Friday, January 8, 2016

Donors Choose JGGW...When a Donor Breaks a Promise... Make Lemonade

 Donors Choose Project Fully Funded by JGGW

Making Lemonade Out of Lemons

The Story of a Donor's Broken Promise

The Lemons

Sometimes things don’t go as planned.  Just recently, a donor made a promise to support not only our students, but thousands of students across the Nation, and then they backed out.

This is disappointing for us on about 13,230 different counts and over 200,000 counts for teachers and students across theNation.  

Here's the situation (from our perspective)...

On December 1st, Donors Choose posted a project that was written by us (Julie and Tosha) with the help of our students.  The project was to develop a children’s museum inspired Hands on Hall.  The project was written to impact our entire elementary school.  You can learn more about the project here.    

Imagine our excitement, a few days after Christmas when we were notified by a parent who was excited… in awe… shocked!  This parent had  logged on to check out the project and make a donation.  She was amazed to see to see the project had been FULLY FUNDED.  As this message came across my (Tosha) phone notifications I immediately checked… I couldn’t believe it!!! Fully funded!!!  I was jumping with excitement.  My son, who is a student, was thrilled… my husband, my other two sons…. we were all celebrating.  “Good job Mom!”  “Good job Hon!  What a great thing this is for the kids.”  I started calling… texting… parents… teachers… administrators… superintendent.  Joy! Joy! Joy!  So blessed!!!  

Julie and I spent the next few hours messaging, researching, Googling.  Who was this donor JGGW from Virginia?  Wow!  Look at all the projects they funded… these students are getting MacBooks… these students are getting iPads… computers… furniture… going to AFRICA!!!!!   A Christmas Miracle maybe…. possibly a last-minute tax deduction… this was truly a scene out of the movies.  These teachers and student must all be so excited!!!   

A few days passed, news spread to family and friends.  We received numerous positive responses and congratulations through social media and personal contacts.  We announced the funding to our students.  You can see for yourself their response:

Then the email… funding has been removed… WAIT!!!  WHAT???? REMOVED??? How can this be so???  Stomach-ache… headache… heartache… What do we do?  Who do we call? How could this be?  We have had projects funded in the past by Donors Choose.  The small nonprofit organization is so good to teachers.  Donors Choose has been such as blessing to our classroom.  They are a small, unique, non-profit organization who makes big, impactful differences in classrooms.  We have never had anything like this happen.  This couldn’t be true.  Then the private messages from other teachers across the nation began to pop up on our Two Sassy Apples Facebook page and public messages were posted on our blog post.   Not only was this happening to us… not only were we feeling this way but so were others… many others.   

Here's the situation after talking with a representative at

“A donor pledged a large donation to help support many projects on our site. We were thrilled by his generosity, but we also carefully looked into this particular donation to make sure that the donor would be able to follow through with his pledged support in the time that we'd need to bring these projects to life. We were all incredibly disappointed when it became clear that, despite that work, this donor won't be able to provide the funds he promised.

I know this is a really difficult time for all the teachers who were excited to see a generous donation like this one, and who might have shared this news with their friends, families, and (most heartbreaking of all) their students. Right now, the top members of our organization are working hard to figure out what we can do to better protect our teachers in the future.

It’s time for Lemonade!

As we talked… as we listened… as more teachers reached out to us… my mind kept going back to a teacher by the name of Ms. W in Georgia and her thank you note to the donor JGGW

She cried… she was so happy that her special education students would have access to computers and programs they so desperately needed.  Now I was crying for the loss she is feeling and for the loss her students would feel.  No! Disappointment couldn’t be the end… we aren’t stopping with lemons...we knew we had to do something.  Not for us, but for our kids and all the other students and teachers affected by this.    

We must tell this story… we must turning disappointment into hope--hope that someone else will make that promise to our kids, and will follow through on it--that's what will make the difference.  We must make lemonade out of lemons.  

How You Can Help
- This is a chance for us to spread the word to donors: "You--whether you're a leader in town, a college acquaintance, a local business owner, a next door neighbor, a corporate CEO-- you can be the one who makes this opportunity possible for all the  kids affected by this. You can be a hero to kids!  You can turn lemons into lemonade!

For those teachers who are experiencing this right now:

- Give us your information and we will help spread the word for you:

- Please also consider leaving your story in the comments below.  Who knows what the power of your story will do...for the other educators involved, for your project...

- Log on to to learn what options might be available.  Whether it's giving your project some additional fundraising time, helping you look into other funding opportunities, or giving any extra guidance on some tools to help you reach your funding goal, we're here to help.

- Seize on this chance to rally your community. Over and over, I think all of us have seen how the boundless generosity of donors--those tremendously kind, thoughtful, supportive folks who might know you personally or might not know you at all, but who are all passionate about getting teachers everything possible to bring opportunities to their kids--can be heroes in getting classrooms what they need.



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