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Second Annual Partner Summit Brings Top Supporters to Bay Area


This month, our top corporate partners joined us in the Bay Area for our second annual Partner Summit.The event kicked off with a cocktail reception and dinner hosted by Google at their Mountain View headquarters. Guests included DonorsChoose.org supporters Biz Stone (co-founder of Twitter),  Craig Newmark (founder of Craigslist), and Patrick Pichette (CFO of Google).The next morning, our corporate partners joined us at Facebook's headquarters in Menlo Park for a day-long series of panels and guest speakers.Here are a few of our favorite moments from Partner Summit 2014:Google CFO Patrick Pichette welcomed our guests to the event by sharing his personal story of finding, supporting, and following classrooms on DonorsChoose.org.

DonorsChoose.org founder and CEO Charles Best introduced the all-star DonorsChoose.org teachers who attended the event, sharing examples of the projects they've created for their students and the individual donors and corporate partners who have supported them. Teachers who attended included Hope Backman, who took her first grade class to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, David Lai, whose 49 funded projects included motion detectors for his 12th graders' calculators to help them graph distance, velocity and acceleration, and Shauna Hawes, who used DonorsChoose.org to  fund Linkbots to help her 6th grade technology students learn coding, geometry and math.

AKJ Books donated two copies of every Partner Summit attendee's favorite childhood book - one copy for each guest to keep and one to donate to the classroom of a teacher in attendance at the event. Guests wrote personal messages to the teacher and their students inside the cover of each donated book. Among the most popularly requested books were "Where the Wild Things Are", "Where the Sidewalk Ends", and "Oh, The Places You'll Go".

Theresia Gouw, Vice Chair of the DonorsChoose.org Board of Directors and a prominent Silicon Valley venture capitalist, welcomed our guests to Facebook. She highlighted a few of the ways DonorsChoose.org emulates the positive qualities of Silicon Valley startups: charismatic and vision-driven leadership, strong teams who have pride in what they are doing, and continuous innovation in programs.

Adam Grant, author of "Give and Take" and the youngest tenured professor at Wharton, spoke about the three fundamental styles of interaction: Giving, Matching, and Taking. As he explained how to identify, support, and engage with each personality type, he shared tactical management and hiring advice, such as "the goal isn’t getting the right person on the bus. Instead, it is about keeping the wrong people off the bus".

LinkedIn CEO, DonorsChoose.org Board of Directors member, and Glassdoor.com's Most Loved CEO in America, Jeff Weiner joined the group to share his thoughts on effective leadership. The most valuable lesson Jeff has learned? To “not keep the pitcher in the game for too long.”  If you find someone that you know isn’t doing their role well, making a change is the best solution for everyone involved.

Robert Romines, the superintendent of Moore Public Schools in Moore, Oklahoma, shared the story of the two schools in his district who were destroyed by an EF-5 tornado. Dr. Romines spoke about teaming up with DonorsChoose.org to rebuild Moore classrooms, thanks to over $1.5 million in funding from DonorsChoose.org donors and partners.

Our guests enjoyed having time to meet and visit with DonorsChoose.org team members and other partners during lunch in the Facebook cafeteria.

Entrepreneur Caterina Fake (founder of Flickr, Hunch, Findery, and Chairman at Etsy) ended the day with remarks on the importance of building community behind technology. In her words, "Something important about DonorsChoose.org is that there’s a person making something--there’s something very essential and important about that feeling. There’s a very strong sense of connection. Bringing meaning back into a world that seems so ephemeral and trivial."A full gallery of photos from the Open House and Partner Summit is available thanks to photographer Alex Barcelona.

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