Thursday, February 3, 2011

Entrepreneurs that change the world

We were given the assignment to pick an entrepreneur that has changed the world for the better. In my research I came upon Charles Best, CEO of . is a website that helps sponsor classroom projects in under privileged schools. The website allows teachers to take charge and become change makers. Teachers upload their ideas for class projects, field trips, and class improvements to the website, and then the public can choose which teacher they would like to sponsor and donate money towards their ideas. The program was started in 2000 at a school in the Bronx. Teachers at this school felt that school system funding didn’t evenly distribute resources, Shortages of learning materials discourage thorough, engaging instruction, and Top-down distribution of materials prevents teachers from developing targeted solutions for their students. Charles Best a social studies teacher sensed that the public was willing to give the money, but were wary to how it would be used, so he launched the website in 2007. Since then it has brought in over 14 million dollars to help out needy classrooms across the country.
The really cool part about the website is that you can search for projects that you find relevant or interesting, from pre-k reading activities, to basketballs for a physical education class, even zoo field trips. The website screens all the ideas before posting them, once posted and donated to the website purchases the materials requested and then follows up and delivers feedback to the donors. This gives the donors a sense of satisfaction and knowing that their money actually went to something useful. Since its inception, citizen philanthropists from all 50 states and 10 countries have funded over 32,000 classroom projects at, channeling over $14 million worth of resources to students in low-income communities. More than 75% of these resources are reusable for future classes. Donors Choose exposes people to the workings of public schools, and the dire need that many are in. this message hits hard and knowing that a few donated dollars can make a big difference in the education of our future, is the greatest feeling in the world. This idea is noble, innovative, and life changing, this is why I chose Charles Best as my entrepreneur that changed the world.

Submitted by Patrick Smith


  1. I found this post interesting for several reasons. First of all because the business was born from a clear need and it's important for an entrepreneur to establish whether their business is solving a problem or meeting a need before they start one.

    Secondly, the CEO is unexpected - a social studies teacher who followed his intuition about how the public wanted to financially support teachers in a variety of classroom projects. He created a win-win situation where the website he created gave these two groups to connect in a positive way. The teachers posted their needs and the public all over the world could donate directly to the projects they supported.

    Finally, the success of the business is clear from the numbers in such a short time. Since it launched in 2007, they have already raised $14 million dollars and funded 32,000 classroom projects.

    I hope other teachers can find inspiration from this teacher. Who knows what impact they could make on the next generation if they followed their intuition?

  2. I have heard of this company before, but I didn’t know too much about it. Thanks for this post. I think this is such a great idea! I forwarded the website to a local teacher. I don’t know if she can use it, but I think this is good info to have.

    Submitted by Leisha Dean

  3. Giving our children a better education is a win-win situation for all involved. Today’s children are tomorrow’s business owners. By being a teacher and working directly within the school system, Charles Best realized that in order to give our children a fair chance at learning he had to something about it himself. Since the school system was not distributed funds accordingly, he came up with the idea of involving the public. Not only does the public provide for this funding but also they get to have a voice in where there want their donations to go. Wow, what a great idea! He realized that there was a serious need for some additional funding in order to provide unprivileged students with these additional learning materials and /or tools. I think that the only other way to make this idea work even better is to be able to incorporate this program into more schools around the nation.
    Cheryl Haynes