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At #9, education crowdfunding pioneer is first charity to be ranked so high, alongside companies like Google, Apple, and Twitter
NEW YORK, Feb. 10, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- DonorsChoose.org, a crowdfunding non-profit that enables anyone to help a classroom in need, has been named one of Fast Company's "50 Most Innovative Companies in the World." The list was launched online this morning, and DonorsChoose.org Founder and CEO Charles Best is featured on the cover of the magazine's March issue that hits newsstands next week.
"We are humbled and honored to be featured alongside some of the world's most admired companies," said Best, a former teacher. "When DonorsChoose.org grew out of my Bronx classroom in 2000, crowdfunding wasn't yet a word, and the only teachers using our site were my colleagues. We never dreamed that more than a million people would give $225 million to classroom projects reaching more than 10 million students-and we certainly never imagined that we would one day be listed alongside companies like Google, Apple, and Twitter as one of 'the most innovative companies in the world.'"
"The culture of innovation across the globe is more robust than ever," said Robert Safian, editor of Fast Company. "To win in such a fast-changing environment requires a new kind of business agility."
In 2011, DonorsChoose.org was the first charity to appear on Fast Company's annual list, and this latest recognition marks the first time a charity has been included in the top 10 rankings.
Uniting Teachers and Citizen Philanthropists
Keeli Davis teaches at a Harlem elementary school, and has had 18 projects funded, from paint and paper to laptops and e-readers. "Before I started teaching, a friend gave me a quick tutorial on DonorsChoose.org, and I was hooked! I knew from speaking with teachers at my new school that the classrooms were in need of technology, so that's what I focused on," said Davis. "The amazing support and technology that I've received through DonorsChoose.org has made my classroom comparable to what you would find in a private school, and my students deserve nothing less."
Susan Whitlock first joined DonorsChoose.org in March 2012 and has donated to more than 50 projects. "When a friend told me about DonorsChoose.org, I felt like I had been waiting for something like this for a long time. Like so many others, I had wanted to support public schools and teachers but didn't see a viable way to do so," said Whitlock. "I remember my own teachers with fondness, and this is one way of appreciating what they did for me. Plus, the thank-you notes from students are sweet, informative, and sometimes hilarious!"
Beyond Crowdfunding: Empowering Anyone To Make A Difference
This school year, an estimated 300,000 donors will fund more than 100,000 classroom project requests across the country. In addition to helping donors find the projects that most inspire them, DonorsChoose.org has launched several initiatives that address specific challenges, including:
Increasing access to advanced courses: Last year, DonorsChoose.org, Google, and the College Board launched the AP STEM Access program to enable public high schools nationwide to start new advanced courses in science, technology, engineering and math, and encourage traditionally underrepresented minority and female students to take these classes.
Partnering with brands to increase local funding and awareness: DonorsChoose.org works with a number of partners, including Chevron, Kia, and Sonic Drive-In, to build campaigns that help fund projects and engage the public around education issues in local communities.
Revolutionizing STEM education: With partners like MakerBot, OpenROV, and Code.org, DonorsChoose.org is changing the science education experience by introducing 3D printers, underwater robots and computer coding classes to schools across the country.
Responding to schools struck by disasters: In 2013, DonorsChoose.org rallied individual and corporate supporters to raise more than $1.3 million for schools affected by the tornadoes in Moore, Oklahoma. The organization has led similar efforts for schools damaged by Superstorm Sandy and tornadoes in Joplin, Missouri.
"Hacking Education" with data: This month, DonorsChoose.org opened access to 13 years of its data via business intelligence tool Looker. Now anyone can explore, visualize and share insights about giving trends and what teachers need most.
Founded in 2000, DonorsChoose.org makes it easy for anyone to help a classroom in need. At this nonprofit website, teachers at half of all the public schools in America have created project requests, and more than a million people have donated $225 million to projects that inspire them. All told, 10 million students-most from low-income communities, and many in disaster-stricken areas-have received books, art supplies, field trips, technology, and other resources that they need to learn.
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