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A detailed look at the Donors Choose campaign

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These classroom supplies were purchased through this fall's Donor's Choose campaign.

These classroom supplies were purchased through this fall's Donor's Choose campaign.


A high school teacher in Arvada replaced his 40-year-old generator, enabling students to deep-learn the concepts of electricity.

A Denver K-3 teacher received hands-on materials so his students could conduct magnetic field experiments.

Thornton high-schoolers now have phospholipid and membrane transport kits so they can study how cells organize.

These are just three of the thousands of projects funded through this fall’s Donors Choose campaign that provided nearly $20 million in ESSER and GEER funding to Colorado teachers for their classroom projects. 

Specifically, CDE in August gave $11 million from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund for nearly 14,000 classroom projects in 15,000 schools. The next month, Gov. Jared Polis provided $6.3 million in Governor Emergency Education Relief funding and CDE added $400,000 in ESSER funding for more than 7,000 projects in 1,300 schools. Each approved teacher request was eligible for up to $1,000 in total project funding.

Here are some results:

Campaign 1

On Aug. 24, 2023, CDE announced the first initiative to provide public school teachers with $11 million in COVID relief funding for classroom projects. Funding had been fully allocated by Sept. 1.

The first campaign funded 13,979 projects in 1,576 schools

Of those schools, two-fifths had 50% or more students from low-income households.

The top subjects were literacy and language, life skills and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math)

Schools getting funds:

  • 40.9% urban
  • 35.6% suburban
  • 7.7% town
  • 9.9% rural
  • 6% unclassified

 How funds were divvied up:

  • 27.2% educational games and kits
  • 14.9% books
  • 14.7% flexible seating
  • 10.1% instructional technology
  • 8.2% classroom basics
  • 6.7% art supplies
  • 5.5% computers and tablets
  • 5.1% lab equipment

Campaign 2

On Sept. 21, Gov. Jared Polis announced an allocation of $6.3 million from the Governor Emergency Education Relief fund for public school teachers for classroom projects. CDE added an additional $400,000 for this campaign, which was fully allocated within a few days.

The second campaign funded 7,368 projects in 1,385 schools

(Of those schools, 41.7% had 50% or more students from low-income households.)

The top subjects were literacy and language, life skills and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math)

Schools getting funds:

  • 38.7% urban
  • 37.2% suburban
  • 7.4% town
  • 10.9% rural
  • 5.8% unclassified

 How funds were divvied up

  • 28,5% educational games and kits
  • 13.7% flexible seating
  • 11.2% books
  • 10.3% instructional technology
  • 8.4% classroom basics
  • 7% art supplies
  • 6.4% computers and tablets
  • 5.1% lab equipment

Teacher Appreciation

Here’s some feedback from teachers whose projects were fully funded.

From Mr. Bluhm, the Arvada high school teacher who replaced his 40-year-old generator:

“Thanks for selecting my project. The Van De Graaff Generator is really fun and makes electricity come to life for the students at Arvada West High School! … Students love to interact with this product. It makes concepts in electricity more impactful with deeper learning!”

Photo of Van De Graaff Generator.

From Mrs. Lavigne, Grades PreK-2, Fort Collins:

“My students are loving all the new materials that they get to engage with! The kids are liking all the new sensory boxes they get to find their articulation minis in as well as language minis. They love all the new literacy manipulatives that keep them engaged in listening to the stories and then having visual supports to answer comprehension questions.”

Photo of classroom supplies bought with Donors Choose ESSER funds.

From Mrs. Di Stasio, Grades PreK-2, Pueblo West

“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic students and teachers experienced many uncertainties. This printer and supplies has allowed me to attend to my student and families needs by being able to print newsletters, individualized reading passages, art projects and so much more right from my very own classroom. Classroom costs are so often covered by teacher's own money – right out of our own pockets without a second thought. This donation has been so beneficial to me and my students and is greatly appreciated.”

Photo of Printer bought with ESSER funds in Donors Choose campaign.

From Ms. Vanek, Grades 3-5, Broomfield:

“Thank you for funding our classroom grant for wobble stools. Flexible seating helps students to focus. These wobble stools will give students the opportunity to move their bodies while still being a part of the classroom and staying engaged in learning. The flexible seating will help to support my diverse group of students as they grow and learn.”

Wobble Stools bought with ESSER funding in Donors Choose campaign.