In the spirit of Teachers Appreciation Week, comedian Stephen Colbert donated $800,000 to South Carolina teachers. Colbert on Thursday, made the proclamation in a live video that was showed in Greenville, South Carolina, at Alexander Elementary School. Colbert, who was a student in South Carolina public schools while growing up, donated the proceeds from the auction of the set from his Comedy Central show, The Colbert Report, along with funds matched by ScanSource and Share Fair Nation part of The Morgridge Family Foundation, in the amount of $800,000, to fund almost 1,000 teachers’ projects in 375 schools.
The announcement was made in New York during a conference that was hosted by a non-profit education crowdfunding called Donorschoose.org. The non-profit allows teachers to makes request for experiences and materials for projects to help students learns. Donors donate to projects that they feel passionate about.
Colbert was joined by Damon Qualls, a teacher from Alexander Elementary School, for the announcement of the $800,000 donation to the South Carolina public schools. State and local school officials went to the event along with Molly Spearman, the state schools superintendent.
The project will fund classroom school supplies, professional development for teachers, school branded clothing, and new books. One of the projects was Chrome for Collaboration, a request made by Katie Silvanic, in which she requested $2,357 in Chromebooks to help students work together in language arts and math. The donation will mostly fund the extras, but in some instances it will fund basic supplies for students that the district just has not been able to afford, according to Spearman.
Alexander Elementary has been a big part in spreading the word about Donorschoose.org in South Carolina. The Title One school has received more than $100,000 in grants earlier this year. It has now received more than $125,000 for experiences and supplies, according to Principle Campbell.
Campbell asked each teacher to write at the minimum, one grant request this year. Now because of what Colbert has done every teacher has had a project funded.
The young Donorschoice.org was brought to South Carolina with the help of ScansSource in 2005. ScanSource helped with technical support, offered advice, help set up an office, and they advised them on how to structure the non-profit as it grew larger. With the help of Donorschoose.org more then $5.6 million in projects have been funded in South Carolina. Teachers are responsible to go online and request the funding, but it is the responsibility of people to provide it. Teachers and administrators are hoping the attention will encourage others to donate, and help more schools across the country.
Colbert’s donation of $800,000 to South Carolina school teachers will make a lot of students and teachers happy. Some of the donations were delivered Thursday by ScanSource and Donors.org to the surprise of some very excited teachers. Girls who are part of a book club will be thrilled to see books that they have been requesting for weeks. Librarian, Beth Baily opened boxes of books with joy, expressing how happy her students will be and how having these books will encourage them to read. The teachers are extremely grateful, as are the students. As Colbert said during his announcement, “Enjoy your learning South Carolina.”
By Jessica Hamel
Photo By Christine Grabig – Creativecommons Flickr license