them how excited I was about their current learning and all of the potential learning that can come from having an iPad in the classroom.

If you are interested in helping to fund a classroom project, provides virtually endless opportunities to give where your heart is . Finding a project to donate to is easy; you can search using a keyword, by classroom location, class subject, age group, and other categories to refine your search. Donating is just as simple: you can donate using a credit or debit card, Paypal, Amazon payment, mail in a check, or use a giftcard/voucher-code. Each project includes an in-depth explanation of what the funds are going toward as well as a progress bar showing how much money has been donated to said project, and how close it is to being fully funded. Donors know exactly who and how they are helping, and they also can understand the value of their donation when they see the green progress bar get closer to complete after their donation. Donors can donate a minimum of $1 and those who donate $50 or more will receive thank you cards from the teacher and students to whom they donated. is a great platform that allows people to donate to classrooms with ease. The crowd-funding model is a booming new form of philanthropy that taps into the unique avenues for connectivity and collaboration that the internet offers. Education forms such a huge part of the foundation of an individual, as well as the foundation of our society. It is interconnected and interdependent with our economy, our politics, our environment, our technology, our medicine, and the quality of life of our communities. You can quickly and easily donate to the teachers who work at the forefront of educating our children, siblings, and future leaders by choosing from one of over 25,000 classroom projects seeking funding on


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