Raising a child is difficult enough without having to shoulder the load of school budget cuts or administration downsizing in equipping classrooms with the supplies they need. Yet a staggering number of schools rely on donations from parents, contributors or out of their own teachers’ pockets to ensure that even the most basic items are in supply.
In an effort to bring this issue to the forefront and create a vehicle for parents, teachers and schools to work together in identifying and securing the contributions they need, WellGood LLC created ClassWish.org, a place where wishes come true everyday in the form of books to art supplies. So, I reached out to Robert Tolmach, President, whom I’d also had the pleasure of interviewing over the holidays about their ChangingthePresent.org initiative, to learn more about ClassWish and how people can get involved to help advance this important cause.
WellGood is the force behind several non-profit initiatives such as ChangingthePresent.org and now ClassWish.org. What is the mission of WellGood in creating these nonprofit websites?
WellGood helps nonprofits harness modern business practices, including use of the Internet, to make the world a better place.
What prompted the decision to create ClassWish.org? How does the program work?
Due to a lack of funding, many of our children’s classrooms do not have the supplies students need to help them explore their potential and excel.
Teachers often spend hundreds of dollars of their own money on classroom materials each year, and it’s still not enough. Devastating budget cuts are only making it worse.
ClassWish.org, our exciting new nonprofit, offers real help:
- Teachers visit the site to create a Wish List of the things they need to equip great classrooms, as easily as shopping online
- ClassWish lets parents, alumni, local businesses and others see exactly what is needed and how they can help
- Donors receive a receipt for their tax-deductible contribution
- ClassWish sends the supplies directly to the school
The result? We get to fund the things we care about. Our children’s teachers get the support they need. And everyone is united in helping our children learn, grow and perform at their best.
Are all K-12 schools and institutions across the country able to participate?
ClassWish.org offers its services to all 125,000 public and nonprofit private K-12 schools in the 48 contiguous states, plus the District of Columbia.
What types of supplies are most needed?
It’s staggering: art supplies, office supplies, science equipment, books, sporting goods, musical equipment, furniture –- everything is in short supply.
What has been the response, so far?
We just launched, and we’re just starting to get the word out. But I can tell you that the response from teachers and others in the education sector, as well as from parents and school districts, has been wildly enthusiastic!
So, who contributes to help fund the supplies?
So many people care about their local schools: parents, grandparents, neighbors, local businesses, community foundations, civic associations and others. Just look at the nearly $4 billion they spend each year on school fundraising merchandise, such as cookie dough and wrapping paper. Until now, however, there’s been no easy way for teachers to inspire community support for classroom needs, nor for those supporters to know just what is needed and how best to help. We seek to change that!
How can parents get involved?
It’s easy to find your child’s or grandchild’s school on ClassWish.org through a location search. You will see the teachers who have already created wish lists and can invite those who are not. We hope everyone will also spread the word about this opportunity with the administrators and PTA/PTO officers, who can post wish lists for school-wide needs.
As a nonprofit, we don’t have millions of dollars to spend on advertising to let teachers know of this opportunity, so we hope everybody who cares about children and education will also share this with friends and teachers they know at other schools — and even in other cities.
Are there any plans to expand into other areas?
We created ChangingThePresent.org to let people change the world with charitable donations and give those donations in a friend’s name, in lieu of a traditional gift. ClassWish.org now offers a rewarding, convenient and easy way to support local schools. We have plans to expand to meet other school needs, and if you join our mailing list, we’ll let you know as soon as we announce it.
What do you think makes this program special? How is it different from other school programs out there?
We listened closely to the teachers, parents, principals, PTA/PTO leaders, and all the people who will use the site, and made sure we built what works well for them. ClassWish.org is simple to use, very rewarding, and extremely efficient. You won’t find anything else like it.