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Charles Best
Travels From TRAVELS FROM
New York, USA
Speaker Fee Range SPEAKING FEE RANGE ** Please note that while this speaker’s specific speaking fee falls within the range posted above (for Continental U.S. based events), fees are subject to change. For current fee information or international event fees (which are generally 50-75% more than U.S based event fees), please contact us.
$10,000 to $15,000
Book This Core Agency Speaker BOOK CHARLES BEST
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PROFILE
Charles Best
Travels From TRAVELS FROM
New York, USA
Travels From SPEAKING FEE RANGE*
$10,000 to $15,000
Email Core Agency Book Charles Best
speakers@coreagency.com
  • Charles Best was a teacher in an underserved public school when he acted on his thought “there were people out there who would to help teachers like us if they could just see where their money was going” and the extremely successful nonprofit DonorsChoose.org was born.
  • DonorsChoose.org is Charles Best’s brainchild to get donor financial support that helps public school teachers across the U.S. fund requested needs to make their classroom dreams come alive.
  • Charles Best’s story is perfect for entrepreneurs and small business owners who are fighting the odds, educators who need to be inspired, and leaders who want to know how Best went from teacher to crowd-funding pioneer.

Charles Best is a teacher turned charitable entrepreneur whose movement, DonorsChoose.org, has been named one of Fast Company’s "50 Most Innovative Companies in the World.” DonorsChoose.org is a nonprofit organization that uses crowd-funding to address educational inequity.

Best launched the nonprofit in 2000 after talking about fundraising struggles with his fellow teachers at the Bronx public high school where he taught history. Best came up with the idea for a website to help teachers afford the supplies they often have to purchase themselves. He paid a programmer $2,000 to build the site, and DonorsChoose.org was born. Through the web site, public school teachers create classroom project requests and donors pick the projects they want to support.

The website has taken some of the stress off teachers, who spend $1.6 billion of their own money annually to purchase supplies for their classroom. The site has raised more than $430 million to fulfill 735,000 plus projects that have benefited more than 18 million students. Teachers from 70% of America’s public schools have posted project requests on DonorsChoose.org.

DonorsChoose.org was one of Oprah Winfrey's "ultimate favorite things" in 2010, and Fortune Magazine has named Best to its "40 under 40 hottest rising stars in business” three times. Best graduated from Yale University, is married, and lives in New York City.

VIDEOS
PROGRAMS

Best is a unique speaker with a incredibly inspiring story to tell. As a former teacher, he is a great storyteller and keeps his audiences engaged throughout his talk. He is quite interactive, even putting his speaker’s fee in the hands of his audience by giving them a philanthropic gift card to spend on a DonorsChoose.org classroom request of their choice. Best personalizes his time with his audience by researching them ahead of time, and prepared to anticipate and address topics that would likely be of interest to that audience.

No More Gatekeepers
Best shares how, as a 24-year-old teacher at a Bronx high school, he created a model of giving hailed as "the future of philanthropy" by The New York Times. His story starts with the high school wrestling coach who inspired him to become a teacher, the most humiliating mistake he ever made getting DonorsChoose.org off the ground, and the most poignant moments of its journey, such as the projects teachers created to recover from the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. Today, teachers at 70% of public schools in America have created projects on DonorsChoose.org, and more than $430 million has been raised to fulfill more than 735,000 projects.

Best connects his story to other sites that—like DonorsChoose.org—enable anyone to go public with their idea and request financial support. Best says these sites signal a profound change in how long someone has to wait to have their need met, and who you have to know, and how lucky you have to be, to bring a good idea to life. He says they represent a new kind of marketplace where gatekeepers no longer stand in your way.

Pushing Intelligence Out to the Edge
In launching DonorsChoose.org out of his Bronx classroom, Best pioneered the crowd-funding movement. Today, teachers at half of all the public schools in America have created project requests on DonorsChoose.org, and more than a million people have donated $200 million.

That scale of growth has spurred Best and his team to tap the power of both crowd-funding and crowd-funding, making DonorsChoose.org the first charity ever named to Fast Company's list of the "50 Most Innovative Companies in the World." Best explains how the DonorsChoose.org team has:

    • Opened up a mountain of data so that people can discover what schools most need and which teaching topics are trending, inspiring hundreds of web developers to build apps that engage the public in public schools.
    • Crowdsourced many aspects of integrity assurance and quality control, a shift that has delivered huge productivity gains as well as cost savings.
    • Turned DonorsChoose.org into a platform that companies like Google, Facebook, Starbucks, and Chevron are using to do cause marketing, to engage their customers and employees in philanthropy, and to "do well by doing good."

Charles concludes by giving everyone a DonorsChoose.org gift card (underwritten by his speaker's fee) to spend on a classroom project of their choice.

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