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How BUILD.org Scaled its Impact through a Partnership with Comcast NBCUniversal and DonorsChoose

By meeting teachers where they are, BUILD was able to equip educators with an entrepreneurship program designed for high school students.


Your team may have the perfect educational program or resource — but with more than 98,000 public schools across the country, how do you get that learning tool into the hands of teachers and students?

The answer: we need to meet teachers where they are! Teachers are always looking for more resources, and by offering them the learning tools and incentives, we make it easier for them to take on new and innovative projects that keep their students motivated and engaged throughout the school year.

Educators at more than 86% of public schools have used DonorsChoose to request resources for their students and classroom. Thanks to our 23-year history of helping teachers do what they do best, we know how to inspire and activate some of the country’s most innovative and dedicated educators.

Through a unique partnership between DonorsChoose and BUILD.org — supported by Comcast NBCUniversal — BUILD was able to equip educators with an entrepreneurship program designed for high school students. Teachers who participated in and completed the program were given DonorsChoose funding credits as an incentive.  

“Thanks to the partnership with DonorsChoose and their highly engaged teacher community, BUILD.org was able to grow the footprint of its programming and inspire the next generation of problem solvers and entrepreneurs,” said Dalila Wilson-Scott, EVP and Chief Diversity Officer, Comcast Corporation. “We are grateful to support this collaboration through Project UP, our $1B commitment to advance digital equity and build a future of unlimited possibilities.”

The Challenge: Expand teacher participation in the BUILD Design Challenge

Since 2020, Comcast NBCUniversal has fueled BUILD.org’s Design Challenge to empower 7th–12th grade students in underserved areas to take action by developing innovative solutions for their communities. Thanks to this funding, teachers are trained to guide students through 10 hours of Design Thinking instruction, during which students identify a problem within their community, and prototype and test a solution with the end goal of developing young entrepreneurs.

Within its first years of operation, the BUILD Design Challenge was a big success among teachers who participated. BUILD wanted to expand on this impact and was looking for avenues to introduce the Design Challenge to educators in new schools. They sought a partner with a large network of teachers to spread the word about the benefits of participating in the Challenge and to encourage adoption.

Our Approach: Activate the DonorsChoose teacher community through classroom funding incentives

The DonorsChoose team instantly saw the value of BUILD’s project-based, youth entrepreneurship program for teachers, and we had a sense that educators would be excited to facilitate the Challenge with their students. 

To encourage teachers to learn more about the program, we offered qualifying educators a DonorsChoose funding credit for attending a 1-hour webinar, and additional credits for completing the challenge. DonorsChoose funding credits are highly motivating for teachers, who understand the value of the resources they represent for their students. (In a 2014 Harvard Business School supervised study, teachers offered DonorsChoose funding credits were 14 times more likely to help their students’ progress through a math course than a comparable group encouraged to achieve the same milestone with no such credit!) 

All DonorsChoose funding credits were backed by Comcast. Teachers had the ability to use this funding towards their next DonorsChoose project request, helping to fill their classroom with learning materials while engaging students in hands-on learning.

The Results: We hit the numbers and teachers were happy

Our ongoing partnership is on track to exceed goals around webinar attendance and Challenge completion this year!

  • 1,000+ teachers attended the design challenge training webinar, providing BUILD.org with a robust email list of new teachers to further engage 
  • 220 teachers have already completed the Design Challenge, and we’re on track for an additional 160 teachers to participate by the end of the school year, exceeding our goal of 200 new teacher participants

Teachers were thrilled to be served this opportunity and were especially grateful to receive classroom funding for engaging in content that was relevant to them and their work.

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