EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Website Helps Teachers Raise Money for Classrooms

A crowdfunding website is helping teachers across the country give their students the supplies their families or schools cannot afford.

Teachers spend about $500 of their own money every year to buy supplies for their classrooms, according to a report from the National School Supply and Equipment Association.

That's where DonorsChoose.org comes in. The education crowdfunding site allows teachers to post projects and request the materials they need in their classrooms. Donors can in turn donate money towards the projects that inspire them, providing everything from books to field trips to classrooms across the country.

Micah Siegel, a third grade teacher at Schools Without Walls in D.C., is using the site to solicit $220 in donations for privacy screens and noise-canceling headphones to "destroy distractions."

"It allows them to focus on their own work. It prevents people from talking to them," Siegel said.

The website also helps many schools hit hard by the recession.

"Extras that are really nice to have for students - a lot of those have been cut," said Tom Gentzel, executive director of the National School Boards Association.

Donors can also use their zip code to find schools near them to help.

Nearly 1.7 million people have contributed to helping more than 14 million children learn.

Organizers buy the materials and send it to the schools; they do not hand over money. DonorsChoose.org says 93 cents of every dollar donated goes directly to helping classrooms.

Click here to find DonorChoose.org projects in your area.

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