What can a mere apple do to change education? Ask the students at Creighton Elementary School.
As part of the #applesforteachers campaign, the Million Dollar Teacher Project launched an apple drive to marry educator appreciation and community improvement. Students at Creighton School were encouraged to bring in apples – the symbol of teacher appreciation – to their classrooms. The goal? The class that brought in the most apples was promised a pizza party (pizza courtesy of local comedian). What’s better than making teachers happy and pizza? Just when you thought this program couldn’t get any better, the Million Dollar Teacher Project added ponies to the mix.
Apples that were brought for the apple drive were given to the Successful Sunrise Foundation to help feed their therapy animals. The nonprofit animal therapy group brought ponies and goats out to interact with students at the school. Kids were recognized as instruments of change in teacher appreciation. Successes that span across industries are the exact kind that perpetuate MDTP’s goals, the Creighton School apple drive shines as a wonderful example of what that kind of interaction looks like.
Innovation, feasibility, and dedication – these are the three essential qualities of a successful ventuer that seeks to make a difference in the lives of others. These qualities are what it takes to become the recipient of a grant from the eSeed competition.
The Million Dollar Teacher Project received $1,000 from eSeed to further develop programs and was taken on by an experienced mentor. From the endowment, ideas quickly sprang up for focusing and concentrating the way the Million Dollar Teacher Project would achieve its goals. With the grant, MDTP achieved its first success with large donations and competitions between other ventures.
MDTP took one of the core challenges of the programs, creating a scalable, revenue-generating programs to help the first steps of the organization’s launch with momentum that would carry on into the future. A more well-developed business plan allowed MDTP to better plan for the future thanks to the eSeed grant.
Through charitable donations by local businesses and the charged determination of the Million Dollar Teacher Project, MDTP successfully donated lunches to 50 teachers at Creighton School.
On three different days, educators at Creighton schools were treated to free, specially crafted lunches from businesses who committed to making teachers feel more appreciated. Culinary Dropout, Uncle Louie’s, and Red Devil catered three separate events totaling around $1000 of in-kind donations. The event, though, carried over much more than simply donating lunches.
As teachers entered the event at Creighton School, they were asked to take a pre-survey regarding how appreciated they felt. Educators ate, shared experiences, shared burdens, and celebrated while the afternoon passed. Long after lunches had been eaten, a distinctive hum began to resonate with educators. They laughed and smiled. They felt appreciated. As they left, educators were asked to take a post-survey. After the luncheon, the MDTP observed positive growth in teachers’ feelings on how supported they felt by their school (+13%), by their community, (+41%), and general appreciation (+48%). The tangible impact emerged as solid proof that small steps towards appreciating teachers go a long way.
The luncheon achieved much more than served lunches and data, though. Later in the week after the luncheons, Lloyd Hopkins, CEO, watched a shift occur. “As I walked around [the campus], I felt something. There was a different vibe. The kids were smiling, the teachers were happy. The culture had changed and you could tell.” The luncheon served as a brilliant reminder that cooperation between businesses, communities, and schools can go a long way for both students and teachers.
PHOENIX — Million Dollar Teacher Project was awarded a philanthropic grant to support the organization’s mission to improve the education system in Arizona through teacher retention, pay, and community support.
Social Venture Partners Arizona (SVPAZ) announced today it distributed annual grant awards totaling more than $100,000 to support several valley organizations that promote arts and culture, social services, education, nonprofit and social enterprise.
“We are very pleased about the Social Venture Partners Arizona grant. This is another step towards providing Arizona’s school districts and educators with the financial support they need to provide our students with a high-quality education,” said Lloyd Hopkins, Executive Director of Million Dollar Teacher Project.
Awards ranged from $500 to $30,000 in unrestricted dollars. Visit the Social Venture Partners Arizona website for a complete list of award recipients.
It was the dead of night in downtown Phoenix, but computer displays were burning bright in Co+hoots as developers worked fiercely on overhauling the Million Dollar Teacher Project Website.
As part of an initiative by custom software development company The Nerdery, the Million Dollar Teacher Project website got a makeover. This project, called the Overnight Website Challenge, channels volunteers from the tech community into teams of web experts. These teams dedicate themselves to the development of a nonprofit’s online presence to turn their founders’ visions to beautiful, professional websites. The catch? The volunteer teams work pro-bono for twenty-four hours non-stop to build the new website.
The Million Dollar Teacher Project was graced with the opportunity to work with Prism, a diversely talented group of developers who worked fervently on the website: New ways to donate, get involved, and understand the organization jumped from thoughts to whiteboards to computer screens in mere hours. Llloyd Hopkins, CEO, oversaw the creation of site maps and plans. As the developers became more enveloped in the image and the spirit of MDTP, the website began to come to life.
The enthusiasm was ever-present as the development of the website entered its twelfth hour. Energy was still high as the team received news coverage from Channel 15 News at midnight. Prism’s team members expressed genuine investment in the Million Dollar Teacher Project’s cause during late-night chats. “I was an educator,” Juan Reyes of Prism beamed, “so this project really hits close to home for me. For us.” Genuine appreciation for effort was given and received by everyone on the team. Lloyd, both proud of and humbled by the project, said “I appreciate the collaboration. I appreciate how we brought our respective talents to the table to solve these big issues, issues facing teachers.” Every motion made by the project is a step towards improving education, but The Overnight Website Challenge and Prism helped MDTP make bounds with the new website.