Kindergarten teacher Carolyn Freeman gets $170 from her school for classroom supplies each year--a budget quickly drained by basic items like pencils and crayons for her students, more than 80 percent of whom come from low-income families. So when she wanted $300 for phonics materials, Freeman turned to the internet, where a philanthropic web making teachers' wish lists a reality.

The DonorsChoose program has raised more than $8.2 million for school projects since 2000, when it was pioneered by teachers at a public high school in the Bronx borough of New York City. ...

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