After a robo-call from John Deasy this evening and a Daily News article this afternoon claiming the program would end February 3rd, the funding for the Donors Choose/Wasserman Foundation grants are all gone as of Tuesday evening.

Families attempting to redeem cards on the Donors Choose website were met with a message that said the funds were no longer available.  And teachers still posting projects will need to find alternative funding sources for supplies.

The Wasserman Foundation Facebook page is rife with frustrated parents and teachers attempting to redeem cards.  In addition, there’s some claims that some Starbucks outlets were requiring a purchase to receive the cards.  Approximately 285,000 cards were supposed to be distributed through the Starbucks stores, but at $10 per card, if every one was redeemed, that would have claimed $2.85 million of the grant.

Originally slated for a two-year venture, Los Angeles teachers and families spent the allotted $4 million dollars in less than eleven weeks.  Take into consideration the three-week winter break that interrupted the process of project posting and gift cards sent home to fund them, and the program lasted a mere eight weeks.

As of yesterday, the Wasserman Foundation was tweeting that families had until February 16th to redeem the cards sent directly home and the gift cards distributed through select area Starbucks cards were to be good through March 16th.  Even Donors Choose predicted the cards to be redeemed through February 3rd.  Then tonight, they were all void.

The program successfully funded 8,000 projects, and provided Los Angeles schools with $4 million in matching funds and gift cards toward projects.

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  • Considering that as an LAUSD teacher I received reminders every other week from Superintendent Deasy about the Donors Choose project versus only a couple of emails about other LAUSD business it was clear to teachers where the priorities lie.  I give Dr. Deasy full credit for being able to rally teachers around a cause when he promotes the cause.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t doubt that Deasy robo-called teachers.  I think the frustration lies in the fact that parents and certainly some teachers did not know that they’d literally gotten to the end of ALL funding–not the first year’s funding, but both years.  The call on Tuesday indicated there would be at least a couple more days and even that was untrue.  Yes, doing the math on the value of the cards would have indicated there had to be an overprint of the cards versus funds available, but from comments made at a Council of Councils meeting yesterday–some people were indeed made to purchase items at Starbucks and now the cards are void.  I’m also a little frustrated that some schools were presented with cards (upwards of 2000) and few bothered to post projects.  With a maximum of 50 cards per project, there was bound to be some “horse trading” going on.  And what about the families that NEVER received cards?  It appears some schools actually redeemed cards on families’ behalf without letting them experience the whole concept of microphilanthropy.

    In the end, it was a great program experiment, but I hope in the future there’s a little more oversight.  And clarity.

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