DonorsChoose Progress Report - Day 13

Well, I've really got to hand it to Terra Sig readers, some of the most thoughtful and generous folks I've come across. Our "Save the Science" blogger challenge at DonorsChoose now stands at $1,881, 47% of the way toward our $4,000 goal.

For those reading for the first time, is a fundraising organization for K-12 public schools, those mostly in underfunded districts. Teachers propose projects, then donors like you and I get to pick which project we want to fund, wholly or partially.

The Terra Sig "Save the Science" project list is here, with instructions on how to give.

Bloggers at are making this an annual drive, primarily to preserve and promote science education in our schools. Seed Media Group, who runs ScienceBlogs, is matching donations up to $15,000 (a goal we've already hit as a collective.) Seed will also be randomly selecting among donors for great prizes like an iPod Nano, subscriptions to Seed, ScienceBlogs mugs, and copies of The Best American Science Writing 2007. To enter, interested donors can forward their e-mail receipt from DonorsChoose to

To start our review of the last two weeks, I have to first note that I have a generous family: PharmMom and my stepdad have already registered their support. My Mom said that she was glad I chose quite a few bitesize projects of $100 to $400 so that they could fund one entirely by themselves.

We've also had a visit from our extremely generous benefactor from last year who has also donated to several other blogger challenges. To our dear friend, you are making a tremendous impact on hundreds and thousands of students starved for learning all around the country.

There are also a couple names that I don't recognize as regular readers, including another anonymous donor. On behalf of the 654 students we've already helped, thank you!

Here's another reason why we do this: we've already gotten one thank-you note from a teacher whose project was funded to provide easel and marker sets for English/Spanish instruction (I selected this project because in some places, you can't get to science education if you don't have basic language skills):

Dear Dr. Pharmboy,
What a really great way to start a new week! I came in and checked my e-mail and found this request had been funded! I am so excited. We have PTO this week, too early for the materials to be here, but in plenty of time for our Winter play and future meetings. This is so thoughtful of you. My goddaughter is doing her student internship and I am seeing some of the little things that make running a classroom a little smoother. But this is for my school and my classroom(s).

The students are always fascinated that people they don't know care enough about them to read and donate. Besides acquiring things for our classroom, it teaches them the lesson of caring for others. I have seen former students take this lesson to heart. Some have actually donated themselves, recalling the neat feeling they had when they were in school.

I apologize for rambling, this was such a surprise and a neat way to open my week. We will never be able to tell you how much this means to us. Please know that we thank you for your generosity and support of public education. As cliché as it may sound, it does take a village to raise a child. Thank you for taking the time to read our proposal and support our students.

The boldface is my emphasis because these projects do more than just provide the tools for teachers. They also instill qualities and a sense of community that motivate the students to then pay it forward themselves.

This teacher is at Charity Middle School in Rose Hill, NC - here's a little more of their story from the project proposal:

A little about us, we are in Eastern North Carolina, about an hour from the beach. We are one of the largest turkey and hog producing areas. We are also known for our winery. We have no large cities and our industry is agriculture. Our kids work hard and try hard, like I stated in the beginning, our sheltered inclusion class was pioneered, and is now a most sought after class by teachers. The district was so happy with it that we are the model school and others come to see us and what we have done. Most importantly our kids liked it, grew and left our 8th grade with self confidence, understanding of other cultures and motivation to go on to high school. The native English speakers liked it as well and report that they feel more comfortable in their Spanish Class, which is required for graduation in this state.

Public school teachers are the unheralded heroes of our society. They take on a nobel and important responsibility, usually for low pay relative to their education, and then often find themselves in underfunded districts where they have to purchase supplies and project materials out of their own salary. It's an honor to be able to use this blog to promote their missions and try to get them a little support in teaching the next generation of our society.

Take a look at our projects, those of any other bloggers, or elsewhere on and donate if any move you to do so.

Thank you for your support of our teachers and kids all around the US.

The Terra Sig "Save the Science" project list is here. Pick a project, then follow the instructions on how to give.

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This is a really good idea, and I am glad that I was able to squeeze a few bucks out of my beer money to donate to a school in Chicago whose new biology teacher needs microscopes. I donated through PZ's challenge, which shot up the leaderboard. I hope that your readers aren't shamed, unless it means that those who haven't donated yet will decide to push the button.

Hey Mike, thanks for donating (especially beer money!!) - we Sb'ers are just having a friendly competition among us and I am happily amazed at how well PZ's drive is going. We just want to help as many teachers and kids as possible; Terra Sig is fortunate to be ranked 4th on the leaderboard so I'll be happy if readers donate here or under other bloggers further down the list.

The whole DonorsChoose idea is a great one and you have the choice of finding projects that speak to you. Thanks for being a part of it, no matter what blog.