SOURCE: DonorsChoose.org

http://www.donorschoose.org/

October 01, 2009 11:15 ET

DonorsChoose.org Launches 2009 Social Media Challenge With Top Bloggers and Twitterers in Support of Public Schools

The Web's Best Compete in the Philanthropic Throwdown for Public Schools; Challenge Registration Still Open

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - October 1, 2009) - Online education charity DonorsChoose.org today kicked off in collaboration with HP the 2009 Social Media Challenge, an annual competition among hundreds of bloggers and twitterers to fund critical resources for high-need public school classrooms. Participants -- including Twitter Co-Founder Biz Stone, Mashable Founder and CEO Pete Cashmore, Craigslist's Craig Newmark, Gawker Media, and many more -- are challenging their readers to donate directly to their favorite classroom projects posted by public school teachers at DonorsChoose.org. The blogger or twitterer who inspires the highest donation total takes the crown. The Challenge, also known as the "Philanthropic Throwdown for Public Schools," is in its third year.

"Don't expect anyone to play nice; bloggers and twitterers are competing for a great cause, but this is a fierce competition," joked Charles Best, founder and CEO, DonorsChoose.org. "I can't wait to see what sort of creative incentives the participants come up with for their readers this year. It's truly an inspiration to see so many people across the Web rally for students and teachers who urgently need resources to learn and teach."

Each competing blogger and twitterer creates a unique "Giving Page" at DonorsChoose.org filled with his or her favorite classroom projects. A "leaderboard" at http://www.donorschoose.org/social-media-challenge-2009 displays the Giving Pages and tracks the live competition progress by total amount donated.

In the past, participating bloggers and twitterers have performed stunts and offered incentives for their readers to donate. Last year, the blogger behind TomatoNation.com offered to parade around Washington, DC in a tomato costume if her readers raised $100,000 for classrooms. It worked. Another blogger offered up her family to recreate Pat Benatar's "Love is a Battlefield." And a Science Blogger even spoke of getting a tattoo.

More than 165 bloggers participated in the 2008 competition, raising over $275,000 to benefit 67,000 students in low-income neighborhoods.

DonorsChoose.org has teamed with HP to increase its impact on the teachers and students benefited by the Social Media Challenge. To inspire participants and further stoke the competitive fires, HP has raised the stakes by contributing $250,000 to the Challenge funds that will bring critical resources to students in need. Details on how participants and donors can access HP's contribution will be released in the coming weeks.

"The Social Media Challenge is one of the best uses of social media for good," said pioneering blogger, Anil Dash. "The folks at DonorsChoose.org have made an incredibly easy platform for bloggers and twitterers to pour their energy and creativity into something that's both fun and truly meaningful. Participating in the Challenge is so simple, yet the impact on students and teachers is tremendous."

Across the country, thousands of public school classrooms lack the materials that are essential for learning. As school budgets tighten, learning supplies and tools become increasingly outdated, broken and scarce. Through it all, school teachers nationwide spend $1 billion out-of-pocket each year, which rarely even covers each classroom's needs. Examples of projects that competing bloggers and twitterers are supporting include:

-- Bookin' It! - A request for fiction and non-fiction books for a high-poverty classroom in Arizona.

-- Hidden Hallways to Health - A project that will put resources to teach nutrition education into a high-poverty Ohio classroom.

-- Put a Rug Right Under Our Feet! - An appeal for new, clean carpeting for a high-poverty classroom in New York City which lacks that basic necessity.

To participate in the 2009 Social Media Challenge and create a Giving Page, please visit http://www.donorschoose.org/donors/createChallenge.html. To view the competition progress, go to http://www.donorschoose.org/social-media-challenge-2009.

About DonorsChoose.org

Founded in 2000, DonorsChoose.org is a nonprofit website where public school teachers describe specific educational projects for their students, and donors can choose the projects they want to support. After completing a project, the donor hears back from the classroom they supported in the form of photographs and student thank-you letters.

To date, 109,000 public and charter school teachers have used the site to secure funding for $38 million in books, art supplies, technology, and other resources that their students need to learn. Through www.donorschoose.org, individuals from all walks of life have helped 2.5 million students from low-income families.

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