Families & the Community

Fundraising Effort Launches to Help Teachers Forge Connections With Families

By Francisco Vara-Orta — November 01, 2017 2 min read

Teachers who want to get to know students and their families better after school will have a chance to get some funding toward those efforts through a new fundraising campaign that DonorsChoose.org launches this week.

The website, which for nearly two decades has helped educators raise money to help buy supplies for their classrooms, has partnered with the Carnegie Corporation of New York to launch its first-ever campaign to help teachers hold “family engagement nights,” according to Tim Sommer, partnerships director at DonorsChoose.org.

Carnegie will offer about $500,000 toward matching—dollar for dollar—what teachers raise themselves, according to Celeste Ford, a spokeswoman for the foundation. Overall, DonorsChoose.org officials anticipate approving about 200 proposals from teachers throughout the country. Sommer said that the organization will be looking for creativity in teachers’ pitches.

Teachers of all grade levels are eligible to apply, including those in early-childhood programs, Sommer said. They will follow the same pitch process as they would for any fundraising campaign on DonorsChoose.org, but must focus on explaining why they need certain supplies for their particular idea for a family-engagement night.

When setting up a campaign on DonorsChoose.org, teachers sign onto the website to create a project proposal that includes a wish list and where to buy the goods they need. Each application is screened by website staff to ensure it’s a legitimate request from an educator who works in a public school or public charter school and works with students directly at least 75 percent of the time. If approved, the fundraising portal goes live usually within three days. Fundraising can last up to four months, and once the goals are met, as 70 percent of proposals do, the site’s staff will order all the goods requested and mail them directly to the teacher.

Over the years, DonorsChoose.org has helped teachers raise nearly $600 million, according to data on the website. And the average cost of a funded project for teachers is $596.

Finding ways to more closely link families with their children’s teachers and the work they are doing in their classrooms has grown as a priority for education philanthropy, said Ford.

TheEvery Student Succeeds Act, the current federal law for K-12 schools, replaces the term “parental involvement” with “parent and family engagement,” which some see as fostering more-collaborative relationships between schools and the wider community, Education Week wrote in a 2016 analysis.

Sommer said his organization hopes to have projects approved as quickly as possible to get the programs running, and completed by end of February. The parents and community members who take part in the family-engagement night activities will then be asked to fill out a survey about their experience so more research could be done to see which programs seemed to make an impact.

Those who successfully fill out the information on site right after the activity will get a DonorsChoose.org gift card through which they can play the role of education philanthropist by deciding which project in their school or district should get some more funding.

Teachers can apply here.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Culturally Relevant Pedagogy to Advance Educational Equity
Schools are welcoming students back into buildings for full-time in-person instruction in a few short weeks and now is the perfect time to take a hard look at both our practices and systems to build
Content provided by PowerMyLearning
Classroom Technology Webinar Making Big Technology Decisions: Advice for District Leaders, Principals, and Teachers
Educators at all levels make decisions that can have a huge impact on students. That’s especially true when it comes to the use of technology, which was activated like never before to help students learn
Professional Development Webinar Expand Digital Learning by Expanding Teacher Training
This discussion will examine how things have changed and offer guidance on smart, cost-effective ways to expand digital learning efforts and train teachers to maximize the use of new technologies for learning.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Families & the Community Whitepaper
Fight covid learning losses with communication
A study on how changing the way teachers and families communicate impacts the academic, social and emotional well-being of children. Usin...
Content provided by Klassroom
Families & the Community Video Meet the Parent Activists of the Pandemic
Four stories of parents who organized others to get children the education and resources they need, despite institutional headwinds.
1 min read
Families & the Community Opinion Vaccinating Teachers Is Just One Part of the Reopening Puzzle
Winning parents' trust back is every bit as important in bringing every student back into the classroom.
Ruth R. Faden, Matthew A. Crane, Annette Anderson & Megan Collins
5 min read
Vaccine vials and a syringe on a flat surface
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty<br/>
Families & the Community Photos PHOTOS: Schools as COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics
A look at how and where school districts are using their facilities to host Covid-19 vaccination clinics.
Education Week Photo Staff
1 min read
Vaccine recipients meet with shot givers at the Anchorage School District headquarters. The Anchorage School District headquarters hosted a COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Anchorage, Alaska, on February 3, 2021.
Vaccine recipients meet with shot givers at the Anchorage School District headquarters. The Anchorage School District headquarters hosted a COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Anchorage, Alaska, on February 3, 2021.
Marc Lester/for Education Week