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Wasserman Foundation gives $4 million to L.A. schools

OW Staff | 11/14/2011, 8:02 a.m.

LOS ANGELES, Calif.--DonorsChoose.org, the innovative national online education charity that allows public school teachers to seek independent funding for classroom supplies and resources via its website, announced today that the Wasserman Foundation has made a two-year commitment of $4 million to support Los Angeles School District and charter teachers. This includes a $2 million gift card campaign to parents and the community and a $2 million challenge grant to Angelenos to fund Los Angeles schools through DonorsChooseLA.org.

"In these tough economic times, we need innovative, interactive partnerships like this that empower parents to get involved in their children's education," Mayor Villaraigosa said. "I would like to thank the Wasserman Foundation once again for their bold vision and for their unwavering commitment to investing in our children's future."

"Through the generosity of the Wasserman Foundation parents and teachers have an amazing opportunity to provide resources to cash-strapped classrooms. At a time of continuing, massive budget cuts to public schools, this program gives a desperately-needed boost to our efforts to provide a quality education to all of our students," Superintendent Deasy said.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy, President and CEO of the Wasserman Foundation Casey Wasserman, DonorsChoose.org Founder and CEO Charles Best, and VP of Global Diversity, Community and Government Affairs Cecilia Carter participated in the announcement at Huntington High School.

All LAUSD public and charter school teachers have been encouraged to post up to two classroom projects with a total value of $800 which need funds on www.DonorsChooseLA.org. The goal is to fulfill needs and foster innovation in Los Angeles schools. The Wasserman Foundation donation will match dollar for dollar all donations made to LAUSD public and charter school classrooms during the next two years. Starting this month, over 600,000 Los Angeles households with a student attending a public school in LAUSD will receive a $15 DonorsChooseLA.org gift card to fund classroom projects in their own children's schools.

The Mayor's Partnership for Los Angeles Schools will play role in this campaign as will charter school operators including Green Dot and Alliance College-Ready Public Schools.

"I hope this project sparks tens of thousands of Angelenos to become micro-philanthropists by aiding critical teacher requests and creating a more robust learning environment for our kids," said Casey Wasserman.

"The Wasserman Foundation support will not only enable innovative teachers to receive resources for their classroom, it will also enable 100,000 LAUSD parents and Angelinos to directly support the classroom project of their choice," said Charles Best. "This partnership will make LAUSD a beacon of engaged citizens and energized teachers."

Later this winter, customers who visit participating Los Angeles Starbucks Coffee locations will receive a DonorsChooseLA.org gift card, enabling them to become an education micro-philanthropists and engage with their public schools in a simple, accountable and personal way.

Classroom projects that will be funded include books, microscopes, field trips, and musical instruments. Anyone can visit DonorsChooseLA.org to find a classroom project that inspires them. Once the project reaches its funding goal, donors receive photos of the project taking place, a thank you letter from teacher and a cost report showing how each dollar was spent.