Hamilton County Schools announced Thursday a new partnership with the national nonprofit DonorsChoose to help teachers tap into a network of four million donors to support classroom projects and connect with the district’s five-year strategic plan Future Ready 2023. Hamilton County Schools is now one of 30 DonorsChoose District Partners.
"Unlike other funding platforms, 75 percent of the dollars given to classroom projects on DonorsChoose.org come from people and organizations outside of a teachers’ personal network," officials said. "DonorsChoose corporate and foundation partners provided classroom project funding by engaging a community of donors passionate about supporting classrooms with teachers passionate about reaching and teaching their students."
DonorsChoose national corporate and foundation partners include The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Google.org, PNC Bank, Staples, and Target.
Locally, The Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga provided a district-wide $25,000 matching campaign last year to fund classroom needs in Hamilton County Schools. Teacher projects can be found online at www.donorschoose.org. Search for Hamilton County Schools, Tn., and browse through a variety of projects from technology to art supplies submitted by teachers that will allow donors to put their dollars directly toward funding class projects.
“We are excited to become a District Partner with DonorsChoose,” said Superintendent Dr. Bryan Johnson. “Our teachers know our students’ unique needs better than anyone. This program empowers teachers by providing them the necessary resources to tailor their classroom to their students, while also giving them an opportunity to strengthen relationships within the community.”
In the last few years, teachers in Hamilton County Schools have raised $509,000 and completed over 950 projects on DonorsChoose. These projects vary from books to laptops and other tools to enhance the learning in the classroom and support student success. Every donor gets a thank you letter from the teacher, photos from the classroom, and a report of how each dollar was spent.
Ashley Cox, the English department head at The Howard School, used the DonorsChoose.org campaign to expand her classroom library.
“Creating a reading culture only happens when teachers have a wide variety of books for students to read,” Ms. Cox said. “DonorsChoose.org allows teachers, like me, to create a variety of projects that ensure students have the resources they need - like books. My students are reading more than ever."
"As one of the 30 members of the DonorsChoose District Partnership Program, Hamilton County Schools can better support teachers in the use of the platform, ensure safety and security and connect efforts with the district’s strategic priorities and monitor all donated materials," offcials said.
DonorsChoose will notify principals each time a project is funded, and receive early notification when there are new “match” funding opportunities.
“We're excited to have Hamilton County Schools as a new member of the DonorsChoose District Partnership Program,” said Charles Best, founder and CEO of DonorsChoose. “Hamilton County Schools teachers and administrators continue to work hard to make sure students succeed, so far they’ve raised $509,000 towards classroom materials from donors across the country. We can't wait to see how the DonorsChoose community can support these educators even more through our partnership.”
For more information, visit www.donorschoose.org/hamcoschools.
"The partnership with DonorsChoose will help the district’s teachers to address accelerating student achievement, developing future-ready students and engaging the community in the classroom. Each of these is one of the five action areas to move the district forward in the Future Ready 2023 plan," officials said.