One of the great challenges to running SLA is the fundraising that has to happen every year to keep our 1:1 MacBook program going. Every year, the fundraising kicks into high gear with our EduCon planning, and we cobble together the $180,000 we need from EduCon, grants, donations, district-level grants and school budget when we have it. Worse, I’m a bashful fundraiser – especially when it comes to donations from citizens. I don’t like having to ask people for money, but it seems you cannot be a principal these days unless you understand that part of your job is to be head-fundraiser.

As most readers of this blog know, the past few years have been exceptionally challenging for the School District of Philadelphia, and SLA’s fundraising needs have risen dramatically at the same time that more and more schools are in more and more need, and funding dollars are getting harder and harder to come by.

This year, we worked with a Philadelphia Tech Social Entrepreneur as we used his new site – FundingWorks – in an attempt to crowd source a significant portion of the laptop funding. Funding Works works in such a way as to set a deadline for funding whereby if you do not meet your goal, you don’t get any of the donations. High-stakes fundraising, indeed. We had set an overall goal of $80,000 – because that was what we needed at the time, but we set up a $20,000 threshold that we had to hit to receive anything.

Getting the fundraising going has been tough. Emails have been sent, phone calls have been made, and we have been watching the funding thermometer grow slowly toward $20,000 for several months, but as of last week, we were still $9,000 short with the deadline of July 15th rapidly approaching.

I am humbled to say that we made our fundraising goal with three and a half hours to spare tonight. And when I look over the list of donations, I see SLA families – including many alums. I see members of the Philly Tech world who have – over and over – adopted SLA as one of their own. I see educators from all over the world who gave what they could to our funky little school. I see old friends and former students. And I see over $8,000 in anonymous donations to which I can only hope that some of those folks read this blog and know the incredible deep sense of thanks I have in my heart.

Overall, I see an incredible community, and I am reminded of how lucky I am to have such wonderful people in my life – people who support the school that is, for so many of us, a home. I am truly humbled by the fact that so many people took the time to give, to spread the word and to care about our school.

Thank you to everyone who gave. Thank you for supporting SLA. Thank you for allowing our dream of what a school can be to continue.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad