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Creating Surprise & Delight: Thea Foundation Fully Funds Arkansas Art & Music Projects

By hand picking projects, Thea Foundation maintains a grassroots connection at a statewide scale


Arkansas teacher Mrs. Weaver needed to fill her art supply closet so that her Kindergarteners could express themselves through hands-on, engaging activities. She turned to DonorsChoose to request all the basics — glue sticks, oil pastels, crayons, pencil sharpeners, and more. Thea Foundation, an arts in education foundation, spotted that Mrs. Weaver’s school had recently been struck by a strong tornado and swooped in to fully fund her project. That same day, DonorsChoose staff ordered Mrs. Weaver’s resources and shipped them her way. Mrs. Weaver shared her gratitude:

“We are elated to be able to start using some of our favorite supplies again and even add some new ones to our closet! Without donors like you, we would be limited in what we had access to because of funding. Thanks for supporting my classroom!”

Expanding grassroots giving through DonorsChoose

When Thea Foundation was first founded in 2001, the team would drive to local art stores, buy supplies for teachers, and deliver those resources to Arkansas schools. This strategy allowed for a deep, hands-on connection between the foundation and local schools, but it wasn’t easily scalable. Thea Foundation sought a way to streamline their funding and fulfillment while making sure the resources they purchased reflected what teachers and students needed most.

In 2011, Thea Foundation began partnering with DonorsChoose and have since given more than $500,000 to art and music supply requests from Arkansas teachers. To retain that community-centric, hands-on ethos, the Foundation team hand-picks projects to support throughout the year, giving 50% of the total project cost through a self-serve funding account.

Fully funding projects to celebrate Arkansas teachers 

In 2023, Thea Foundation wanted to do something above and beyond for teachers, recognizing the incredible challenges educators and students have faced over the past few years. In a single day, they fully funded 70 Arkansas art projects, guaranteeing teachers quick success and letting teachers and students know that their community is rooting for their success.

"Thea Foundation is incredibly grateful for the service Donors Choose provides the teachers of Arkansas. Having access to such a powerful information-sharing and money-raising platform allows organizations like ours to put the money we raise from our concerned donor base directly into the hands of public school educators. Educators who find themselves continuously on the precipice of budget cuts or facing the hollow challenges of unfunded mandates. Our growth with DonorsChoose has produced a likely corollary, growth in teacher effectiveness, not just in K-12 art programs, but in a variety of classrooms across the entire state of Arkansas." 

—Nick Leopoulos, Thea Foundation Executive Director


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