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Helping Classrooms After Natural Disasters

Since 2011, we’ve channeled more than $12 million towards rebuilding classrooms after disasters.


At DonorsChoose, we’ve helped hundreds of schools recover after natural disasters. Here’s what we do when we know a disaster is on its way and likely to damage schools.

  1. Fundraise. We know that it can take days or even weeks for teachers to return to their classrooms and assess their needs, but fundraising is most effective when national attention is focused on the impacted region. We start reaching out to citizen donors, foundations, and corporate partners right away to build a fund for affected teachers to tap into once they’ve identified their needs.
  2. Teacher outreach. We monitor news and social media, talk to districts and state leaders, and verify reports of damage to build a list if impacted schools. We then reach out  teachers and administrators in affected schools to learn how we can help.
  3. Fulfilling projects. Once teachers assess the damage, they create projects requesting the resources their classroom and students need. Because we’ve already raised the funds for these projects, we instantly begin fulfilling the requests. Our team coordinates with teachers and administrators on the ground to ensure we’re sending resources at the right time and to the right location.
"DonorsChoose was a great resource for teachers to reach out to other people that may be able to assist. The turnaround time for the projects was quick, and teachers were able to use those resources faster than what the district provided." —Principal Guajardo, Mitchell Elementary, Houston ISD

Where we've helped

Here are some of the areas we’ve helped teachers and students get back on their feet.

Tornadoes in Joplin, MO, 2011

Over 260 classrooms in Joplin, Missouri were destroyed by a tornado on May 20, 2011. Joplin teachers worked tirelessly to restock their classrooms with the things they lost, and donors around the country came together to help.

Superstorm Sandy, 2012

On October 29, 2012, hundreds of classrooms along the east coast were flooded, leveled, or damaged by Superstorm Sandy. The DonorsChoose community came to the rescue, donating funds to replace classroom furniture, first aid kits, technology, musical instruments, and books.

Tornadoes in Moore, OK, 2013

When an EF-5 tornado struck Moore, Oklahoma in 2013, 140 teachers lost their classrooms. Three of our staff members were on the ground helping teachers assess their needs, and contributions from our generous community of individuals and corporate partners helped us fund over 450 classroom projects.

Louisiana Flooding, 2016

In August 2016, Louisiana was devastated by historic flooding. Hundreds of classrooms were damaged, and several schools were completely destroyed. Individual donors along with our corporate partners like AT&T, Horace Mann, and Staples, brought more than 700 classroom recovery projects to life.

Hurricanes Harvey & Irma, 2017

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma flooded schools across Florida, Texas, and Louisiana. Through a combination of grants from partners like the Rebuild Texas Fund and individual donations, our community has given more than $9 million towards Harvey and Irma disaster recovery projects from hundreds schools, and continues to support the many schools on the long road to recovery.

“After experiencing the horrible effects of Hurricane Harvey, our faculty and staff have been able to put the pieces back together. We are truly thankful for all of the support from this awesome organization." —Tyla Thomas, Principal, Refugio Elementary School

Right now, we’re raising funds for schools in the southeast who have sustained damage from Hurricane Florence. Charity Navigator, the charity watchdog organization, has recommended DonorsChoose as a way to help after the storm because of our dedication to transparency and accountability.

See our Hurricane Florence recovery efforts so far.

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