GOOD Maker will award a $2,500 grant to an education nonprofit that's teaching Los Angeles fifth-graders about the importance of volunteering.
For years now, we've made it our business at GOOD to celebrate ideas that push the world forward. And with our latest platform GOOD Maker, we now have the technology to connect great intentions with the funding they need. We piloted the tool in our hometown of Los Angeles, where we presented a variety of projects to our community and asked them to vote on the one most deserving of a $2,500 grant.
Project Goodness is a nonprofit that works with fifth-grade classrooms throughout Los Angeles to provide "standards-based service-learning and character education" at a crucial point in their social development. The project operates at no charge to its partner schools, teaching kids about giving back to the community and the importance of volunteering over the course of a 10-week session.
Project Goodness is just starting its second year, working in three different public elementary schools during the fall session. So far, they've reached about 340 students. Seeded with $25,000 from a Pepsi Refresh Grant last fall, Project Goodness can look forward to a $2,500 boost from the Maker fund to grow its operations.
GOOD caught up with Project Goodness founder and executive director Alli Seigel to congratulate her on winning and talk about how the organization will use the funds:
GOOD: What kind of plans do you have for growth and expansion?
Allie Seigel: We want to expand our program to include at least 50 classrooms by next fall—reaching an additional 1,500 students! We are working to raise funds to ensure that our program remains free for all public elementary schools. We also have plans to develop both a teacher training program and a packaged curriculum so that Project Goodness can be replicated at schools throughout Los Angeles and beyond. Ultimately, we'd love to see Project Goodness included as a mandatory program within L.A. Unified and other districts.
GOOD: How will you use the $2,500 awarded by the GOOD LA Maker Fund?
Seigel: This award will cover the costs of a full 10-week program in a public elementary school for a fifth grade class, which is coincidentally budgeted at $2,500 per class! This covers all the supplies, like "Goodness Journals" for the kids, supplies for their service-learning projects, our teacher time, and more. Schools love that we bring in a full-service, standards-based educational program that supplements their curriculum in a meaningful way—at no cost to the school. And the kids love that our program is so hands-on, engaging and fun! This award fits nicely with our Project Goodness motto that "every little bit counts!"
GOOD: What's been the most rewarding part of running this organization?
Seigel: The students! They are truly understanding and becoming inspired by the lessons we teach. Several children have gone on to create their own fundraisers for charities they are passionate about, and we recently learned that one industrious 5th grader was so inspired by Project Goodness, that he is now working to found his own non-profit organization. Being able to plant these seeds of goodness into the minds and hearts of these children, and then to watch them blossom is incredibly inspiring. The evaluations we collect at the end of each session from the students, parents and teachers are always so rewarding for me. One teacher wrote, "This program helped empower my students, raised their confidence level and gave them a chance to see their peers in a more positive manner.”
Photo courtesy of Project Goodness