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Home » Donors Choose and Contests

Red Ops: The Tomato Nation / Donors Choose Spring 2012 Contest

Submitted by on May 7, 2012 – 7:58 AM14 Comments

10 cities. 2 weeks. 1 mighty Nation. Wheels up May 21.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it: knock out a bunch of projects in 10 different high-need cities, one city for each weekday of the contest.

Before we get started, I need two things:

1) Prize ideas and donations, if any of you would like to contribute in that way — portable/electronic prizes like gift cards and coupons work best, but other whimsy is also welcome (email bunting at tomatonation dot com to discuss).
2) For you to decide which communities we'll help! A poll appears below with the choices; you can select three, or write in a city or area that's not on the list. Most of the selections come from the breakdown of the highest-need areas, but others have suffered a natural disaster within the last year, and still others consistently rank among the country's poorest school districts. Again, if there's an area in need that you don't see here, please note it in the comments.

Watch this space for updates, and strap your awesome on.

Which communities would you most like to help? Pick three (3).

  • Detroit, MI (19%, 184 Votes)
  • Joplin, MO (13%, 130 Votes)
  • ND (all) (8%, 82 Votes)
  • Buffalo, NY (7%, 69 Votes)
  • Albuquerque, NM (7%, 67 Votes)
  • Northridge/Dayton, OH (7%, 66 Votes)
  • Camden, NJ (6%, 61 Votes)
  • SD (all) (6%, 60 Votes)
  • Columbia, SC (5%, 53 Votes)
  • Brownsville, TX (5%, 47 Votes)
  • Jonesboro, AR (4%, 43 Votes)
  • Henryville, IN (4%, 40 Votes)
  • Louisa, VA (4%, 35 Votes)
  • Paterson, NJ (4%, 34 Votes)

Total Voters: 344

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  • Andrea says:

    Washington DC and the surrounding districts – even within some of the wealthier districts like Fairfax County, there are some amazingly poor schools with very few resources.

  • Leigh in CO says:

    If I could throw all three votes to Albuquerque, I would. C'mon all you Breaking Bad and In Plain Sight fans! Vote ABQ!

    On an unrelated note, that picture is causing mouth flushing and a desire for a plate of real butter, potato rolls, and sun-warmed tomatoes. And it's only May.

  • Hannah says:

    Maybe Tuscaloosa and surrounding areas that were devastated by tornadoes last year?

  • MinglesMommy says:

    I don't care where my donation/s go – I'll go with the majority. It's such a great cause all across the board.

  • Vanessa says:

    Yeah! I am so excited the Tomato Nation is back to help DonorsChoose!

    I have to give a shot out to my home town of Fresno, Ca to receive some TN love. Fresno is the largest city in California's Central Valley and has some of the highest poverty rates in the state (, especially among children. There are some cities within Fresno County that have never known prosperity. There are a lot of great teachers trying to do amazing things and can use as much help as they can get.

  • K says:

    I'm usually not a commenter, but I've got to throw a plug in here for Columbia, SC. Last year, our governor was the only one in the country to turn down federal funds from the Education Jobs Act. That's right, she turned down almost $150 million in funds. We need all the help The Nation can send our way!

  • Larissa says:

    Appalachian areas on the East coast..while still one of the poorest in the country. Since I am from there, while not living there any longer, I try to help those there as much as possible knowing how poor the area is.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    A Zip code or county would be great for those areas. Thanks!

  • Rachel says:

    Wow, a huge thank you for including North Dakota on the list! The Souris River flood last June completely wiped out one of the middle schools and severely damaged 2 elementary schools in Minot. There are a lot of classrooms that still need a lot of materials, and I've emailed home to encourage teachers to post projects. Thank you Tomato Nation!

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    @Rachel, I didn't get as far north as ND last summer, but if that was the same flood that knocked out I-29 along the SD/IA border, that shit was baaaaaad.

  • Rachel says:

    @Sarah: Nope, different flood, but still really bad stuff. It topped out at 8 feet above the historical record – which meant that of some 4,000 houses flooded, less than 400 carried flood insurance because they were thought to be out of the flood plain. The flooded middle school is holding classes at the city auditorium until the new building can be built on North Hill. They still need a lot of help!

  • Ang. says:

    Thanks so much for including Joplin, MO! That's my hometown…actually, it was my home until last spring. My parents lived a block away from the high school, which was destroyed (so was their home of 35 years; my childhood home). Several other schools were destroyed, too. The rebuilding has been great, but it will be a while before the students are in permanent schools. There is still so much to be done, and I think the rest of the world may have forgotten Joplin, so it's good to see it listed here.

  • Ellie says:

    Thank you so much for including Henryville, IN.

  • Ann Davis says:

    Appalachia areas are in great need of assistance. This covers a 13 state area – all of WV plus parts of 12 other states. The Appalachia Regional Commission has identified the most distressed counties for 2012. The attached link will identify them:

    I would add all of WV because they get very little assistance and we could do a lot of good so many small, rural schools.

    Thank you for your consideration!

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