Thanks to regular commenter Jerry Case for pointing out the existence of Donors Choose, a site devoted to educational projects: teachers and schools identify special projects they’re eager to do, donors identify special projects they’re eager to fund, and the twain meet. It’s unclear from the Website (I’d provide a link but continue to be stymied by my temporary computer accommodations) whether this system has raised $2 million or $12 million–and hey, sooner or later you’re talking about real money!–but in any case it seems worthy.
The only caveat I’d offer is the one I always provide when confronted with this sort of fundraising-as-beauty-pageant setup: that there are plenty of worthy projects that won’t necessarily attract the eye of donors who are looking to do something glitzy. I’ll also register my usual complaint about the use of private fundraising to make up for inexcusable omissions in public funding: our public schools shouldn’t have to go out with tin cups to run art programs or physics tutorials or anything else.
But in saying both of these things repeatedly, I’m probably making myself hard to distinguish from those people who wander around downtown screaming about salvation.