Anonymous donor gives $600K to fund Dallas ISD school projects

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Christmas came early for some North Texas educators after an anonymous donor filled every single wish list for teachers in Dallas County.

The gifts totaled more than $600,000. Among other things, the money will fund field trips, books, school supplies and library improvements. They are items many teachers often pay for out of their own pockets.

The donations cover 300 schools in 20 cities. Dallas ISD eld a celebration for the donations that fund projects and equipment the teachers have been hoping to provide for their students.

The announcement came Tuesday by Superintendent Michael Hinojosa at Winnetka Elementary School. He let the surprise out that an unidentified donor paid $600,000 to fund every unfunded DISD project.

DonorsChoose is a crowdfunding tool for educators. It’s for supplies and equipment that the district can’t afford and, otherwise, might come out of the teachers’ pockets. DISD projects range from an aquarium and bug discovery kits to books and electronics.

“They’re coming from a low income family. The majority of them don’t have access to technology, especially laptops,” said teacher Magda Castillo. “So I wanted to give them access to a lap top in the classroom.”

The students are part of the award-winning Winnetka Elementary Robotics program. Their teacher, Jeremy Williams, had several projects he was trying to get funded and had almost given up on the limited time entries. Now, he is ecstatic about how students will benefit.

“One of my projects had only one day left, and then it was going to expire. One day left and it was gone, and it got funded,” Williams said. “They're using an iPad Pro, like $800. They're using that. It’s a big one so they can see information. It helps in what they're able to do."

“These teachers work around the clock to give our kids the best, and we really appreciate it,” said parent Paula Jones. “They often have to take money out of their own pocket to get resources and take care of the classrooms and that’s really going to help the school.”

The donation covered the costs for 1041 teacher projects or all of those yet to be fully funded. Administrators, teachers, students and parents consider this the best holiday treat around.

The anonymous donor is also promising more money going forward with matching funds and tripling donations for any teacher who starts a new DonorsChoose project.