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Charitable Donation Trends for K-12: Secondary Schools Lag Behind Primary

People are most likely to donate money to pre-K to grade 5 literacy projects at schools close to home, according to information released by Looker and DonorsChoose.org.

DonorsChoose.org is an online charity to help schools raise money. The group enlisted the help of Looker, a data discovery and business intelligence company, to analyze its data. The results of the analysis are called the Giving Index, which includes information about $60.2 million in donations made by 340,000 donors to 130,000 school projects during 2013.

The Giving Index revealed that donors gave more money to lower grades than higher grades.

Donations by grade levels:

  • Pre-K to grade two funding projects received $20.6 million in donations;
  • Grades 3 to 5 received $17.6 million;
  • Grades 6 to 8 received $10.8 million; and
  • Grades 9 to 12 received $11.4 million.

The index also found that the majority of projects requesting funding for the lower grades were related to literacy, whereas projects for higher grades were related to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects.

Number of funding requests for literacy and STEM projects by grade level:

  • For pre-K to grade 2, there were 27,821 funding requests for literacy projects compared to 9.651 requests for STEM projects;
  • For grades 3 to 5, there were 18,409 funding requests for literacy projects compared to 11,742 requests for STEM projects;
  • For grades 6 to 8, there were 7,492 funding requests for literacy projects compared to 7,546 requests for STEM projects;
  • For grades 9 to 12, there were 4,578 funding requests for literacy projects compared to 5,972 requests for STEM projects.

The majority of funding requests were for literacy projects, a category that included purchasing books, and "classroom libraries were the most funded projects of 2013," according to information provided by Looker.

The Giving Index also found that people were more likely to donate to projects at local schools, with 50 percent of donors giving to projects at schools within 25 miles of their home.

The top 5 cities requesting donations for schools were Chicago, with the most requests, followed by Houston, Los Angeles, Brooklyn and Bronx. However, the top 5 cities receiving donations for schools were Manhattan, with the most donations, followed by Brooklyn, Chicago, San Francisco and Oklahoma City.

DonorsChoose.org is making 100 percent of its anonymized data through Looker available to approved researchers, journalists and citizens. According to the organizations, people will be able to "access, explore, visualize and share insights on 20+ million records of DonorsChoose.org marketplace data, which will be combined with data on public educations." Anybody interested in viewing the data can request access through the DonorsChoose.org site.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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