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Couple Partners with HIDOE to Fund $3 Mil for Hawaiʻi Teacher Classroom Requests

December 13, 2021, 8:30 AM HST
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The Hawai‘i State Department of Education, or HIDOE, and Salesforce Chair and Co-CEO Marc Benioff and his wife Lynne are partnering to fund $3 million in teachers’ requests for classroom resources created on the education crowdfunding nonprofit DonorsChoose.

This summer $1.6 million of this funding was applied to teachers’ projects, and the remaining funds will support requests later this academic year, according to a press release from HIDOE. To date, 2,004 Hawai‘i teachers have received up to $1,000 toward their classroom requests, and for 57% of those teachers, it was their first time having a DonorsChoose project funded. The Benioffs, who have strong ties to the islands, have given $1.5 million to match the funding from the HIDOE.

“As we’ve returned to full in-person learning, we want to continue encouraging our students to achieve their aspirations. With DonorsChoose and the generous support of the Benioffs, we’re reaching these students through our innovative teachers,” interim Superintendent Keith Hayashi said. “We hope this initiative empowers teachers as they continue the new school year and as they and their students readjust after more than a year of disruption.”

The Benioffs are one of the Department’s largest independent funders, having made in total more than $2.5 million in donations through DonorsChoose, benefiting 265 Hawai‘i public schools. So far, the Benioffs’ donations have supported 3,000 teachers and fulfilled 4,800 teacher requests.

“Teachers are the key to the most innovative and effective solutions for student learning. Especially at this time upon our return to classrooms, we appreciate the Benioffs’ investment in our educators and the future of Hawai‘i,” stated Gov. David Ige.

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Since 2007 over 3,000 public and charter school teachers in Hawai‘i have used DonorsChoose, raising $8.8 million for their classroom projects. In early 2021, the HIDOE joined over 300 other school districts across the country when it joined the crowdfunding platform’s district partnership program.

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“Our collaboration with the Hawai‘i State Department of Education and the Benioffs is helping teachers who go above and beyond in the classroom and who want to see their project ideas come to life,” Charles Best, founder of DonorsChoose, said. “This initiative and our ongoing partnership with HIDOE show Hawai‘i’s commitment to uplifting its teachers. This joint effort is a testament to how a state and DonorsChoose can work together to augment the student learning experience.”

For both HIDOE and the Benioffs, this collaboration is an investment in the front-line expertise of teachers who develop innovation and problem-solving skills in their students. HIDOE’s collaboration with DonorsChoose is among various initiatives that celebrate and support Hawai‘i teachers and schools. Launched in 2015, the department’s Future Ready Learning program encourages teachers to engage their students in more blended learning environments, assists schools and families with access to high-speed internet, powers teachers with professional development, and increases student access to quality devices and blended learning opportunities.

To donate to DonorsChoose projects created by Hawai‘i teachers, click here.

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