The second leg of the Donors Choose/Wasserman Foundation Los Angeles programs rolls out today.  Participating Starbucks offer free $10 Donors Choose gift cards, following a program that provided $15 cards to LAUSD families late last year.  But for families along the 118, you’re frankly out of luck.  Chatsworth, Porter Ranch, Granada Hills, Mission Hills, San Fernando and Sylmar don’t have a single Starbucks participating in order to get the $10 gift cards to fund teacher projects.  While North Valley families are dismayed, if you happen to be going to Universal City Walk, or LAX, you will have plenty of opportunities to receive the cards, aimed at funding teachers’ wish list projects on the site.

Some schools, in anticipation of the second round of cards, have 100% participation among teachers, writing project requests on anything from the basics like ink cartridges for printers, to science projects like frogs for dissection, to technology splurges teachers could not afford on their own like E-readers for the children.

For families along the 118, many will pay more in gas to retrieve the “free” cards than the cards are worth to the teachers.  In addition, many of those venues charge for parking to the tune of $15 or more, so the plan has not been thought out.  Even the Wasserman Facebook page said “all area Starbucks” until the list came out Friday.  So what gives?  Do I really have to drive 10-15 miles to support my daughter’s school?  Or perhaps the Foundation would like to reallocate the unused card value to the communities they skipped over?  I’m sure that the schools along the 118 in both wealthy and less tony areas would be willing to split, say $1 million dollars in unfunded projects, right?

I’ll report back after I go make an afternoon drive in pouring rain and try to hit as many of these Starbucks and see if there are any cards left.  Our teachers are counting on it.

UPDATE: I just received a rather discouraging email from Donors Choose.  In essence, this leg of the promotion intentionally sought out locations that would have foot traffic that is not affiliated with a school site.  This round of fundraising equates to way to promote Donors Choose rather than to support LAUSD schools.  The teachers with projects will still be chosen, but there is no home field advantage by families familiar with the schools.



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