Doing Our Best

Considerations on ways to share learning

The holiday season always brings with it the spirit of generosity. Charitable donation is a thoughtful and common gift that many choose to give every year. Meanwhile, the relationship between donors and the projects they fund is getting closer. Unlike the traditional system of organizations receiving donations and divvying out funds based on their own budgets, the increasing presence of crowd-sourced funding is changing the landscape of charitable giving. Crowd sourcing offers donors the chance to donate to specific projects of their choosing. It eliminates intermediary decision makers who make executive choices about how to distribute donations in the traditional nonprofit model. Some donors are opting to give to crowd-sourced causes because they feel that they see where their donations are going. Other donors stick with more traditionally structured nonprofits because they believe in the missions of the already-established institutions with proven track records for helping those in need. Here are some organizations with worthy, education-related causes for your consideration:

Literacy Partners:
Strengthening Families through Literacy

Literacy Partners has been helping adults improve their reading, writing, and English skills for 40 years. At Literacy Partners, their primary goal is to break the cycle of poverty for New York City families by addressing the root cause of poverty through their work — providing free adult literacy classes to low-income individuals. Educating parents is the key to ending the cycle of illiteracy that passes down through the generations. With 2.1 million adults unable to read or write in English at the eighth-grade level, this is a crucial and daunting task. By educating the parent, we not only meet their immediate needs, but we create significant lasting results for their children as well. It is through education that opportunities and achievement exist. The families impacted by our programs gain the ability to create a better economic outcome for themselves, their families, and society at large. In addition to their current core curriculum that culminates in students attaining their GED or becoming fluent in the English language, Literacy Partners continues to develop new courses that meet the needs of our students. Currently, they are forming parenting classes, college prep and job preparation classes, and vocational preparation. These new initiatives will continue to broaden our students’ world views and strengthen their families, their workplaces, and ultimately their communities. With your support, Literacy Partners will continue to strengthen families through literacy until every adult can read this.
Teachers are heroes. They are relentless in their devotion to their schools, their classrooms, and especially their students. They are in the classroom every day educating our children — sometimes against all odds. They are pouring every bit of themselves into their job, inside and outside of the school day. But even after they finish devoting all of their time and love to our children, they aren’t done. Teachers dig into their own pockets to transform underfunded, under-loved classrooms into vibrant learning environments. This can cost a teacher as much $1,000 a year.

At, we believe that teachers deserve more. More funding, more support from their communities, and more recognition for all of the amazing things they do for our children. That’s why AdoptAClassroom was started in 1998.

For the last 15 years, they have been making it easy for donors to provide funding and support to classrooms throughout America. Teachers register their classrooms and needs online; donors discover classrooms through simple search tools and make targeted contributions. Funds go directly to teachers, who are able to spend that money immediately in our online marketplace. Donors get a thank-you note and a report on how their funds were spent. This model benefits teachers and donors alike. Donors see, and feel, the immediate impact they have in a classroom. Teachers are able to easily raise, receive, and spend much-needed funds on their classrooms. is a nonprofit website that provides a simple way to address educational inequity. Public school teachers create classroom project requests and donors can pick the projects they want to support. Charles Best launched the organization twelve years ago out of a Bronx public high school where he taught history. is one of Oprah Winfrey’s “ultimate favorite things” and was named by Fast Company as one of the “50 Most Innovative Companies in the World,” the first time a charity has received this recognition. At this nonprofit website, teachers at half of all the public schools in America have created project requests, and more than a million people have donated $210 million to projects that inspire them. All told, 10 million students — most from low-income communities, and many in disaster-stricken areas — have received books, art supplies, field trips, technology, and other resources that they need to learn.