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DonorsChoose is an online charity connecting you to classrooms in need. This is an absolute wonderful way to help in your own community. Even schools in affluent communities need help due to budget cuts. It enables you to narrow down where exactly you’d like your money or donations to go. There’s a local filter too for easy searching!

Public school teachers from every corner of America post their classroom project requests on and they range from pencils to violins to microscope slides, depending on the specific class and units they are studying.

The best part is you can give any amount of money to any project that inspires you. You will receive photos of the project in action, thank-yous, and a cost report showing you how each dollar was spent. This is something most charities will not provide. If you give over $100 you will also receive hand-written thank-yous from the students. Very adorable.

You can give as little as $1 and get the same feedback as a high donor. This is what they call citizen philanthropy.

It also allows you to choose topics such as math & science, music & the arts, special needs, etc. Here’s how it works –

1. You give to a classroom project (which you select online – there are hundreds to choose from)

2. They deliver the materials to the class (everything from carpets to projectors to climbing ropes to colored pencils – there are so many various missing items from classrooms/schools unfortunately)

3. Kids learn and show it in photos and thank-you notes! This makes it more personal as you see where your gift is going.

This is a great gift idea for teachers, parents, kids and everyone in support of education. You can give to a particular classroom project in honor of someone and the classroom will personally thank them – personal touches makes giving so much more rewarding.

Tip: You can also create a wedding registry through “Donors Choose” if you’d like to go the more non-traditional route.

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Speaking of Marriage

Winifred M. Reilly, M.A., MFT

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