Philanthropy Update

Online School-Donations Effort Aims to Boost Political Activism

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EdVoice, an Internet-based California advocacy group, has added a new twist to its efforts to mobilize grassroots support for changes to the state’s education system.

As an incentive to get people to fill out an online survey on education issues, the 4-year-old philanthropy-funded organization is donating a dollar to any California public school that each survey-taker designates.

Billing itself as “part bake sale, part online activism,” the EdVoice Schools Program is designed to increase involvement in the organization’s brand of e-mail lobbying while also helping schools.

After completing the survey, participants receive e-mails updating them on state-level issues and encouraging them to send e-mails in turn to legislators.

“The real benefit to the school is that it connects people in a network,” said EdVoice communications associate Steve O’Mara. “The way it’ll make a bigger difference is how it’ll improve policy.”

According to Mr. O’Mara, the program has raised just under $3,000 since it was launched in late October. He said it is catching on in small pockets throughout the state, helped by the feature that allows users to get an extra dollar donated to their designated schools by referring a friend. Schools can use the contributions for any purpose.

Based in Sacramento, EdVoice is financed by private donations and works with lobbying firms on issues such as racial and ethnic achievement gaps, accountability for student performance, and state funding for public schools.

Vol. 25, Issue 15, Page 15

Published in Print: December 14, 2005, as Online School-Donations Effort Aims to Boost Political Activism
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