$1.3M donated to fund California school projects

August 30, 2010 12:07:17 PM PDT
Thousands of school kids across the Bay Area and California got some great news Monday. The wish lists they posted on the DonorsChoose.org website are all coming true thanks to a massive donation by San Francisco's Hilda Yao, who administers the Claire Giannini Education Fund.

Teachers go to DonorsChoose.org and usually post an item they would like to buy or a project they would like to do in the hopes that a donor will see it and maybe fund it. This time, one donor, a foundation, is funding all the projects, around 2,000 total, across California.

Marissa Martinez teaches kindergarten at El Dorado Elementary School in Hunters Point. She is one of the teachers that stands to benefit from the gift.

"With the budget cuts this year in California, it's been, especially, this is a high-poverty school and we don't have anything," she told ABC7.

The Claire Giannini Fund is going to pay for all the DonorsChoose.org projects in California to the tune of $1.3 million. The late Claire Giannini Hoffman was the daughter of the man who founded Bank of America. Hilda Yao runs the fund now and says she wanted to make a contribution that her late mother and Giannini Hoffman would be proud of.

"I wanted to find a way to reward and recognize teachers who take the initiative and students who have the imagination to come up with creative ways in which to enhance the learning experience," Yao said.

DonorsChoose.org is a website where teachers can post requests for items they need for their students. Donors can then peruse the projects and choose which ones they want to support, except this year, they are all being paid for and 67,000 students across the state will benefit.

Martinez wants to use the money to pay for a play-therapy area where her students can feel safe.

"Some of them do come from disadvantaged backgrounds and they've been through so many hard times in their lives, and I'd like to create an area where they feel safe and they come to school," she said.

The DonorsChoose.org staff will now go out and buy the items or take care of procuring the projects for the teachers and ship them out. Some of them could be arriving at their destinations as early as this week.

DonorsChoose.org staff and the Claire Giannini Foundation hope more people will see this story and visit the website and contribute to their local schools themselves.


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