My husband is a teacher running a fairly self-funded theatre program, so to say money can be a bit tight around here is an understatement. Though we make sure everything is financially secure on the home front before we fund anything in the classroom, we still donate thousands of our own money to the school every year.
Luckily for us, there is an awesome program called Donors Choose, where teachers can request items they need for teaching purposes and donors can fund those requests. My husband has used Donors Choose a few times, and has been able to piece together a working theatre where there hasn’t been one in the past (there is literally no theatre or stage in his school). We are eternally grateful for the donors who have so generously offered money so that the students at his school can enjoy the arts. We would fund things even if Donors Choose didn’t exist, but this takes a huge burden off of our shoulders.
Though the funding provided through Donors Choose is obviously the whole purpose of the site, one of the things that I most appreciate about it is the fact that, after a project is funded, the donors’ gifts are acknowledged with thank you notes. I suppose in some cases, the teacher writes these thank you notes, but in my husband’s class, his students write them. I think this is an awesome exercise; after all, it’s probably not every day that teenagers are writing thank you notes. What I love even more is how much time and effort these students put into the thank you notes. These aren’t quickly scribbled notes on pieces of lined paper; some are legitimate works of art.
Donors Choose is an awesome program for teachers, but as a letter writer, I also believe it’s an important educational tool for students as well.