In an effort to support Michigan teachers, retired school personnel are making donations designed to boost student learning around the state. Members of the Michigan Association of Retired School Personnel (MARSP) and the MARSP Foundation are contributing $10,000 in response to teacher requests for assistance through DonorsChoose.org.
Responding to 41 project requests from Michigan teachers impacting around 4,000 Michigan students, the retired educator group believes current teachers and students need support more than ever.
“We have helped our working colleagues with similar donations for several years but now may be the time they need it most,” says MARSP Executive Director Royce Humm. “DonorsChoose.org allows teachers to request funding for special classroom needs, whether its books, equipment or technology. Because it strictly focuses on education, it’s an ideal crowd-funding method that allows us to ‘flash fund’ projects that benefit thousands of students across the state.”
DonorsChoose.org was created by a Bronx high school history teacher who was trying to raise funds to buy books for his classroom in 2000. Today the website is available to teachers in every US public school.
“With so many new challenges imposed on teachers during the pandemic, we want our working colleagues to know we understand and appreciate them,” says Marie Wilkerson, chair of the MARSP Foundation board. “Although we give scholarships every year to public school employees who want to further their education, we recognize the urgent need to support learners in today’s environment.”
MARSP and the MARSP Foundation Inc. will each allocate $5,000 to fully fund as many projects as possible for schools with more than 50 percent of students from low-income households. Additionally, opportunities, where matching donations would apply, will be prioritized.
According to the DonorsChoose.org website, it is the only crowdfunding platform that vets each request, delivers materials directly to schools, and captures the impact of every project with photos, thank you notes, and a cost report showing how each dollar was spent. Since 2000 the charity has funded more than 1.8 million projects across the country. It has a 96.6 percent rating from Charity Navigator, which ranks charitable organizations according to financial accountability and impact.
“We really liked that more than 95 percent of all donations go directly to fund classroom projects,” Humm notes, “DonorsChoose.org makes great use of volunteers and support from its partners.”
Those wishing to donate to Michigan classrooms through MARSP are encouraged to call the MARSP office at 517-337-1757.
MARSP is an independent, non-partisan association of 30,000 retired public school employees from every work group and geographical location in Michigan. The association’s primary mission is to protect the pension and health care benefits of retired public school employees. The MARSP Foundation Inc. is a charitable organization whose mission is to support the educational advancement of public school employees through scholarships, as well as to support and aid retired public school personnel in matters that require help for their well-being.