theljstaff (theljstaff) wrote in lj_biz,
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Participate in the Blogger Challenge & Help Students and Schools

One of the best kept secrets about the LiveJournal community is how incredibly generous you all are. It's not just the fact that so many of you volunteer to help LJ out, or are such active participants in communities online. It's what you do to support communities offline that makes us so proud of what LJ is. (A recent example was the way you all raised hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of donations for non-profit organizations like Creative Commons, Witness.org and EFF. RAINN alone got a generous donation of over $60,000 from our community!

DonorsChoose.org: Helping Schools and Students

Today, we'd like to spotlight the next great opportunity for you to show the world what LJ can do. Sure, a lot of us roll our eyes anytime we hear someone say they're doing something "for the kids", and we don't blame you if you're skeptical about the idea. But starting Monday, October 1, we wanted to do something that really does make a positive difference in the lives of kids. Here's the short version:
  • DonorsChoose lets teachers make requests for items that their classrooms and students need.
  • We're working with DonorsChoose to promote the Bloggers Challenge.
  • We're sponsoring an award for the bloggers who help the most students.
  • You can request a $30 DonorsChoose gift certificate to see how the program works.
  • When you make a donation to DonorsChoose, you select which programs to sponsor.
  • After your donation is complete, you'll get a thank you letter directly from the students and teachers you've helped.

How DonorsChoose Works

The way DonorsChoose works is really amazing. DonorsChoose.org is a not-for-profit web site where you can learn about classroom needs, search by area of interest, and choose to fund the project(s) that you find most compelling. Donors are even able to choose how much money they would like to provide towards the total cost of a project. After the completion of a project you sponsored with a donation, you'll receive a package containing student thank you notes, photographs, a letter from the teacher describing your impact, as well as a project cost report showing that your gift was spent as directed. We can't wait to see your journals lighting up with stories and notes from the students you've helped. All projects are submitted by public school teachers and are designed to fulfill student needs and bring learning to life. And every request comes directly from the educators who need help. Just like LJ, DonorsChoose is all about your interests -- you can choose exactly how you want to help classrooms. Some examples:
  • Improve students' creative writing skills and spelling with journals and pencils ($411)and a set of dictionaries ($150)
  • Buy musical instruments, a tape player, tapes and headsets for an inner-city school that lost its music program funding
  • Provide art supplies like paint, brushes, crayons, markers and clay to a first grade classroom ($547)
  • Help students travel to Washington, D.C. to witness the Supreme Court in session ($2,000)

How We're Helping

At Six Apart, we're so excited about the potential of DonorsChoose that we're distributing philanthropic gift certificates you can use to help fund a classroom project of your choice. You can request a gift certificate worth $30 by emailing donorschoose@sixapart.com. When you use the certificate, you can experience first-hand how the program works. Then, you can inspire your readers to donate, too. We're even sponsoring an award for the bloggers who help the greatest number of students. Request your gift certificate now - they're only available until 5 p.m. PT on Monday, Otober 1, 2007. (Please allow a day or two for your electronic gift certificate code to arrive via e-mail.)

All of us at Six Apart believe in the power of the LJ community and think that DonorsChoose and the Blogger Challenge is a great way to harness that power, and to make a difference in the lives of students and teachers around the country. So we've put together some basic tools, and chipped in a little bit on our own (in the form of awards and promotion of this program).

We've looked at what other online communities do, only letting you add a cause to your profile, and frankly, we think LJ can do a lot better. As part of the LJ community, you don't just say you support education for kids, you can directly make a difference. A quick note to our international members: We know it's frustrating that this is another U.S.-centric effort, but this was a special project that really gave us a unique opportunity to help our students here. Don't worry -- we haven't forgotten about you, and we're sure you agree that better-educated American students will be a good thing for all of us in the future.

And, just to be crystal clear: Six Apart is not making any money off of this. In fact, we're contributing both our time to supporting the campaign and our money to fund the award. And we have no connections to the DonorsChoose organization except that we believe in the idea of supporting education, and we know that many of you do, too.

To tell the truth, we've been thinking a lot and talking to a lot of you about what LJ really means, and what our community stands for. As we've been listening to you all, we realized that learning is something that matters to LJ. All of us at Six Apart believe in the power of the LJ community and think that DonorsChoose and the Blogger Challenge is a great way to harness that power, and to make a difference in the lives of students and teachers around the country.

Now it's time for all of us to show the world how LJ can help teach our kids. We can't wait to see what you do.
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