7 Out of 10 CS PD Projects Funded Using DonorsChoose.org Were For High Need Schools

by Kirk Smiley @DonorsChoose | 11/14/2017

Kirk Smiley, as Principal Partnerships Director & Head of Sports Practice at DonorsChoose.org, leads partnerships with leagues, teams, companies, and athletes in the sports industry while also overseeing a variety of other corporate and foundation partnerships. Coming from a long lineage of public school educators, Kirk is honored to be helping thousands of teachers and students.

Every day at most public schools, passionate and tenacious teachers face regular challenges to get new materials, technology, and advanced training opportunities to best support their students. Such funding is hard to find.

Crowdfunding has become a popular way for people to creatively source funding for a variety of needs. DonorsChoose.org stands apart from other popular crowdfunding sites, because we are a charity focused solely on supporting public school teachers and students. Our community of millions of citizen donors fund tens of thousands of classroom projects each year, and we provide a simple, transparent, and accountable way for people to make a difference in our nation’s schools.

Thanks to the two-year partnership between DonorsChoose.org and Infosys Foundation USA, more than 300 teachers have used our site to afford high quality computer science professional development training (CS PD). In fact, 370 crowdfunded CS PD projects came to life for 356 teachers at 326 schools. 74% of those teachers work at schools where half or more of the students qualify for free or reduced lunch (see infographic).

As our impact has grown over the last 17 years, nearly three million people have donated to support a teacher’s project. Our data suggests that 75% of these generous donations aren’t from people connected to the schools, students, or teachers they are funding. Instead, our site gives everyone the opportunity to donate to a project that resonates with their particular interests, regardless of where the school is located or if they know the teacher personally.

Donors to the CS PD campaign were no different, with 79% of the funding contributed by people living in a different state than the school they supported.

This means most donations didn’t come from the students’ parents or local residents but rather people from across the country who felt compelled to help a teacher they will likely never meet in person. Someone who wanted to support computer science education might have donated to a classroom 2,000 miles away!

While any public school teacher in the US can create a classroom project on the DonorsChoose.org site, what drives our mission is that three-fourths of funded projects support schools where half or more of the students are from low-income households. Simply put, we help get educational opportunities to more than 25 million students who need them most. When we enabled teachers to raise their hand for a niche opportunity like CS PD, the resulting participants represented a near-perfect socioeconomic cross-section of our typical user base. This diversity was also true among the donors who rallied to support these teachers.

We're incredibly grateful the Infosys Foundation USA cares so deeply about CS education and making sure that all students across the nation have the chance to learn.