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The 3 Reasons Companies are Helping Teachers #ClearTheList this School Year

Explore why companies are jumping on board and how their support helps teachers and students


We’re deep into the back-to-school season, and teachers are asking the public to help #ClearTheList of school supplies they need for the new year! You’ve probably seen the buzz and wishlists on social — we’ve got the scoop on exactly why companies are getting involved and how they can have the biggest impact.

When teachers post about #ClearTheList, they’re asking the public to help stock their classroom.

Public schools aren’t created equal, and many teachers don’t have the materials they need to bring their creative classroom ideas to life. Teachers spend an average of over $740 a year from their own wallets on classroom supplies. Educators who work with mostly students of color spend a lot more of their own money on classroom materials, indicating access to fewer resources from their schools — compared to schools with mostly White students, teacher-out-of-pocket spending is 31% higher. 

#ClearTheList with DonorsChoose

DonorsChoose was founded in 2000 on the belief that members of the public would be excited to help teachers get the resources they need, if they could see exactly where their money was going. Since then, we’ve connected nearly 750,000 teachers seeking classroom resources with donors across the country.

Companies and foundations have long played a key role by supporting teachers’ requests at scale, and interest in teacher-centric movements like #ClearTheList is only growing. Let’s dive into the three reasons companies are jumping on board.

1. Help Keep Great Teachers Teaching

Right now, schools are facing an historic teacher shortage, and there isn’t always an easy way for the public to help. Luckily, stocking teachers’ classrooms with the resources they request is a proven way to make a difference — a recent study from the University of Michigan showed that when a teacher has one of their requests funded through DonorsChoose, they’re 22% more likely to stay in the classroom.

In the wake of COVID-19, multiple state Departments of Education have partnered with DonorsChoose to fund teacher requests and support teacher retention. In Hawai’i, Salesforce Chair & Co-CEO Marc Benioff and Lynne Benioff launched a public-private partnership with the Hawai’i DOE to expand their impact, clearing 1,960 teachers’ lists.

2. Connect with Customers on a Hyperlocal Level

Public schools are often the heart and soul of a community, and teachers are the glue that keep those communities strong. For companies looking to build close ties with people in their local geography, funding teachers’ requests is an effective and efficient way to do exactly that. Every time a teacher pulls a new book off their shelves or uncaps a new set of dry erase markers, they’re reminded that their favorite local brand believes in their ideas and their students.

Last school year, Panda Cares, the philanthropic arm of Panda Express, launched a $3 million campaign matching donations to projects from schools serving students from low-income households near Panda Express's 2,200+ locations. By rallying the public, they were able to clear more than 10,000 classroom requests. 

3. Support a Cause at a National Scale

On any given school day, you can find students diving into marine science, dancing their way through musical theater rehearsal, discussing racial justice, and so much more. No matter what your CSR or philanthropy team is focussed on, you can move the needle by supporting education. Funding related teacher requests has two big benefits: the support immediately gets learning resources into students’ hands, and it plants seeds for everything students can accomplish in the future.

Recognizing the positive impact that team sports has on student achievement, The DICK'S Sporting Goods Foundation aims to give 2 million kids the chance to play by 2024. Since 2015, DICK'S Sporting Goods Foundation has doubled donations to requests for team sports equipment — from basketballs and archery bows, to swim caps and jerseys — bringing visibility and funding to this beloved school experience.

At DonorsChoose, we have 22 years of experience helping teachers stock their classrooms and bring creativity to life. 

Public school teachers use DonorsChoose to request the resources their students need to thrive, and donors give at all levels to bring those projects to life. Unlike other wishlist sites or crowdfunding platforms, we work closely with school district leaders and send resources, not cash, directly to the school. As a 501(c)3 nonprofit, all donations are tax-deductible, and we’ve received top ratings from charity watchdogs like Charity Navigator and Guidestar. We partner with dozens of companies and foundations every school year to bring learning dreams to life and foster a more just and equitable education system.

Ready to explore how your team can #ClearTheList with DonorsChoose? Connect with us!

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