Guest blogger Genein Letford is an elementary music teacher from Canoga Park, California and a member of the DonorsChoose.org Board of Directors. (She's also a recent TEDx speaker!)
Some milestones you never forget. That first group of little ones you inspired. The first time a bee flew into your class and you had to send the bee, along with your math lesson, out the window. Your student’s first "a-ha" moment that you guided them toward for so long.This has been an exciting time for first milestones on DonorsChoose.org as well. On January 25th, we celebrated our #FirstMillion funded projects. ONE MILLION!!! I intentionally use the pronoun "we" because that feat included all of us: teachers, students, donors, partners, and the DonorsChoose.org staff and board.As your teacher representative on the DonorChoose.org board-of-directors, I get a front row seat to how DonorsChoose.org is a leader in "firsts".
The First in Crowdfunding
Today there are so many crowdfunding sites that one can become overwhelmed. DonorsChoose.org was founded in 2000, and it was arguably the first crowdfunding site to provide a platform to raise money from multiple donors in one simple place. Even though DonorsChoose.org was the first, they keep evolving to make their site and user experience better and better. These days, they aren't just a crowdfunding site; they have become so much more — a community, a movement, and a team that helps you raise funds for your projects.
The First for Teachers
DonorsChoose.org, which was founded by former history teacher Charles Best, has always been for teachers. Educators are not a subset of the people DonorsChoose.org serves. They are the exclusive focus of DonorsChoose.org. Not only was the organization founded by a classroom teacher, they constantly survey teachers for in-depth feedback, they include a teacher on their Board of Directors, and they recently launched a Teacher Ambassador Program, which allows successful DonorsChoose.org teachers to help new teachers use the platform successfully. They know teachers. They get us. For teachers, by teachers.
The First to 1 Million Classroom Projects
I can barely believe we reached this milestone, but we have! If you'd like to read more about the impact of DonorsChoose.org teachers so far, check out this page. As we celebrate the #FirstMillion projects and get started on the next million, I hope you feel proud to be a DonorsChoose.org teacher. You and your fellow educators have played a downright heroic role in this milestone. It's a testament to your ingenuity and compassion — and to the tangible difference you’ve made in the lives of so many. The board (and the whole team) is proud to be part of these firsts, but we also strive every day to be the best for you.