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Amidst the flurry of inbound and outbound holiday business gifts around the office this season, the Yahoo gift stood out. Yahoo sent $50 gift certificates for DonorsChoose to many RKG folks. DonorsChoose is 501(c)3 non-for-profit website which allows teachers to request mini-grants, and donors to fund those grants, though gift certificates and/or direct donations. My wife and I opted to use my certificate to support a fifth grade teacher in East Harlem seeking a new rug to support morning meeting and other Responsive Classroom group activities. For context, 79% of kids in this Harlem classroom qualify for free lunch -- for a family of four, that means income below $24,500. I'd invite others out there to chip in to help this inner-city 5th grade class get a new rug too. While corporate holidays gifts are important recognition of valued clients and vendors, most of us folks getting them truly have more far than we need. A charitable donation is a meaningful alternative. However, I'm not a fan of the "Instead of sending gifts, we gave the money to charity" approach -- one wonders about the true size of the resulting donation. Artie Isaac of Young Isaac blogged how how his firm sends "bushels" of $8 checks to their holiday card list, urging receipients to donate the $8 to any charity and chip in more. Interesting, but I like Yahoo's DonorsChoose gift cards approach better, as it lets Yahoo restrict the donations (educational projects), and it lets the recipient select an actual specific project. We at RKG will keep DonorsChoice in mind for next holiday season. The Yahoo envelopes indicated which person in their organization sent the gift on the outer envelope, but I shucked and tossed my envelope before noticing that. So, to whomever over at Y! who sent this gracious gift to me, many thanks! My apologies that I no longer know to whom to send a thank you note.
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