Over 200 classrooms in Alameda and Santa Clara Counties just got a reason to celebrate, thanks to the Sobrato Family Foundation (SFF). As part of a “national flash funding” effort, Sobrato gave $258,000 in gifts to Bay Area schools to support projects posted on DonorsChoose.org.
DonorsChoose.org makes it easy to help classrooms in need by allowing teachers to post classroom project requests on the site and allowing donors to choose the ones they want to support. This unique donation model originated with a teacher in the Bronx who didn’t have enough copies of Little House on the Prairie for his students, and it’s really one of the most direct ways of connecting philanthropists to practical education needs that we’ve ever seen. The organization has offices in New York City and San Francisco.
These days, pretty much any movement worth paying attention to has its own hashtag, and this effort is no exception. #BestSchoolDay is a national effort, but Sobrato’s support is focused on the Bay Area in particular. Both celebrities and teachers have championed this effort to fund supplies, science equipment, field trips and resources that schools post on DonorsChoose.org. For example, Stephen Colbert was the one who recently announced the donors for #BestSchoolDay. With this recent show of local support, SFF really focused in on early literacy skills.
“When #BestSchoolDay partners come together, they better focus the public’s attention on what our schools need,” said Rick Williams, SFF’s CEO in a press release. “People recognize the San Francisco Bay Area, our home, as a place of opportunity. Sobrato wants to extend that opportunity to everyone who lives and learns here, and that’s why we support students and the teachers who guide them.”
The press release provided the following examples of how the Sobrato early literacy money will be used:
- In Fremont, Mrs. Forbes is using tactile play to teach five- and six-year olds letter awareness and comprehension.
- Mrs. Oliveras in Hayward focuses on active learning and word building to help students achieve success and enjoy their time at school.
- Ms. Isla in San Jose is building hands-on, EcoSTEM learning kits for her students – most of whom are English language learners.
According to DonorsChoose.org’s real-time dashboard of projects in California, over $17.3 million was raised for the 2015-2016 school year in California and at least 20,207 projects were funded in the state. Thus far, 62,725 donors have contributed to classroom needs in California in the current school year, and literacy is the No. 1 project subject. This is followed by math, applied sciences, special needs, and visual arts.
So besides SFF, who are some of these other 62,724 donors helping supply classrooms in the Bay Area these days?
You can see a list of the donors that Stephen Colbert announced on March 10 in the CBS news article, which includes plenty of celebrity names you’ll probably recognize. These donations are going to schools all around the country, but projects in the Bay Area are also being supported by the following donors:
- Jeff Weiner (CEO of LinkedIn, supporting San Mateo County, CA)
- Jeremy Stoppelman (CEO and co-founder, Yelp, supporting Oakland, CA)
- Sara and Evan Williams (Founder of Medium and co-founder of Twitter, supporting Nebraska and San Francisco County, CA)
- Seth Rogen and Lauren Miller Rogen actor and his wife, supporting Sonoma County, CA)
- Livia and Biz Stone (Co-founder of Twitter and co-founder and CEO of Askjelly.com, supporting Boston, MA and Contra Costa County, CA)