Leading Education Charity Offers a Presidents' Day Sale Worth Caring About
DonorsChoose.org and Pershing Square Foundation Aid High Need Public School Classrooms by Discounting Project Requests to $100
NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - February 11, 2010) - Online education charity DonorsChoose.org and the Pershing
Square Foundation, the philanthropic arm of New York investment firm
Pershing Square Capital Management, are teaming up to offer a Presidents'
Day Sale worth caring about. Beginning today, every project request
submitted by a public school teacher at DonorsChoose.org that supports
American History or Civics is being discounted to within $100 of
completion. The two organizations are challenging everyday citizens to
complete the funding for discounted projects, which primarily serve high
poverty classrooms, before the offer expires on Monday, February 15.
Consider a U.S. History and Government class in a high poverty high school
in New York City, where citywide budget cuts have put even the most
essential supplies out of reach. The students, many of whom are English
Language Learners, must soon study for mandatory state exams but the school
simply cannot afford the necessary review books. Without them, many of the
students will struggle not only with the content of the exams, but also
with the language -- and failure precludes graduation.
The teacher has asked for 55 review books for his students, a modest
request with an immense impact. It is the story of just one
classroom in one city; thousands more like it across the country are
being discounted to within $100 of completion through Monday.
The offer is the first in a new series called "Almost Home," made possible
by a $1 million grant from the Pershing Square Foundation. Over the next
four months, funding will be implemented as five site-wide "Almost Home"
offers, each pegged to a specific theme day. For a limited time each month,
"citizen philanthropists" will be challenged to activate matching funds
from the Pershing Square Foundation by completing the funding on classroom
projects meeting the theme day's criteria.
"This Presidents' Day, let's give the future leaders of America the
classroom resources and learning experiences they need to realize their
full potential," said founder and CEO of Pershing Square Capital Management
William Ackman. "DonorsChoose.org is a fascinating model that positively
impacts teachers and students across the country, and we're excited to
introduce a new, experimental concept to the site. I am hopeful that the
affordability of the classroom projects discounted throughout the spring
will inspire a wave of involvement from members of the public."
For each of the five "Almost Home" campaigns, qualifying projects will
display a specialized logo that is easily identifiable to donors looking to
maximize their impact on students at a low personal cost.
As with any project request at DonorsChoose.org, donors can contribute any
dollar amount to classroom projects during each "Almost Home" campaign.
Once a project is completely funded, DonorsChoose.org will purchase the
requested materials and send them directly to the classroom. All donors
will receive photos of the project taking place, a thank-you letter from
the teacher, and a cost report showing how each dollar was spent. Donors
who fund the entire $100 cost will also receive hand-written thank-you
letters from the students.
"Instead of hitting the mall this Presidents' Day Weekend, why not shop a
sale that will make an impact in the lives of students and teachers?" said
DonorsChoose.org founder Charles Best. "We are so appreciative of the
Pershing Square Foundation's investment in a new approach to philanthropy,
and we're eagerly awaiting the results. This campaign will show people from
all walks of life that they can make a huge difference with a small
donation. So here's my Presidents' Day sales pitch: 'Act now! For a great
price and even better cause, help a classroom in need at a school near you
this Presidents' Day.'"
Classroom project requests that support Civics and American History come
from public and charter school teachers in all 50 states and range from a
New York City classroom
in need of a computer to compete in a nationwide history contest, to a
in Los Angeles that needs reading supplies to teach eager first
generation Americans about U.S. History.
Across the country, thousands of public school classrooms lack the
materials that are essential for learning. As school budgets tighten,
learning supplies and tools become increasingly outdated, broken and
scarce. Through it all, school teachers nationwide spend $1 billion
out-of-pocket each year, which rarely even covers each classroom's needs.
Founded in 2000, DonorsChoose.org 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, 118,000 public and charter school teachers have used the site to
secure funding for $45 million in books, art supplies, technology, and
other resources that their students need to learn. Through
www.donorschoose.org individuals from all walks of life have helped 2.8
million students from low-income families.
Pershing Square Foundation
Founded in December 2006 by William Ackman, The Pershing Square Foundation
has made donations and pledges of approximately $40 million since its
inception. Areas of support include, closing the achievement gap in
education, global health care, human rights, poverty alleviation and the
arts, with a focus on social enterprise as a vehicle of delivery.