DonorsChoose.org was started in 2000 by Charles Best, a teacher at a public high school in the Bronx. Since then, it has grown to serve all the public schools throughout the United States. As of February 2008, more than 20 million dollars had been donated to over 45,000 projects, helping more than 1,100,000 students in need.
The organization collects proposals from teachers and makes them available to the general public through its website. Individual donors can select projects and contribute as much as they are prepared to. DonorsChoose.org then purchases necessary supplies and provides them to the schools, and generates a line-item budget which is sent to the donor. In addition, donors who contribute $100 or more to a project, or who complete the funding for a project, also receive a "feedback package" of thank-you notes from students, photographs of the project, and a letter from the teacher.
DonorsChoose.org is supported by fulfillment costs optionally added to each donation, as well as private funding sources, such as Omidyar Network.
DonorsChoose.org appeared in a Doonesbury strip on September 9, 2007. It was also mentioned in an interview with Craig Newmark on the October 18, 2007 episode of the Colbert Report, and again on March 19, 2008.