Today’s guest on The EdTech Startup Show Podcast is Charles Best, CEO of DonorsChoose.
Charles Best leads DonorsChoose.org, a nonprofit organization that provides a simple way to address educational inequity. At DonorsChoose, public school teachers create classroom project requests and donors can pick the projects they want to support.
Charles launched the organization out of a Bronx public high school where he taught history for five years. DonorsChoose.org is one of Oprah Winfrey’s “ultimate favorite things” and was named by Fast Company as one of the “50 Most Innovative Companies in the World,” the first time a charity has received this recognition.
Compelling stats on the impact of DonorsChoose:
- 84% of public schools have posted a project to DonorsChoose
- 1,657,753 projects have been funded at the time of this recording
- 4,245,393 citizen donors contributed to those projects
- 951,801,513 dollars donated to American classrooms via DonorsChoose
- 39,689,805 students impacted through thousands of classroom projects
Highlights from my conversation with Charles Best:
- How Charles has engineered the “3 Magic Moments” that I’ve experienced as a teacher and donor while using DonorsChoose
- What it was like for Charles to start DonorsChoose while still working as a classroom teacher
- Why Tim Ferriss says that DonorsChoose is run like a lean for-profit company
- Fascinating examples of how data leads Charles to make counter-intuitive decisions at DonorsChoose
- The way coronavirus is accelerating innovation at DonorsChoose
- Charles discusses bottom-up vs. top-down change in education, and where he sees his company playing a role in the future of education
- Listener question from Mike Kleba: How have teachers impacted/changed your vision for and/or direction of your company? What are your thoughts about working classroom teachers serving on Boards of Directors for companies such as DonorsChoose?
- Listener question from Colin Magee: What are characteristics of EdTech products that have had the most success being funded via DonorsChoose? How do you make using DonorsChoose simple for first-time educators?
Important links from this episode:
- Charles Best on Twitter
- Charles Best on LinkedIn
- Match offers currently available on DonorsChoose
- Partner with DonorsChoose
- The COVID-19 updates page from DonorsChoose
- Charles Best interviews Tim Ferriss at SXSW EDU
- The Tim Ferriss Show Podcast
- Dr. Emily Meixner
- Mr. Jim Mahoney
- Mr. Bill Sowder
- Don Wettrick
- STARTedUP Foundation
- DonorsChoose District Partnership Program
- Paul Allen funding DonorsChoose projects
- Mike Kleba
- Colin Magee
Want to hear from more EdTech entrepreneurs based in New York City?
- Jessica Millstone – The Queen of NYC EdTech
- Brandon Goon – CEO of BeAnything
- Brad Schiller – CEO of Prompt
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