Bet Red: Thank you, Tomato Nation!

How many of you have used Donors Choose? If you've never submitted a proposal (or possibly never even heard of them), you should look into them.

Basically they're a site that allows teachers to submit proposals for materials or experiences that will benefit their students, and generous people give money to fulfill those dreams. It sounds too good to be true, doesn't it?

I submitted a proposal in early September for two digital cameras, two memory cards, and two digital voice recorders. With the products, shipping, a donation to Donors Choose for operating costs, supplies for a thank you package to donors, the total cost was not quite $700.

That's a lot of money.

I sent it out to my friends and family, hoping some of them would like to donate, and several did. But yesterday something amazing happened because of a woman with a mission, a group of like-minded people, and the power of internet organizing.

Every October, Donors Choose does a social media promotion. Sars at Tomato Nation is a tremendous supporter of teachers and students and just general coolness, and every year, she gives her readership a goal to reach. As incentives, she sets up matching donations at certain levels, prizes for donors, all kinds of good stuff. This year, the base goal was $150,000 - a HUGE amount of money - with the hope to get to $210,000 through a match from HP.

They reached it. They passed it. They're still going.

As of right now, just over 1100 donors have given (including matches) over $300,000, reaching over 50,000 students. Including mine.

Isn't it incredible to know that so many people want to help kids learn? So many people are willing to give so much to enhance student educational experiences? Kids they don't even know?

Below is the letter I wrote thanking them. If you haven't ever checked out Donors Choose, look into it. Not every project gets funded, but a whole lot do. And if you're ever looking for a rockin' blog to read with advice, humor, a supportive and intelligent host and community, check out Tomato Nation.

I will always Bet Red.


Dear Sars and everyone at Tomato Nation,

It's not quite 4 am and I'm sitting at my laptop in tears. But not like the 4 am kind of tears that mean something terrible just happened.

Sometimes I don't sleep very well, and so I get up and go do something while I'm waiting to feel tired again. Tonight was one of those nights. As I was playing on the internet, I decided to go look at my DonorsChoose page just for kicks - I like to check in every day on my projects. Usually not much has changed (often not anything). Today was different.

My page looked different. Suddenly my projects had been split up - and one was listed as fully funded. What?

I clicked through to the page. Yesterday, three Bet Red donors finished funding my project to create digital stories. (Four Bet Redders gave in total.)

Although I knew that Donors Choose was a great organization, although I knew that donors help teachers and students every day through them.....somehow it hadn't seemed quite real till now. Hadn't seemed possible.

You guys kick SO MUCH ASS.

From me, from my kids, from everyone you've funded -


Much love,

Ms. Teachin'


Joan said...

I've had a several projects funded. It is a wonderful resource for teachers.

Congrats on getting funded!

teachin' said...

Joan - thank you! Since I posted, they funded ANOTHER project! It's quite a day.

"I'm a dreamer but I ain't the only one Got problems but we love to have fun" -K'naan, "Dreamer"

I teach eighth grade Language Arts at an urban school. My kids kick ass and will change the world. I want everyone to know.
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