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$4M LAUSD grant lets parents fund class projects

November 14, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
A new educational campaign allows parents to choose which of their children's classroom projects they'd like to fund.

The whole thing is made possible by a $4 million grant from the Wasserman Foundation. It will fund thousands of projects in various classrooms.

What makes the program so unique is how it's empowering parents to decide where the money is going.

Teachers will be able to post a list of various projects that they want in the classroom to the website DonorsChooseLA.org. The foundation will give away $15 gift cards to about 600,000 homes with a student enrolled at a Los Angeles Unified public or charter school. Parents can then use the gift cards to support the classroom projects of their choice.

"Parents (are) invited to think of themselves as education budget makers, and think about the kinds of resources they feel are most important for their kids to be successful," said Charles Best, founder and CEO of DonorsChoose.org.

It is a generous donation, especially for a school district plagued by financial hardship. The hope is that the donation will not only infuse money into the schools, but will boost parent involvement in their child's education.

"We see engaged parents as a necessary ingredient to kids getting a great education," said Best.

LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy says the program is unique to not only the area, but the nation.

"We are not aware of any other school district that's had the opportunity that we're about to launch here as a result of this unbelievably generous gift," said Deasy. "The opportunity for parents to be involved in this opportunity of philanthropy is totally new."

The donation will be given over the next two years.

And to get the community involved, beginning in January, Starbucks will also be handing out these gift cards to all customers within their Los Angeles locations.

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