• Jennie Breister

The Power of Positivity: Part 2 | Spotlighting A New Round of EdTech Do-Gooders

It’s Thanksgiving week in a year filled with uncertainty and hardship. But one thing is certain - in education, good people are coming together every day to do extraordinarily good things. The Square 32 team is thankful for this next round of EdTech Do-Gooders. From building grassroots coalitions to raising awareness for social injustice and kids with autism, these innovators are proving that when tech and communities join forces to put learners first, anything is possible.

The original teacher-created crowdfunding site, Donorschoose.org turns 20... 2020 marks 20 years of giving for Donorschoose.org, founded by Bronx public high school teacher, Charles Best. To date, the website has raised over $1 billion from 4.6 million donors and funded 1.8 million projects submitted by more than 618K teachers from 85,000+ public schools. Beyond the impressive numbers is their commitment to transparency as 95% of funding goes directly to classroom projects. There’s a reason why Stephen Colbert’s on the board and Oprah’s named them one of her “Ultimate Favorite Things”. The pandemic and distance learning demands have pushed teachers and students to adapt in immeasurable ways. If you’re looking for a way to give back to educators, Donorschoose.org is a safe and reliable place to fund a classroom project, whether in your own backyard or anywhere in the country.

Community coalitions band together with BookNook to close the COVID reading gap… We love a great EdTech coalition story, and with BookNook we have an entire chain of them unfolding in cities across the U.S., all with a common mission to close the COVID gap for students who are having a hard time with reading. At Prince George’s County Schools in Maryland, their PGCPS Reads program is mobilizing volunteers across a full spectrum of community groups. In Detroit, Michigan, urban educator and volunteer collaborations are in progress with Brilliant Detroit and the Skillman Foundation, among other partners. Thousands of students are getting help from trained tutors and volunteers, in schools across California, Texas, Tennessee, and Florida--and almost every state in between. Read all about the real and measurable results these collective initiatives have on growing reading skills, recovering from learning losses related to Covid-19, and creating lifelong learners.

Coding and Girls in STEM among the critical programs offered by the Autism Tree Project Foundation

Supporting families affected by autism for 16 years, Autism Tree Project Foundation (ATPF) provides free early intervention screenings to more than 2,000 preschool children per year, at no charge to families or schools, with nearly 21,000 preschoolers screened to date. Based in San Diego, California and active across the state, ATPF is part of a global scientific community, supporting Autism Spectrum Disorder research, and also offering over 20 programs, now available virtually. From Coding programs to Girls in STEM and Virtual Reality workshops, all were created for kids on the autism spectrum. ATPF began as a grassroots and deeply personal mission for co-founders Todd and Dayna Hoff when their son, Garrett (now thriving as a senior at George Washington University), was diagnosed with autism at age two. We applaud ATFP for building a united front for the faces of autism and for breaking barriers, one family at a time.

Lean into the most difficult conversations with help from A Kids Book About…

As a black father in a blended family, Jelani Memory, co-founder and CEO of A Kids Book About, wanted a way to talk with his kids about racism, so he wrote a book. One book turned into an entire publishing company with a highly acclaimed series of books and e-books that help kids (ages 5-9) and their grownups have honest conversations about challenging, empowering, and important topics told by diverse authors who know that topic first-hand. Friend to Square 32, Ben Sand is the author of the latest in the series, A Kids Book About White Privilege, and his venture non-profit The Contingent is equally powerful, with a mission to inspire emerging leaders and mobilize Community across the state of Oregon. Hats off to Jelani, Ben and all the authors who are taking on our society’s biggest issues with future generations in mind.

Square 32 lives at the intersection of education, technology, marketing, and social good and we’re proud to share this second round of well-deserving EdTech Do-Gooders. Reach out with questions or comments and stay tuned for more.