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The DonorsChoose.org Avengers: Behind the Scenes with Our Board


Guest blogger Genein Letford is an elementary music teacher from Canoga Park, California and a member of the DonorsChoose.org Board of Directors.  [caption id="attachment_10332" align="aligncenter" width="720"]

Genein and Her Students

Genein in action[/caption]Marvel Comics is onto something: heroes who bring value to their communities and fight injustice to keep their cities functioning. Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, and other heroes individually use their powers to solve problems for a greater good. But when they come together as The Avengers? They're unstoppable!As storytellers and readers, we're told to find the hero within the story—the one who overcomes obstacles, not for the betterment of themselves but for the advancement of those charged to their care.I’m back in New York at the DonorsChoose.org Board of Directors meeting, glancing around the table at this group of heroes—people who are top leaders in their own fields—who donate their time, insight, and expertise to lead this organization. Then, right smack in the middle of the meeting, they stop to identify the true superhero of the DonorsChoose.org story: You. "Teachers are the real heroes of this narrative," says Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn. "The question is: How do we best serve them? How do we connect them with the resources they need to be successful with the mission of closing this gap of educational inequality?"The DonorsChoose.org team, your sidekicks, are right alongside the board, constantly reevaluating processes to make your experience on the site that much smoother and help you obtain resources for your students.

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Revamping Project Creation

"Teachers are busy and one thing they don't have a lot of is time," says design director Dan Betz as he shows the board the new project submission interface. "We've revamped the entire project creation process so teachers are spending less time creating projects and more time where it counts, using these resources with their students."Sign in to your teacher account (or sign up for one!) to check out the new project creation process and see for yourself! You’re going to love it. It's mobile-friendly, makes editing a breeze, and helps you confirm your funded materials faster.

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Exploring New Territory

The DonorsChoose.org team is also testing several initiatives that support teachers in an array of areas. One pilot allows teachers to request life essentials such as food, clothing and hygiene supplies for their students. This is a pivotal move in addressing the most basic needs of our students.A new professional development pilot honors your desire to grow as a teacher and better serve your students. This platform allows you to access quality PD while connecting with other educators throughout the process.Student-led projects, another initiative, allows students to not only be problem solvers but problem identifiers. It empowers them up to know they too can make an impact in the area that resonates with them.

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Building Community

After spending the entire day focused on leading this organization in the right direction, the board members head back to their respective cities to continue their own work, but not before leaving me with a final thought.DonorsChoose.org is not just an average crowdfunding site for teachers. DonorsChoose.org is a community of educators accessing resources, sharing ideas, and enhancing their craft to give students the tools they need to live their best life.It’s a place where teachers can "power up" and be better prepared to fight injustices in education.It’s a place for the superhero of the real world: you.

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