Charles Best - Founder, DonorsChoose.org
Charles Best leads DonorsChoose.org, a website which liberates every public school teacher to be a change-maker and enables any citizen to be a philanthropist. At DonorsChoose.org, teachers submit proposals for materials or experiences that their students need to learn. Any individual can search project proposals by areas of interest, learn about classroom needs, and choose to fund the project she/he finds most compelling. Recognition of DonorsChoose.org includes the Nonprofit Innovation Award given by Stanford Business School and Amazon.com, a Global Technology Laureate from the TECH Museum of Innovation and Microsoft, the Fast Company Social Capitalist Award, selection by Ashoka, and election by the TechCrunch community as the website “most likely to make the world a better place.” National media such as Oprah Winfrey and The New York Times have profiled DonorsChoose as “the future of philanthropy.”
Charles founded DonorsChoose in the spring of 2000 at Wings Academy, an alternative public high school in the Bronx where he taught social studies for five years. Charles graduated from St. Paul’s School with the scholar-athlete award in 1994, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Yale in 1998. He then spent a year studying wood sculpture at the School of Fine Arts in Guadalajara, Mexico, helping to train Tzotzil Indians as teachers in Chiapas, Mexico, and teaching Spanish literacy at a farm/orphanage in the Nicaraguan highlands.