DALLAS -- With educational funding increasingly becoming less of a priority for politicians in many places, teachers have turned toward the website DonorsChoose.org.
Think of it as GoFundMe for teachers to get new classroom materials, equipment, and field trips. Winnetka Elementary School pre-kindergarten teacher Sandra Guerrero recently had eight proposals listed for items including furniture, sensory materials, and engineering toys, totaling nearly $4,200. Last week, without warning, they were all fully-funded.
"It was like a miracle," says Guerrero. "They don't always get funded, so it's just being persistent and going back and placing them on the website again and just crossing your fingers and hoping you get donors."
All it took was one BIG donor from a company called Ripple who is involved with virtual currency.
Ripple donated $29 million to fund or finish the funding for all of the 35,000 active listings, impacting more than 16,500 public schools nationwide. That's about one out of every six. More than 300 of those funded proposals will benefit schools across the DFW Metroplex, and the Dallas Independent School District was especially happy as it had 142 proposals spread among 72 schools paid for, including Winnetka Elementary.
"Having those resources," says Winnetka principal Lourdes Garduno, "it makes students become more excited about the learning, more excited about coming to school, knowing that they're going to have new things."
But, as with the need to learn, the need for new things never ends. The day after the Ripple announcement there was a record 16,000 new listings on DonorsChoose.org. And, until governments start giving more funding to the education system, teachers will have to hope there's a "ripple" effect and more donors will help them out.