AdoptAClassroom.org is a United States based nonprofit organization created to help teachers purchase supplies for their classrooms by allowing people to donate directly to a teacher. It was founded in 1998 by James Rosenberg, a former mergers and acquisitions attorney.
As of February 2012, AdoptAClassroom.org has raised over $18 million from individuals and businesses to support underfunded classrooms, reaching over 4.3 million children. Over 146,000 classrooms are registered, representing all 50 states and U.S. territories. They represent 25% of the schools in the United States. AdoptAClassroom.org supports Pre-K through 12th grade classrooms, including public, private, and charter school classrooms. The organization has received a four star rating from Charity Navigator.
100% of donations made by individual donors go directly to the registered teacher. The teacher can then use those funds to shop online and have the supplies delivered to their school. Donors receive a report detailing exactly what the teacher purchased with their donation. AdoptAClassroom.org supports operations through contributions from foundations, businesses and individuals.
James Rosenberg is the pioneer behind AdoptAClassroom.org. He was working as a mergers and acquisitions attorney when he started mentoring a student at a school for pre-Kindergarten aged children who were physically and mentally delayed. He was surprised by the lack of resources available to the class and was inspired to start something to change the situation. He started with help from law school friend Max Holtzman, quitting his job in 1998 to focus on the mission of helping get much needed resources into the classroom. Starting with nothing but a laptop and a commitment to do something about the plight of classrooms, he has grown AdoptAClassroom.org into one of the leading educational charities in the country. Jamie has 14 years of experience in the education space and a deep understanding of effective cause marketing strategy.
AdoptAClassroom.org was the first crowd funding web site on the Internet. The crowd funding platform was launched prior to the Internet in 1998 and with the birth of the Internet, AdoptAClassroom.org became the first to take the concept into an online arena.
In 2011, Bob Thacker was hired as the Executive Director of AdoptAClassroom.org and opened a second office in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Prior to leading AdoptAClassroom.org, Bob had an illustrious career in marketing and advertising. Bob is a member of the Retail Hall of Fame and was selected by Advertising Age as one of the Top 100 marketers in the nation.
How the Process Works
- Classroom Selection: A donor can select a classroom based on teacher name, school name, geography, or other criteria. If there is no preference, the donation is assigned to an underserved class in the community.
- Donation Use: AdoptAClassroom.org directs 100% of all donations earmarked for classrooms to the classroom teacher in the form of online credit. AdoptAClassroom.org takes $0 for administration.
- Resource Ordering Online: Adopted teachers use donations to shop online from various vendors that have partnered with AdoptAClassroom.org. They are free to choose whatever resources they deem necessary for classroom learning.
- Impact Reporting: AdoptAClassroom.org sends each donor an "Impact Report" which details exactly what the teacher purchased with the donation.
- Correspondence and Interaction: In most instances, donors receive thank you packages, artwork and other student created projects. Donors can also support the classroom by visiting, chaperoning field trips, and other teacher-coordinated activities.
A Day Made Better
Since 2007, AdoptAClassroom.org has been partnering with OfficeMax to surprise over 1,000 teachers with $1,200 worth of supplies each. Selected schools are primarily Title 1 schools, where a majority of students come from households living below poverty. The schools' principals choose teachers based on merit. Many celebrities have been involved with the cause, from Lady Antebellum to Selena Gomez. The program has won the Peter Glen Award at the 2008 Retail Advertising & Marketing Association Conference.
After Disaster Program
Since early 2012, AdoptAClassroom.org's after disaster program has raised over $500,000 for schools in need. The organization has helped Henryville Elementary School in Henryville, Indiana (March 2012), raised $200,000 for schools impacted by Hurricane Sandy (November 2012), helped schools recover after tornados in West Texas, raised funds for Crest Pine Elementary after a school fire (2013), and helped rebuild schools in Moore, Oklahoma after they were hit by tornados (May 2013).
Live Real Change
In 2013, AdoptAClassroom.org was featured in a television documentary titled: "Live Real Change". The special discussed the lack of funding in classrooms and celebrated teachers. It featured many celebrities including Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, Pitbull (rapper), Lady Antebellum, LMFAO, and Matthew Morrison.
AdoptAClassroom.org's partnership with Coach, Inc began in 2010 and expanded to encompass donations in local communities from each of their over 500 stores.
Jones New York In The Classroom
AdoptAClassroom.org partnered with Jones Apparel Group from 2005 to 2012 in a joint effort to support classroom teachers. The campaign was titled Jones New York In The Classroom. Efforts focused on highlighting the importance and needs of classroom teachers. Each year, well known fashion designers would create t-shirts for sale at Macy's to raise funds for the mission. Other partners in the initiative included Martha Stewart and Rachel Ray.
OfficeMax | Adopt-A-Classroom
- 2008 Cause Marketing Halo Award
- Best Social Service/Education Campaign 
- Retail Advertising and Marketing Association Peter Glenn Award 
Jones New York in the Classroom | Adopt-A-Classroom
- 2006 Cause Marketing Halo Awards
- American Apparel and Footwear Association's Excellence in Social Responsibility
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- "Cause Marketing Halo Award Winners | Search Previous CM Halo Award Winners". Cause Marketing Forum. 2007-10-02. Retrieved 2013-06-28.
- "2008 Peter Glenn Award | Retail Advertising and Marketing Association". Rama-nrf.org. 2007-10-02. Retrieved 2013-06-28.
- "2006 Halo Award: Best Social Service/Education Campaign". Cause Marketing Forum. Retrieved 2013-06-28.
- "2006 Halo Award: Best National/Local Integration". Cause Marketing Forum. Retrieved 2013-06-28.