Philly Teachers Turn to Crowd Funding for Supplies
Via NBC Philadelphia, Author: Keith Collins –
Some schoolteachers in Philadelphia are looking to the Internet to raise funds for basic school supplies amid ongoing budget shortfalls.
Philadelphia is one of the nation’s largest school districts, serving more than 190,000 traditional and charter school students, and it’s been working for several months to close a budget deficit of nearly $304 million. Until the district recently received $50 million in emergency aid, officials feared they wouldn’t be able to open in time for fall classes.
Allison Wudarski, a kindergarten teacher at the Julia deBurgos School in the Kensington section of the city, said her budget for school supplies each year is around $100 — and she doesn’t expect that to increase any time soon. Necessary supplies, she said, often come out of her own pocket.
“You want to give them everything, but it’s a little hard financially to do that,” Wudarski said.
To offset some of those costs, Wudarski has been raising money for supplies online and has gotten funding from people she doesn’t even know. Websites like DonorsChoose.org and Indiegogo allow teachers to crowd fund everything from scissors to musical instruments.
“I’ve gotten a ton of books and things like writing notebooks, crayons and paper, pencils,” she said.
On the website DonorsChoose.org, teachers list the specific supplies they need on a campaign page where anyone can donate any amount. Once a campaign is funded, the organization sends the items to the teachers.
Over the past three years, Wudarski has launched seven campaigns with goals ranging from $200 to more than $500 — and they’ve all been successfully funded. With just over a week to go before classes begin, she has two active campaigns going.