DonorsChoose helps provide supplies, resources for cash-strapped teachers

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Tuesday, September 27, 2022
DonorsChoose helps provide resources for cash-strapped teachers
DonorsChoose, a campaign to help teachers provide resources for their students, has raised more than $1.3 billion for projects across the country. Stacey Sager has the story.

FLUSHING, Queens (WABC) -- A campaign to help teachers provide resources for their students they can't afford on their own is providing support for supplies that are usually paid for out of pocket.

It's called DonorsChoose, and the beneficiaries are the teachers who can least afford to pay for the items themselves.

"If I had not used DonorsChoose, I don't know where I'd be," pre-K teacher Andy Yung said.

It was a career changer for Yung, who works at PS 244 in Flushing.

The website was founded by another New York City teacher more than two decades ago, and DonorsChoose quickly became a regular space For Yung, who is now a master at getting amazing teaching tools -- including puppets that proved to be a huge help during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It was hard to develop a rapport with kids who are at home, and you're teaching with a mask on," Yung said.

But he hardly stopped there. There were also supplies and gifts, all of them teaching tools for his kids and the school.

He was also able to use the site to give back to the community, raising funds for community libraries where people can get books.

There are two right now, and more on the way.

"During my 11 years of DonorsChoose, I think I have over 220 projects funded," Yung said. "Which equates to over $160,000."

It's an insane amount of money, but any teacher will tell you, the struggle to get it is real.

It's certainly portrayed that way in the ABC hit "Abbott Elementary," which has donated some of its marketing budget to funding classrooms.

The show chooses to highlight the desperation behind teachers' posts with humor.

As for Yung, his six-figures of funding represent only a fraction of what's been raised on the site -- $1.3 billion for projects all over the country.

"Then, when a project is funded by our donors and our corporate partners, we actually purchase the materials for the teachers and ship them directly to the classroom," DonorsChoose Vice President, Brand & Communications, Christopher Pearsall said.

It is a form of crowd-funding that was way ahead of its time.

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