- Inequity persists even as more teachers turn to online fundraising to help meet their classroom’s basic needs. According to a new report from Grantmakers For Education analyzing data from classroom crowdfunding platform DonorsChoose, requests from low-poverty schools get funded at higher rates despite the majority coming from high-poverty schools.
- The report, based on 1.8 million teacher requests over the last decade, shows educators are turning to crowdfunding for academic materials related to language/literacy and math/science at the highest rates.
- Teachers are also increasingly requesting funding to alleviate student hunger and provide warmth and care, with requests in these categories growing by 187% in three years.
Educators are turning to crowdfunding for basic academic materials across the nation at a time when education philanthropies are shifting away from that kind of support. More teachers are also resorting to online fundraising to support whole-child approaches, with requests for nonacademic support 3.5 times higher in high-poverty schools than in affluent ones.
Platforms like DonorsChoose, GoFundMe and EdSeed are only becoming more popular. As of November 2019, 30 school districts belonged to DonorsChoose's District Partnership Program, which provides support for teachers who use the crowdfunding platform. It also ensures the integrity of donations align with districts’ priorities.
Often, funds for supplies come out of teachers' own pockets. For example, teachers in California spend the most money buying their own school supplies, averaging $664 per teacher annually, while Michigan teachers spend $628 of their own money. Nationally, teachers spend $459 dollars per year, and data shows teachers in high-poverty schools spend more of their own money on supplies for their students than those in low-poverty schools.
Despite crowdfunding's growing popularity, some districts remain wary of letting teachers participate over fears of misspent funds. To clear up the confusion, Chiefs for Change recently released a crowdfunding guide, created in partnership with EdSurge, for K-12 teachers to protect both educators and donors.