Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Can Your T-Shirt Really Help a Classroom? Yes.

September 03, 2013

When you think about big problems in the abstract—if you were to take on the goal of “improving U.S. education,” for example—it is easy to get discouraged.

But when you make these same problems concrete and take them on at a personal level – one classroom, one teacher, one project at a time – you can really feel the impact, which makes it easier to be optimistic.

What if one teacher could raise their hand and ask for help with a specific project? And one person was able to answer that call and offer their support?

I am a big fan of our partners at DonorsChoose.org because they do exactly this – the platform connects regular people to teachers and makes it easy to support students in need.

Earlier this year, we announced a partnership with DonorsChoose.org and Digital Promise to create “teacher wallets,” which will allow teachers to purchase educational games, apps, and other software for their students. Letting teachers decide for themselves which curricula, technology, and tools will work best for their students is an important part of empowering them to do their best work.

Now, we’re excited to invite everyone to get involved in supporting classrooms in a fun and easy way with a new t-shirt design challenge on Threadless.com. The challenge is to create an original t-shirt design that teaches us something. Great ideas are already pouring in and you can vote for your favorite here.

Similar to the challenge we ran with Threadless last year, when the winning t-shirt goes on sale in a few months, 100 percent of proceeds will benefit our nonprofit partner – this year, we've selected DonorsChoose.org. Everybody who buys a t-shirt will be able to give to the classroom project that inspires them most.

None of us can do something as grandiose as “improve U.S. education” by ourselves. But we can all buy a t-shirt and support DonorsChoose.org. When we do that, we’ll be helping thousands of passionate teachers with big ideas about how to teach their students in innovative ways.

When you add it all up, the impact can be enormous.    

 
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