Yesterday was a happy first-day-of-school for the 2,233 CA teachers who had requested funds and materials for special projects via DonorsChoose.org. Every California request on the on-line site will be honored by the Claire Giannini Education Fund through an immediate $1,304,300 grant, according to the executive director of the $50 million/assets San Francisco-based charity, Hilda Yao.
On DonorsChoose, where the usual donation from the public averages $100, school teachers -- like Alice Mercer, at left, of Oak Ridge Elementary in Sacramento County, who posted an extra-budget need for Webcams and and Flip video cameras for a classroom project --asked for items to complete specific educational classroom projects. Yaho says the Giannini funds will directly benefit nearly 67,000 students.
“I wanted to find a way to reward and recognize teachers who take the initiative and students who have the imagination to come up with creative ways in which to enhance the learning experience,” said Yao.
Claire Giannini Hoffman, the first woman to serve on the board of Bank of America and Sears, Roebuck, died in 1997 at the age of 92; childless, her estate passed to her foundation. She was the daughter of the founder of Bank of America, A. P. Giannini. Hilda Yao is the daughter of Hoffman's closest friend, Dorothy Yao. "Claire, my mother, and I all believed strongly in the importance of investing in the education, training and welfare of children," Yao said yesterday.
Hoffman was also a horse lover, who provided "major philanthropic support" to the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, where a laboratory in equine science is named after her.
In the past, Yao has also donated to the University of Wisconsin in Madison, establishing the Dorothy and Hsin-Nung Yao Fund. Yao, a 1976 graduate of UW-Madison in Library Information Sciences, honors her parents by cash awards to an outstanding UW teacher of undergraduates in the history department.
Yesterday's awards will fund projects that promote literacy and language as well as math and science skills. More than a thousand of the projects are also from "high need" schools, where 40% or more of student populations are from families whose household income is at or below 130% of the poverty line (a maximum income of $23,920 for a family of four).