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Home » Donors Choose and Contests

DC/10: The Power Of Ten

Submitted by on November 5, 2014 – 11:01 AM30 Comments


[Sophia Petrillo voice] Picture it: the day after Election Day, 2004.

George W. Bush had won re-election, and…well, "election," I guess, since he kind of thugged his way into the victory the first time around in my opinion, but anyway, I sat in my office in the single district in Brooklyn that had a Republican Congressman and listened to a before-all-that John Edwards at a podium, urging progressives in his honey-bourbon voice not to give up, and I thought, sure, but how. How do we not give up? What is there to prove that we count?

I wrote some Vines about love and weird felines and how to keep living blue in a red state. I answered some emails whose authors threatened to move to Canada. And I remembered a New Yorker Talk Of The Town item I'd dog-eared about a non-profit started by a former NYC teacher that let other teachers file requests for supplies they urgently needed. Books. Chalk. Air purifiers. Field trips to the ballet. I linked to it on the site (did we have blogs yet? I still had to update the totals by hand in .asp files, I know that much).

I don't have that first contest page anywhere; maybe the Wayback Machine could find it. I remember the $50 minimum donation, and how I had to gather up PayPal donations from y'all and send them in in bunches. I remember that I'd finish updating a project's status and have to redo it because Tomato Nation readers had polished off another one while I was writing. I remember a puzzled email from a lady named Charlotte at Donors Choose: "Hi! You guys are doing great! So who…are you guys, exactly, again?"

I remember it was the absolute best thing that could have happened and I remember that it just kept happening, for ten years. We didn't give up, because of each other — and because Donors Choose is a now a thing you can do for a single dollar, in a community near you, right now, and make a difference. The brilliance of the basic DC concept is a big part of it.

And then there's the brilliance of you guys.

So! Here in 2014, let's go back to basics, to what got us here — not the "THAT guy?!" despair part if we can help it, but the part where everyone pitches in where they can. Give $10, or one dollar 10 days in a row. Find a project that speaks to you with 10-year-olds or 10th-graders, and email me; I'll add it to the page. If you can't grow a mustache, celebrate Nov-ten-ber instead of Movember. Tweet the page 10 times; ask 10 friends to help out; give up 10 lattes, Ubers, or cocktails for the cause.

Questions? Concerns? Origami projects you can't resist? Email me, bunting at tomatonation dot com. And watch this space.

THE DC10 PAGE IS RIGHT HERE. First goal: 10 students reached. We have the power of ten. Go.

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  • Kath says:

    Are you looking for prize donations again this year? I'll donate another dragon!

  • Lis says:

    It's the most wonderful time of the year. Also this is where every year I forget that I bank a monthly donation of $10 so I can go crazy at Tomatonation's DC challenge and then every year I get super excited when I remember! Whee! The one place where being mildly irresponsible with my online payments pays off!

  • attica says:

    Man, that felt good. Classroom hydroponics: done!

    Funny, just before I clicked over here, I was looking at my bank statement, pleased I had a few extree bucks. Now, I'm pleased I don't.

    I'm also up for a prize donation if you're doing that this year.

  • Tyliag says:

    Oragami Project! OMG tears. Crazy tears.

  • Rebecca U says:

    I received an email last week reminding me I didn't cash my birthday code from DC and would I please like to do so now? Yes, yes I would.

    Nation – we've already blasted past 10 kids to 515 and it's not noon on the West Coast yet.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    I just added a project for art supplies for an early-intervention classroom whose teacher is hoping to help her students' fine motor skills through art. The request list includes "wiggly eyes." AWWWWWWWW.

  • KLM says:

    I'm remembering sitting at my desk during the first contest and refreshing the page over and over again watching projects get funded, and man, it just got dusty in here.

  • scout1222 says:

    Oh hey, a project from New Mexico. DONATED.

  • scout1222 says:

    Sewing Life Into Civil War Characters – ONLY THREE DAYS LEFT!!

  • Elyse says:

    Yayyyy for Urban Gardening! Love the projects you chose.

  • Tori says:

    Knocked off theatre in the classroom because who doesn't love Macbeth? (Besides Macduff. And probably Malcolm and Donalbain.)
    Here's hoping it kickstarts a love for this old entertainment industry in at least one of these Tulsa kids…

  • CJ says:

    You made me tear up Sars! Not like it's hard but still. <3
    LOVE this time of year and go TN. You have made my day after brighter and that's a good thing.

  • Ben says:

    Wiggly Eyes? Of course I will.

  • Kat From Jersey says:

    You had me at 'wiggly eyes'! Done! You're the best, Sars!

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    Nooooo, YOU are.

  • CoreyH says:

    I love seeing what projects people choose to support; home state, favorite book, treasures personal memory (why I chose to fully fund a project about Africa), etc. The lesson here is if you find something important to you, it will mean something even more important to the kids.

  • Clover says:

    Advanced watercolor painting class in Arizona DONE!

    In the "why did you choose this project" box, it was a little embarrassing to have to admit that I chose it because they'd used a drawing of a panda bear that was adorable, but hey, a girl's got to make these decisions SOMEHOW.

    I love that you do this year after year.

  • Jennifer M. says:

    Clicked the link and the very first project I saw was for technical theater equipment. My high school and college experiences were thoroughly dominated by my involvement in theater. It contributed to my development as a project manager and introduced me to my closest friends (and some of my deepest crushes; dear Lord 10th graders are dramatic!). $10 well spent!

  • joan says:

    To kill a mockingbird is one of my favorites and I believe everyone should read it. the class in Columbus, Georgia will have an interesting look into the south just fifty years ago.

  • Jana says:

    I was super excited to spend my monthly donation credits on a project this morning. Then after reading Rebecca U's comment about having a birthday code, I decided to search through my email to see if I had one; nope, but I did have a $50 code for a previous project not sending me thank you letters. Check your old emails Nation and see what you might have.

  • Halo says:

    It might sound cheesy, but donating made me feel better during a crappy week at work. I didn't even choose a project, just donated at the top of the DC 10 page and let the system decide for me. It ended up being "Bringing Books to Live Through Video," and I couldn't be more pleased.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    @Halo, I think that's a new function (and a cool one!).

  • MB26 says:

    Donated to a class that will learn about local history using a book written by a friend of mine. Yay!

  • Tyliag says:

    I'm all teary eyed thanks to Sars and the fact that she was as good as her word and cleaned out my pet project the second it got to ten donors. All of the tears.

  • Christine says:

    Ten years – wow! Thanks for doing this. One of my favorite parts of the year.

  • SolitaryBlue says:

    A few days ago I posted a link to this page on Facebook. I've done that every year. But I logged in today and saw this comment from my mom: "OK, you got me this time. I just made my first donation to DC!" Made my day!

    On a related note: This project has only one day left! I know the Nation can make it happen.

  • Mrs F. says:

    So today I polished off two projects … one that purchases new backpacks for a teacher to fill with food to send home with kids who need food at home. Y'all. KIDS WHO NEED FOOD AT HOME.

    And the other, to send third graders to the train museum and then for a ride on an Amtrak train AND EACH ONE WILL GET A CONDUCTOR CAP.

    One made me feel good because I'm helping to make a sucky world just a tiny bit better. And the other one? Well. Trains are just mad cool.

    Yay, Nation!

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    I'm helping to make a sucky world just a tiny bit better

    I may have to appropriate that as the elevator pitch for why we do these fundraisers. (I will pay you one (1) conductor cap. hee.)

    Yay, Nation indeed.

  • Mrs F. says:

    Elevator pitch is yours. Payment by conductor cap TOTALLY optional. Hee!

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