Cool Old Person: Charles Best of

i-6ac154be028f86c20040ecf4536b51b1-charlesbest.gifYesterday we spoke a bit on the progress of our DonorsChoose blogger challenge to raise funds that will support teacher projects in underserved areas to "Save the Science." Before joining this effort a year-and-a-half ago, I had not heard of DonorsChoose but I knew it was a great idea as soon as I learned of the model.

Well, I also now just learned a little more about the guy who got it all started, Charles Best. Best was just recognized a "Cool Old Person" by ("the site for old people who want to help young people do something"). By my account, Best does not qualify as an "old" person because he graduated from college only in 1998 - here is the text from his Cool Old Person citation:

Charles founded DonorsChoose in the spring of 2000 at Wings Academy, an alternative public high school in the Bronx where he taught social studies for five years. Charles graduated from St. Paul's School with the scholar-athlete award in 1994, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Yale in 1998.

And more details about

Charles Best leads, a simple way to fulfill needs and foster innovation in public schools. At this not-for-profit web site, teachers submit proposals for materials or experiences that their students need to learn. Any individual can search project proposals by areas of interest, learn about classroom needs, and choose to fund the project she/he finds most compelling.

Recognition of includes the Nonprofit Innovation Award given by Stanford Business School and, a Global Technology Laureate from the TECH Museum of Innovation and Microsoft, the 2006 Social Capitalist Award and selection by Ashoka. National media such as Oprah Winfrey and The New York Times have profiled DonorsChoose as "the future of philanthropy."

It's great to be partnering with such a visionary for the future of our children. Congratulations, Mr Best - we old folks think that you're cool, too!

The site has further information on the history and mission of the organization.

If you'd like to donate to projects at, here is the list projects that remain to be funded as part of my "Save the Science" blogger challenge that runs through 31 October.

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Huh, small world. I graduated with Charles, and now I can't remember exactly how I know him. I think he was in one of my spanish classes....

Karmen and I got to meet him at the DonorsChoose offices in New York this past August. Cool does not begin to capture his coolness.

I for one am glad that he has decided to harness his powers for good!