Fort Greene

Reddit co-founder Ohanian joins ‘philanthropic flashmob’ to fund Brooklyn classrooms

March 10, 2016 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian funded the wish list of every teacher in Fort Greene and nearby neighborhoods who posted a request on the website DonorsChoose.org on Thursday. Courtesy DonorsChoose.org

For #BestSchoolDay, celebs & entrepreneurs fund DonorsChoose.org

The classroom needs of every teacher in Fort Greene and nearby neighborhoods who posted a request on the website DonorsChoose.org were funded on Thursday by Alexis Ohanian, Brooklyn resident and co-founder of the popular website Reddit.

That means first graders and special needs kids at P.S. 9 will get a new computer to practice their math and English skills, and overheated kids in dance classes will get an air conditioner. Autistic students at P.S. 369 will get the structured spaces and new classroom furniture they need for orderly learning. Kids at P.S. 261 will soon be able to listen to audio books.

In nearby neighborhoods, students at P.S. 29 will be receiving two new Chromebooks to use for research. Brooklyn International High School students will be getting electronic kits to create STEAM (science, tech, engineering, arts and math) projects. AP students at the Cobble Hill School of American Studies will be receiving their own AP history text books.

Ohanian’s philanthropy is part of #BestSchoolDay, a flash-funding event where more than 50 actors, athletes and entrepreneurs fulfilled classroom dreams across the U.S.

Ohanian said he was funding the classroom requests in Fort Greene because “that’s where I was born. And I want to make sure that every school student in the best neighborhood in New York has access to the best tools and resources imaginable,” he said in a video for DonorsChoose.org.

Ohanian added that he was grateful for the opportunities he got in school. “I know how lucky I was and I want to make sure that every single public school kid in this country gets that lucky, too.”

In all, 263 projects were funded in the borough. Besides Ohanian, Brooklyn schools’ funders include the Bezos Family Foundation, which funded projects in high-poverty areas across the country; Elsa Brule, a philanthropist who funded school requests in Brownsville; and the Donna & Perry Golkin Family Foundation, which concentrated their funding on the neediest communities in Brooklyn.

Stephen Colbert, a board member of DonorsChoose.org, inspired the #BestSchoolDay event when he announced he was funding all classroom projects in his home state of South Carolina in May 2015.

After that, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone and his wife Livia committed to fund all the projects in Boston and Contra Costa County, California. This prompted Twitter co-founders Jack Dorsey and Evan Williams to commit to the states where they grew up.

Additional funders this year include Paul G. Allen, founder & CEO of Vulcan, Inc., Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks, actress Yvette Nicole Brown, Bill & Melinda Gates, actor Samuel L. Jackson, tennis champ Serena Williams and others.

Teachers in schools lacking funding for technology items, books and even basic items like paper and pencils post their requests on DonorsChoose.org.

More than 2 million people have donated $400 million to projects, according to the organization.

 

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