4 Hour Work Week and DonorsChoose.org
July 11, 2007
Because I entered Tim Ferriss’s Endless Summer Contest (tagline: Travel the World and Improve It for Free) at the 4 Hour Work Week, (granted, I wasn’t a finalist – you can’t win ’em all), I received a gift certificate to DonorsChoose.org.
From their email:
“Donors Choose, partially backed by Pierre Omidyar, the co-founder of eBay, offers anyone the chance to fund class projects-ranging from crayons to field trips-posted by public school teachers. And you get thank you letters from students! How cool is that? It feels great and is addictive. The CEO, my former wrestling partner, has been on Oprah, and even people like Claire Danes and Morgan Freeman are on board. Try it and you’ll see why. Enjoy and share your experiences!”
Looking through the site, I was amazed by all the great projects listed, and by how close to home some of the project it funds are (literally, some of the schools listed are within 15 miles of where I live). Some of the teacher’s proposals really hit home with me too – the literacy related ones in particular, because the ability to read and write unlocks doors, especially now with the way the internet connects the world (look, I managed to mention how the web has changed the world in yet another post! is that annoying yet?).
The geography and world culture ones also resonated, mainly because I am continuously amazed how unaware many otherwise intelligent U.S. citizens know about the world outside America’s borders. And of course, the technology related ones also stuck out, because that changes the world and all.
In the end, I picked a proposal entitled “It’s a Small World After All – When You Have A Map!” that would supply a Chicago elementary school with current maps of the world and National Geographic Traveler books about various countries. My reasoning for selecting this one out of thousands of proposals was essentially emotional (hey, marketing mastermind Seth Godin says that human beings are meaning machines, and he’s not wrong). I remembered constantly checking out the travel books from my local library as a kid, so in a very small way, this donation lets me help other kids do that too.
*On a side note, isn’t it a nice marketing move to give Donors Choose gift certificates to the contestants, most of whom have blogs? And of course, Tim mentioned it on his own blog too, which gets tons of traffic.