Kia Motors America is teaming up with DonorsChoose to host a number of teacher appreciation events and hands-on project funding workshops for teacher empowerment.
Since 2012, Kia has hosted a variety of campaigns that have brought in over $7 million in an effort to increase educational opportunities for around 1.5 million students in the United States.
The company's "Holidays On Us" Road Tour will provide $500,000 in flash funding for such efforts, which will be put toward active projects in a host of cities including San Diego, Phoenix, and Tucson, in support of DonorsChoose's goal of providing support for 100% of high-needs children throughout the country over the next five years.
"Kia and our dealers are dedicated to helping DonorsChoose.org meet its five-year goal and continue making a positive and lasting difference for students and teachers in need," said Tim Chaney, vice president, marketing communications, KMA. "We encourage people to visit DonorsChoose.org/Kia to learn how they can make a difference for as little as $1."
The company plans to drive all new 2016 Kia Optimas for the road tour, with the first teacher event being held in San Diego at the El Cajon Kia dealership. A second event is scheduled for Phoenix, with a third set to take place at the Royal Kia dealership in Tucson.
Workshops will be held in Mission Valley to discuss best-practices funding for the area. The same workshops will then take place in Phoenix.
The new campaign comes through a partnership from Kia and DonorsChoose, as well as support from individuals who can join the effort through the DonorsChoose website. Teachers can find event information on the website.
DonorsChoose is a crowdfunding charity that has brought over $380 million to public schools since being founded by former Bronx high school teacher Charles Best in 2000 after he continuously spent money out of his own pocket for classroom materials. On average, teachers across the country spend $485 of their own money for school supplies, according to a 2012-13 study by the National School Supply and Equipment Association, writes Lizzie Thompson for The74Million.
Best created an online platform where teachers could detail what was needed for their classrooms, ranging from field trips to art supplies and batteries. Other users could then donate a minimum of $5 to the project of their choosing and become an instant philanthropist. Once a project is fully funded, the classroom supplies are sent out by DonorsChoose.
Oprah plugged the initiative in 2003, calling it "revolutionary." Directly following that, the site was flooded with donations, with Stephen Colbert donating $800,000 in May of 2015 to be used for projects in his home state of South Carolina. Colbert also sits on the organization's board.
The site currently has over 2 million supporters and has raised $383,144,218 for classroom needs with an average donation of about $100.