What: DonorsChoose, an education-oriented philanthropy site where donors can decide what they want to sponsor.
BEST POINTS: The site is a collection of wish lists: Teachers from low-income districts write proposals for the materials and opportunities they think would most benefit their students. Independent donors then read through and decide which projects they'd like to sponsor. The site is searchable by price range and subject matter. Requests range from Ladybug Magazine subscriptions for a pre-K class to a coming-of-age ball for teenage single mothers. Recently, the site has received a flood of requests from New York City teachers for materials that might help students express their feelings about the terrorist attacks.
What YOU NEED TO KNOW: DonorsChoose staff work with teachers to edit and clarify proposals, and then post them on the site. Donors to a particular project receive photos and thank-you letters from the students and teachers involved. The website was founded by Charles Best, a teacher at Wings Academy, an alternative public high school in the Bronx. More than 160 teachers have now contributed to the wish list, 35 of them in response to the World Trade Center collapse.