‘Fuel Your School’ To Help Nearly 1M Students
This post was originally produced for Forbes.
Social Entrepreneur Charles Best, founder of DonorsChoose.org, created what could be described as the first crowdfunding site, despite the fact that that term wouldn’t come into vogue for another decade.
In 2000, Best launched the site to solve a clear problem. “Public school teachers spent an average of $485 of his/her own money to pay for school supplies, instructional materials and other classroom materials. Across the U.S., this adds up to $1.6 billion in out-of-pocket expenses for teachers (2013 National School Supply and Equipment Association Retail Market Awareness Study). Innovative approaches are needed to help public school classrooms,” he says.
For the past six years, Chevron has been partnering with DonorsChoose.org to generate funds for teachers with its Fuel Your School program.
A year ago, I covered the campaign for the first time. Last year, $7.1 million went to teachers in 22 communities, supporting 6,459 local public school projects impacting 715,145 students, according to Chevron.
Blair Blackwell, Manager of Education and Corporate Programs at Chevron, explains, “From Oct. 1 through Oct. 31, 2015, Chevron’s Fuel Your School program will donate $1, up to a total of nearly $8.8 million, to help fund eligible classroom projects when consumers purchase 8 or more gallons of fuel at participating local Chevron and Texaco stations in 21 U.S. markets.” The program’s reach in 2015 could approach 1 million students.
“Since its inception in 2010, Chevron’s Fuel Your School has helped fund more than 23,000 classroom projects at 4,433 schools in the U.S.,” Blackwell adds.
On Thursday, November 5, 2015 at 1:00 Eastern, Best and Blackwell will join me for a live discussion about the Fuel Your School program and its impact on teachers across the country. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.
More about DonorsChoose.org:
DonorsChoose.org is an online charity that makes it easy for anyone to help students in need. Public school teachers from every corner of America post classroom project requests on the site, and people can give any amount to the project that most inspires them.
When a project reaches its funding goal, they ship the materials to the school. Donors get photos of the project taking place, a letter from the teacher, and insight into how every dollar was spent. For gifts over $50 donors receive hand-written thank-yous from the students.
You can give as little as $1 and get the same level of choice, transparency, and feedback that is traditionally reserved for someone who gives millions.
DonorsChoose.org vets every classroom project request, purchases the materials and ships them directly to the school, provides photos of the project taking place, and supplys a cost report showing how every dollar was spent.
Charles Best, courtesy of DonorsChoose.org
Charles Best, a new social studies teacher in the Bronx, often talked with his colleagues about materials and experiences they wanted their students to have, but which they had no funding to support. He created DonorsChoose.org in 2000 so that individuals could connect directly with classrooms in need.
More about Chevron:
Working with our partners, we take a comprehensive approach to investments in education by getting students excited about STEM and encouraging them to pursue STEM courses and, ultimately, STEM careers. We support educational standards and proven curricula that promote project- and problem-based learning. We also support teacher training, provide classroom resources, fund outside-of-school activities, and develop partnerships with universities designed to strengthen faculty, curricula and student development. These investments don’t just help the communities in which we operate—they help us, too. Tomorrow’s Chevron engineers are today’s schoolchildren.
Blair Blackwell is manager of Education and Corporate Programs at Chevron Corporation, a position she has held since December 2012. In this role, Blackwell is responsible for leading Chevron’s education-focused social investment initiatives in the United States.
Blackwell has over 15 years of experience with the private sector, nonprofit organizations, social enterprises and international organizations in Africa, the Balkans, Central Asia and the United States. Previously, she served as director of private sector initiatives for the International Crisis Group based in New York. Prior to this position, she was executive director of Princeton in Africa.
Blackwell views education as a fundamental cornerstone of prosperity and has been involved in many facets of education throughout her career, ranging from working on education reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina to working with students in Kazakhstan. Currently, Blackwell is on the Partner Advisory Council of 100Kin10 – a program aimed at training 100,000 STEM teachers by 2021 – and on the Advisory Council of the California STEM Learning Network. She also serves as a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Blackwell is from Winter Park, Florida. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Slavic languages and Literatures from Princeton University. She currently resides in Oakland, California and has lived in Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kazakhstan and New York City.
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