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Join the Revolution in Giving

I'm in the process of writing a piece examining the Jewish nonprofit world's antidemocratic, intensely insular culture and how it's impacting the larger community. There's still more reporting and research yet to be done, but I wanted to mention one … Read More

By / August 3, 2007

I'm in the process of writing a piece examining the Jewish nonprofit world's antidemocratic, intensely insular culture and how it's impacting the larger community. There's still more reporting and research yet to be done, but I wanted to mention one of the organizations that will be in my piece. It's currently in a time-sensitive contest that you can help it win, and it's utterly deserving.

The organization is DonorsChoose.org, which is at the forefront of a galvanic shift in philanthropy, from elitism toward democracy. Donors Choose uses an eBay-like online marketplace to connect teachers directly to donors. If a Bronx middle school teacher needs $300 for, say, the kind of earth science books wealthy children take for granted, she can simply posts her request on the Donors Choose website and anyone with $10 can contribute to helping make that lesson plan a reality.

That’s the kind of philanthropic experience that will force the young to feel called to give, and as a consequence, help bring America’s nonprofit tradition into the next generation. The central idea fueling Donors Choose is so powerful it has the potential to help flatten, democratize, and eliminate those petty nonprofit bureaucratic middlemen from many more philanthropic sectors than education. Right now, Donors Choose is one of five finalists in an American Express contest that will reward $5 million to a charity selected by AmEx cardholders. Vote now for DonorsChoose.org.

 

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