The Tomato Nation/DonorsChoose.org Contest: An Overview
Newer readers may not know what's going on with the annual contest here on Tomato Nation, so I've put together a brief overview so that everyone knows what's going on, and starts getting psyched.
The contest itself started years ago, but in 2004, when many TN readers felt discouraged by Bush's re-election and what that would mean for progressive causes, I tied the contest entries to donations to DonorsChoose.org.
You can read more at the link above, but in a nutshell, DonorsChoose.org is an organization that puts donors together directly with projects in public schools.Teachers whose classrooms lack supplies and funding post their projects to the DC website; donors choose (see?) which one, or ones, to contribute to, and can contribute as much or as little as they like.So, if you want to make sure kids get to read Animal Farm, you can give $10 (or $100, or $1000) to an Orwell project; if you'd rather focus on a school from your hometown, or where a friend of yours teaches, you can do that too.
Since 2004, I've focused the contest on Donors Choose, asking my readers to raise a certain amount of money — which, once it's raised, leads to a stunt.In 2006, I shaved my head.In 2007, I did a dance in Rockefeller Plaza while dressed as a tomato.In 2008, the tomato costume (with me in it) went to Washington, DC to see the sights; the next year, the costume and I hit the blackjack tables in Atlantic City.
The contest lasts one month — all of April, this time — and during the span of the contest, you'll see mini-contests and prize opportunities if you donate to specific projects, or if a Giving Page you've added to the Tomato Nation leaderboard performs particularly well.
Donating through the Tomato Nation contest page makes you eligible for the prize drawing after it's all over; last year I gave away everything from gift certificates to tomato earrings to tote bags to t-shirts. One year I gave away a corn hat.
It also makes you a part of something really amazing.In five years, Tomato Nation readers have raised nearly $700,000 for Donors Choose, and I'd like to note that they've done it in a truly grim economic environment the last two years.That's a lot of crayons, field trips, math flash cards, dissection kits, and copies of Maus…but education funding never stops getting cut, kids never stop needing pencil sharpeners, and the knowledge that kindergarteners can make turkeys by tracing their hands thanks to you never stops warming the cold black heart.
If you have any questions, please ask.As we get closer to launch on 1 April, you'll see a video to share with friends and enemies, more information about this year's goal, and where I'd like to go in tomato drag.Keep an eye on Twitter or just watch this space. Contest participants from years past who think I forgot to mention something, please add it in the comments.
I hope you'll join us this year — it's awesome.
updated 30 March 2011
Tags: contests snif!