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DonorsChoose and ESSER COVID Relief Funding

DonorsChoose + CDE. Fund a classroom project.


Update as of Sept. 25, 2023: The second round of funding has been spent. Stay tuned to social media, and CDE newsletters for updates on future funding opportunities. 

About DonorsChoose

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis' Office and the Colorado Department of Education are collaborating with DonorsChoose to provide additional funding to continue to support Colorado teachers and their incredible work responding to the impacts of COVID-19 on student learning. For the second time in a month, Colorado teachers will be able to apply to receive up to $800 in classroom supplies while the $7.1 million in funds last.

Who is DonorsChoose? DonorsChoose is a 501(c)(3) charitable non-profit connecting teachers to resources across the country. Since DonorsChoose was founded in 2000, more than 10,000 Colorado teachers representing school districts across the state have received over $16 million for projects that help them go above and beyond in the classroom. Seven school districts in Colorado, including Denver Public Schools, are currently part of the DonorsChoose District Partnership Program.

To help districts, schools and teachers communicate and take advantage of this funding opportunity, CDE has created a toolkit to help spread the word in schools, with administrators, parents and local communities.

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Create a project on DonorsChoose

Submit a project on DonorsChoose using the campaign code COLORADO, and keep your total project goal under $1,000, that’s about $800 in materials after processing fees. Since funding is limited, submit as soon as possible for the best chance to get your project approved. If you do not see funding from CDE applied to your project, review the DonorsChoose Help Center. If you need additional assistance, submit a customer service ticket to DonorsChoose via the customer contact form.

CDE and DonorsChoose

Given the popular demand of the first round of grants, Gov. Jared Polis announced today he is dedicating an additional $6.7 million in federal Governor's Emergency Education Relief (GEER) funding to support the needs of hardworking Colorado teachers. The Colorado Department of Education is also putting in an additional $422,000 in COVID-19 relief funding to the initiative for a total of $7.1 million for the second round. 

Teachers are advised to act quickly. The first round of $11 million lasted about a week. This round is likely to go much quicker.

If you do not see funding from CDE applied to your project, review the DonorsChoose Help Center. If your concerns are not addressed, submit a customer service ticket to DonorsChoose via the customer contact form.

Eligibility Information:

  • Project requests can be made by anyone who meets all of the following criteria:
    • Is employed full time by a Colorado school district, charter school, Bureau of Indian Affairs school or Head Start center.
    • Spends at least three-quarters of their time directly interacting with PreK-12th grade Colorado public school students.
    • Examples of qualifying positions include K-12 classroom Educator, PreK Educator, school librarian, school nurse, school psychologist, etc.
    • A full list of eligibility criteria is available on the DonorsChoose website.

Project Request Details:

Only projects meeting all required criteria will be funded at a maximum of $1000.

  • Each $1,000 project includes the cost of materials and applicable fees. To keep the project goal at $1,000 teachers should request around $800 in materials.
    • Projects with a cost higher than $1,000 will not qualify for funding from CDE.
  • Required project criteria:
    • Project requests must come from a Colorado public school teacher or public charter teacher and serve students in grades PreK-12.
    • The project goal must be strong, clearly stated and educationally appropriate for the students affected.
    • Student benefits must be clear and apparent.
    • Requested items must reasonably relate to the stated project goal.
    • Student privacy is protected, with no identifying details about students or families provided.
    • Materials requested must be for student use.
    • Materials requested must be related to student recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Food, staff stipends, hiring for district positions, purchased services, capital equipment or professional development materials for the educator will not qualify for this funding.
  • For a full list of project criteria, visit the DonorsChoose website.

How to qualify:

Questions & Answers

Which educators qualify; who is eligible?

All Colorado public school educators who teach students in PreK-12th grade are eligible for the program. For the purposes of this program, “Colorado educator” is defined as any full-time equivalent public-school employee who spends the majority of their time directly educating or counseling students. Read a more detailed list of eligibility requirements on the DonorsChoose website.

I already have a DonorsChoose account, do I need to make a new account to submit a project?

No. Only one DonorsChoose account per teacher is permitted. If you already have a DonorsChoose account sign in to that account before submitting your project.

What resources can educators request?

Educators can request classroom resources, including but not limited to supplies, technology and instructional materials.

Can a non-educator nominate an educator and/or project?

No. Funding through this partnership is intended to address the individual and specific need(s) of each educator and classroom. Educators must submit their own projects to participate in the program. See the CDE Communications toolkit if you'd like to share about this program on social media.

Can educators submit multiple projects for funding?

Each Colorado educator can only have one project funded through this funding opportunity. However, educators are encouraged to post additional projects to DonorsChoose and benefit from the community of donors.

For more information on if your project qualifies, visit the DonorsChoose Help Center.

Use the CDE Communications Toolkit to share this project with your colleagues and friends.

Funding for the second round of this project includes $6.7 million from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Funds, ALN 84.425C & R, through the Colorado Governor's Office and $422,000 from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund, ALN 84.425D, through the Colorado Department of Education.

The initial project funding of $11 million came from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund as part of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 (CRRSA ESSER II, ALN 84.425D) through the Colorado Department of Education.