Colorado teachers are turning to crowdfunding sites to pay for school supplies

Donors give more than $12k to Denver teacher

DENVER – Teachers across the country are striking to demand better pay and better supplies, but some others are taking a more creative approach and turning to crowdfunding to pay for what is needed in their classrooms.

One of those is 9th grade teacher Justo Yanez, who teaches at North High School. 

"My students at a young age struggle with having energy, proper nutrition, exercise," said Yanez. "I knew that like a lot of companies outside education are incorporating medicine ball chairs, cycle desks, treadmill chairs; and that's something I really wanted but I knew my principal would be like, 'no we can’t.'"

He, like many teachers, has paid for supplies out of his own pocket before; but that changed when he heard about DonorsChoose.org, a nonprofit crowdfunding site. He posted the projects he wanted for his kids and people donated more than $12,000 to help fund those projects. The money also bought books, musical instruments and a laptop, which has helped the different learning needs of his students.

"It is a lot of money but it made a huge impact in my teaching," said Yanez.

In March, Ripple, a cryptocurrency and international payment company, donated $29 million in cryptocurrency to fund teachers' projects across the country, including Yanez's.

"[It] makes me want to come to class more. Also get that workout, but also learn something new about writing and pronouns," said student Elias Aguilar.

You can see the difference in the students who feel the impact from the community.

"They want us to be encouraged to go to school and get our education," said Eduardo Curiel, another student at the high school.

Yanez feels motivated and supported by the community as well.

"There's actually people outside of these walls that do care about education and believe in public schools," said Yanez.

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