DonorsChoose pfblogs.org Financial Literacy Challenge

DonorsChoose.org is another way the internet is making giving back more transparent and easy to do. (Learn about Kiva and ModestNeeds as well.) On the site, teachers submit project proposals for materials or experiences that they feel will benefit their students, and donors can choose which specific project to fund.

Proposals range from “Magical Math Centers” ($200) to “Big Book Bonanza” ($320), to “Cooking Across the Curriculum” ($1,100). Any individual can search such proposals by areas of interest, learn about classroom needs, and choose to fund the project(s) they find most compelling. In completing a project, donors receive a feedback package of student photos and thank-you notes, and a teacher impact letter.

In proper ‘finance geek’ fashion, blogger OneBigMortarBoard has formed a special Topical Challenge that focuses on projects that promote financial literacy amongst kids. Sounds like a good idea to me! I also like the idea of funding local schools, or even schools that you went to.

If you are looking for another direction for your charitable money, definitely check it out.

Comments

  1. Anyone else notice the project costs? Take a look at this example: link

    Now, I could buy them the 66 copies of this book from Amazon for $6.50/ea with free shipping and no tax ($429). Yet they are asking for $541.63. Now granted someone has to do the grunt work, maintain the web site, and develop some pictures, but a 26+% service fee??? And they are pretty clear that they charge the lowest fees for low-income projects such as this.

    Thankfully they are pretty honest about their finances: link

    In 2006, it looks like they spent $2,683,155 on delivering goods to the teachers, but another $2,634,582 on operating expenses, with the lion’s share going to $1,154,944 in salaries.

    “CHARLES BEST (PRESIDENT), ALFONSO MALABAG (COO), AND BRITA LOMBARDI
    (CMO), RECEIVED SALARIES OF $116,313, $120,240, AND $110,570 AND
    BENEFITS OF $1,586, $16,244, AND $3,434, RESPECTIVLY. THEIR
    COMPENSATION WAS DEEMED COMMENSURATE WITH THEIR DUTIES AND
    RESPONSIBILITIES BY THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS.”

    I wonder if they are hiring?

  2. I’m not a charity expert, but you have to compare with what else is available. Here is their DonorsChoose Charity Navigator page. They actually got 4 stars overall, the highest rating I believe.

    $100k salary for the President of a non-profit actually isn’t that out of line. CEO study.

  3. Very interesting indeed. Charity Navigator gives the impression that 83.8% of your money goes to the intended recipient. My calculations show it to be closer to 50%…the difference being how you count salaries. Now maybe I need a charity to take half my money to feed starving kids half way around the world, but I’m sure I could find opportunities like the ones provided by DonorsChoose with a few phone calls and an order on Amazon.com. Sure I won’t get the tax deduction, but that means my efficiency is more like 72% then.

  4. $100k salary in NY? While $100k may be a HUGE salary for a normal working guy in some small town, what would the average salary be in New York City? I make just over half what these guys make where I live, salary surveys for my job in NYC put the figure at just under 100k and I am not management.

  5. Still better than the teacher salary that Mr. Best would have made in the Bronx had he continued teaching: http://hotjobs.salary.com/sala.....York%2C+NY

    I say good for him. He took a risk, and for that, he has my respect…just not my dollars.

  6. Actually donors can choose to have a portion of their money go to DonorsChoose for operations, or earmark their entire donation to the project. Anyone who is worried about that can simply hit the checkboxes where appropriate.

    I did not donate to DC’s operating funds because I sponsored a local project and wanted that money to go to the teacher and her classroom.

    While we did meet the goal of the challenge, the challenge isn’t over till the end of the month, so there’s still a few more days left to donate!

  7. Donor’s Choose connects teachers with funds for projects. I am a teacher in Kansas. On my salary, it’s difficult to provide students with needed materials. Did you know that it is not legal to REQUIRE school supplies? Do you think kids should have pencils or pens? Who do you think should purchase them? Most kids do bring school supplies, but not everyone. I always make up the difference myself.

    I applaud Mr. Best for this innovative project. You can choose to have your funds go only towards the project.

    Keep up the good work! I can’t thank Donor’s Choose enough! Funding materials is just one piece of the puzzle I can worry less about, because of Donor’s Choose. No Child Left Behind should carry some minimal requirements for classrooms like class size, required materials for each grade level, etc.

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