When it launched in November of last year, the goal for the first year of Philly FUNDamentals — a crowdfunding platform that lets Philly schools raise money for purchases and projects — was to raise $100,000.
But then the Philadelphia Eagles won the Super Bowl.
Thanks to sales from wildly-popular underdog merchandise, a sizable donation from the NFL Foundation and $70,000 from individual contributors, the Philly FUNDamentals platform shattered its goal and raised $413,000 in eight months to back projects at local schools, with 19 of them completing at least one goal. There are currently 671 projects in need of funding.
The projects run the gamut from 38 laptops for East Kensington’s Henry Brown School, to field trip buses for South Philly’s F. Amedee Bregy School or 3D printers for Kensington’s Sheridan School.
“Now that we have exceeded our first year’s goal three-fold in less than eight months, it’s clear that allowing individuals and businesses to contribute directly to a particular school has instilled confidence in donors and given our community a sense of ownership in our students’ success,” said Donna Frisby-Greenwood, president and CEO of the Fund for the School District of Philadelphia. “This school year will hopefully be even better now that more people know about the fundraising site.”
Local businesses also chipped in: from North Philly-based coffee shop ReAnimator Coffee Roasters and Federal Donuts, kicking in another $33,020 from the sales of Eagles-themed goodies.
Ted Domers, principal of George Washington Carver High School for Engineering and Science, said the after-school robotics program funded by FUNDamentals lets students create, design and apply the principles of the school’s STEM curriculum.
“The program is an important outlet for our students, providing them the freedom to tinker, collaborate, and extend what they learn in a less formal learning environment,” Domers said. “It also builds confidence as they build upon their success with schools across the region.”
The Fund plans to increase its fundraising goal this year to $200,000. But if the Eagles win again, that estimate could fall short.
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