Nineteen years ago, our founder Charles Best brought a tray of his mom’s spiced pears to the teacher workroom, and told his colleagues each pear came at a price: to eat one, every teacher had to post a project on a new website he was creating called DonorsChoose.org. Charles’s aunt, a nurse, funded the first project. Terrified that no one else would step forward to help students and teachers, Charles then proceeded to secretly fund the next nine projects himself.
Fast forward two decades, and the nearly 500,000 teachers we serve have become the beneficiaries of a wonderful act of generosity, the scale of which Charles could never have imagined back when he was secretly saving up to fund projects in the South Bronx. Dr. Carol Kupers Whalen, an immense contributor to the welfare of young people during her lifetime, bequeathed more than half a million dollars to support teachers and students on DonorsChoose.org.
Dr. Kupers Whalen was a professor at University of California, Irvine, from 1970 until her retirement in 2011. She was an expert in developmental psychopathology, publishing numerous studies focused on children and adolescents with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorders (ADHD). To quote from U.C. Irvine’s memoriam:
Her early research broke new ground by using innovative experimental designs in schools and other natural settings to investigate how pediatric pharmacotherapy for ADHD affects children’s self-perceptions, academic performance, and peer relationships, as well as the ways in which peers, teachers, and parents view the children’s abilities and difficulties. In later work, she conducted intensive assessments of the everyday experiences of adolescents with ADHD to identify factors that trigger or exacerbate maladaptive behavior (including stress-related substance use), as well as factors that protect against distress and discord.
To honor Dr. Kupers Whalen’s legacy, the funds she donated were used to match donations from the public to over 1,600 classroom projects serving students with ADHD. Our team and the broader DonorsChoose.org community join Dr. Kupers Whalen’s family in feeling immensely blessed to be a part of remembering this remarkable woman.