Launches "America's Back to School Challenge" to Put $5 Million of Critical Resources Into Public School Classrooms in Two Weeks

Everyday Citizens Donate Directly to Classroom Projects in State-by-State Competition; Help Shape Tomorrow's Leaders

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - September 1, 2009) - Online education charity launched today "America's Back to School Challenge: Join Your State in Shaping Tomorrow's Leaders," a campaign to get critical learning resources and materials into public school classrooms nationwide. The goal of the campaign, which runs until September 15th, is to fund an additional $500,000 worth of resources for classrooms that primarily serve students from low-income families. Already, will be delivering $4.5 million in classroom materials during the first two weeks of September, based on thousands of project requests funded over the summer.

Each of the 50 U.S. states -- in direct competition -- has a unique giving page at where everyday citizens can find and contribute to local project requests submitted by public school teachers. In total, the campaign will result in back to school supplies for more than 340,000 students.

"The start of the school year is a particularly stressful time for teachers, who have to ready their classrooms for the arrival of students and often spend hundreds of dollars out-of-pocket," said Charles Best, founder and CEO, "This period is just as pivotal for students as they settle back into school, often in new classrooms with new teachers. It's incredibly harmful when those classrooms don't have the resources and supplies that students need to learn. We're asking America to lend a hand right from the get-go."

The Back to School homepage at displays a "leaderboard" that tracks the progress of the state-by-state competition based on total dollar amount raised. Individuals simply select their home state, and then donate any amount directly to their favorite classroom projects. Each donation helps the donor's state move forward in the competition.

"There is something fulfilling about directly funding supplies -- or experiences -- for a group of students in a specific classroom," said Bill Bradley, former U.S. Senator and Presidential candidate, and a member of the Board of Directors. "Whether it's searching through the project requests that most interest you, reading each classroom's story, or receiving thank you notes from the students you've reached, there's no giving experience like it."

Examples of classroom project requests include:

-- Calculators Count in 2nd Grade -- A request for math riddle books and new calculators for 2nd grade students.

-- Living Ecosystem in Our Room! -- A project to help students learn about the environment by creating their very own ecosystem.

-- Ravenous Readers! -- A request for books so that students in a low-income classroom can explore their love of reading.

The insufficiency of learning resources is a widespread problem in classrooms across the country. With school budgets continually tightening, even the most basic supplies and tools become increasingly scarce. As a direct result, students -- our future leaders -- and teachers suffer. In fact, teachers nationwide spend $1 billion out-of-pocket on materials each year, which rarely even covers each classroom's needs.

For more information about America's Back to School Challenge or to view the "leaderboard," go to


Founded in 2000, is a nonprofit website where public school teachers describe specific educational projects for their students, and donors can choose the projects they want to support. After completing a project, the donor hears back from the classroom they supported in the form of photographs and student thank-you letters.

To date, 103,000 public and charter school teachers have used the site to secure funding for over $36 million in books, art supplies, technology, and other resources that their students need to learn. Through, individuals from all walks of life have helped over 2 million students from low-income families.

Contact Information: Media Contact: Jeremy Robinson-Leon (ph) 212.784.5702