#ISeeMe Campaign Mobilizes Support for Underrepresented Teachers and Inclusive Learning Materials in U.S. Classrooms

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DonorsChoose.org and Google.org announce $5 million #ISeeMe fund, joined by a coalition of philanthropists of color and education advocates.

Today, education crowdfunding nonprofit DonorsChoose.org announced #ISeeMe, a campaign to support the classroom needs of underrepresented educators and of all public school teachers who seek materials that reflect their students' identities.

A diverse group of philanthropists is calling upon the public to help more than 5,000 teachers fulfill such classroom needs. Inaugural #ISeeMe supporters include Ayah Bdeir, Yvette Nicole Brown, Richard Carranza, Eva Chen, Stephen Colbert, Anil Dash, Angela Filo, Ann Fudge, Whoopi Goldberg, Theresia Gouw, Samuel L. Jackson, John B. King, Jr., John Legend, Carol Sutton Lewis, Lupita Nyong’o, Desirée Rogers, Nina Shaw, Lorna Simpson, and Octavia Spencer.

As part of a $5 million grant that was announced earlier this month, Google.org will dedicate $4 million to double donations to classroom project requests on DonorsChoose.org created by teachers of color, women math and science teachers, and teachers of all backgrounds who request materials that reflect their students' identities, such as books featuring characters of color.

"What kids learn today shapes the world we live in tomorrow, and we know kids learn best when their schools reflect their cultural identity. That's why Google.org is supporting organizations that use technology and innovation to make learning more relevant. We're excited to support the DonorsChoose.org #ISeeMe campaign which will provide invaluable resources to teachers across the US as they build out more inclusive classrooms for diverse learners. We hope to help diverse teachers feel appreciated, provide them with much needed resources, and connect them with a community of peers," said Justin Steele, Head of Americas at Google.org.

DonorsChoose.org consulted with several individuals and organizations in the creation of #ISeeMe, including former U.S. Secretary of Education and president and CEO of the Education Trust John B. King, Jr., New York City Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza, the Albert Shanker Institute, the Association of Latino Superintendents and Administrators (ALAS), the Brown Center on Education Policy at the Brookings Institution, the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, the Center for American Progress, the Council of Chief State School Officers, the Learning Policy Institute, the National Book Foundation, Teach Plus, UNCF, and the Yellow Chair Foundation.

“Diversity is crucial to unlocking a more prosperous future for our nation,” said John B. King Jr., president and CEO of The Education Trust and 10th U.S. Secretary of Education. “I am encouraged by the impact that #ISeeMe will have for students and educators. Students should be able to learn and thrive in school environments that are intentionally and meaningfully diverse, but also culturally affirming and inclusive. For students, especially those most underserved, it is critical that they see themselves represented in the studies and learning materials in school, but also in the educators, leaders and mentors who will help them reach their full potential.”

“As education leaders, we must create equitable educational opportunities for all of our students,” said Richard Carranza, New York City Schools Chancellor. “It’s critical that our teachers are able to create culturally responsive environments where students are supported, validated, and empowered to accomplish their goals. DonorsChoose.org and the #ISeeMe Campaign help give teachers the tools to create these learning environments.”

“I am excited to contribute to such an impactful campaign,” said Desiree Rogers, #ISeeMe co-chair and CEO of One Brown Girl. “Now is an important time to elevate the narrative around diversity in the classroom, and our hope is that supporters can rally behind the needs of underrepresented teachers and teachers fostering inclusive discussions.”

“I am thrilled to support public school teachers of color and help all teachers enrich the diversity of their public school classrooms through #ISeeMe,” said Carol Sutton Lewis, co-chair of the initiative and founder of Ground Control Parenting. “We hope today marks the beginning of long standing support for #ISeeMe because when these teachers have the materials they need, their students will have an even better chance to succeed.”

To learn more about #ISeeMe, visit http://www.donorschoose.org/iseeme.

About DonorsChoose.org
DonorsChoose.org is the leading platform for giving to public schools. Teachers across America use the site to create projects requesting resources their students need, and donors give to the projects that inspire them. Since its founding by a Bronx teacher in 2000, more than 3.7 million people and partners have given $825 million to projects reaching 33 million students. Unique among education funding platforms, the DonorsChoose.org team vets each project request and ships resources directly to the school. Every donor receives photos of their project in action, thank-yous from the classroom, and a cost report showing how every dollar was spent. DonorsChoose.org was the first charity to make the top 10 on Fast Company’s list of the Most Innovative Companies in the World. Visit http://www.donorschoose.org to learn more.

About Google.org
Google.org connects nonprofit innovators with Google resources to solve complex human challenges, and ensure that everyone can participate in the digital economy.

The same technology that makes our lives easier every day can also help solve some of the world’s largest problems. That’s why we’re applying advanced technology to some of our greatest challenges, like using artificial intelligence to help predict natural disasters. Everyone should be able to participate in the digital economy, so we’re providing digital skills training for job seekers, supporting online safety and media literacy, and investing in computer science education for students — particularly in underrepresented communities. We know that the best answers often come from those closest to the problem. That’s why we join forces with nonprofit innovators, committing Google volunteers, technology, and over $200 million in grants every year to help scale their impact.

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Christopher Pearsall
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