Recently, I had one of the best weeks ever in my nearly nine years of working at Arch MI.
Each day brought a half dozen or so messages from public school teachers thanking us for funding learning tools for their classes — ranging from Dr. Seuss books to science kits for conducting experiments.
Arch MI had donated generously in response to requests made by teachers through DonorsChoose.org, a nonprofit website that enables individuals and corporations to contribute to the funding of specific classroom projects.
DonorsChoose.org lists teacher requests in communities nationwide and enables would-be donors to search by ZIP code to find local classroom projects to support.
“It is so exciting to have two extra (laptop computers) for our students in fourth grade to use,” said a teacher in Walnut Creek, California. “Students will use them for writing, science and social studies. Thank you so much.”
The need can be great. Several of the public schools we selected for our donations have student populations drawn largely from low-income households that are already stretched to the limit.
By the end of my great work week, we had received messages of thanks from virtually all 28 of the teachers whose requests we had funded in the North Carolina and California communities where we maintain offices:
- “Thank you so much for your generous donations,” wrote an elementary school teacher in our headquarters city of Greensboro, North Carolina, who was able to purchase iPads for her elementary school class to do research. “These resources will prepare students with the 21st-century skills needed for the ever-evolving global economy.”
- “A love of reading is so important and you have helped me instill that,” a Raleigh, North Carolina, elementary teacher stated in his message about buying books designed to boost reading and writing skills.
- “It is so exciting to have two extra (laptop computers) for our students in fourth grade to use,” said a teacher in Walnut Creek, California. “Students will use them for writing, science and social studies. Thank you so much.”
Other requests we funded included replacing books that were destroyed after a tornado that damaged three Greensboro-area elementary schools in April last year.
It was enormously gratifying to be able to share these messages with our employees — many of whom have connections to these schools. In some cases, we received colorful, hand-drawn cards from younger students and photos of these new learning tools in classrooms.
What really impresses me is the dedication of these teachers and how much they care about their students.
Our donations were relatively modest compared to other contributions we’ve made to support education, but, according to the teachers we heard from, these gifts can make an enormous difference for students and their ability to fulfill their potential.
I highly recommend visiting the Donorschoose.org website to see a list of requests written by teachers in your area. You can contribute any amount to partially fund a request or make a larger donation to fully fund a project.
Arch MI is an active supporter of education and nonprofit organizations focused on housing, and I look forward to expanding on this initiative, perhaps as part of National Teacher Appreciation Week (which is set for this May 5–11).
As always, this blog is designed for dialogue. We’d love to hear about your own donations to schools and how a contribution has helped students succeed.