If you’re a teacher, you’re probably used to going without certain classroom “bells and whistles” due to a low activities or materials budget. Many teachers even dip into their own paychecks to fund special classroom projects (to the tune of an average annual cost per teacher of $1,000+ and a total nationwide annual cost of more than $3 billion!). The organizations and resources listed here are doing the very best they can do to make it easier for teachers nationwide to score free school supplies and materials. If you’re one of our country’s hard-working teachers, KCL salutes you—and we hope this list can help you find what you need without paying a dime of your own money to do it!
1. Adopt a Classroom
Adopt a Classroom makes it easy for teachers in need of supplies to connect with donors who wish to give. You can simply register your classroom online to begin connecting with donors. All donations are tax deductible for donors.
2. Donors Choose
Donors Choose is a nonprofit organization that helps teachers create fundraising campaigns (similar to Indiegogo or Kickstarter). For all projects that get fully funded, Donors Choose handles purchase and shipping of supplies right to the teacher’s classroom.
3. Giving Getting
Giving Getting is a website with one simple purpose—to allow people who need things to post their requests and people who have those things to donate them. All you need to do is post the items you need and wait for a donor to contact you.
4. Class Wish
Class Wish offers several ways to score freebies for your classroom. You simply create your class wish list and use the online tools to publicize your list to potential donors. All donations are tax deductible for donors.
5. Target Education Grants
Target funds a variety of educational grants for reading, field trips, and the arts. The grants are awarded once per year in spring or fall.
6. Kids in Need Foundation Grants
Kids in Need Foundation awards teacher grants annually (the grant application period is from July 15th – August 30th annually). Up to 600 grants in the amounts of $100-$500 may be awarded in a single year, so it certainly pays to put in an application!
7. Staples Rewards for Teachers
Staples has a standard rewards program for its customers, but the teacher rewards program goes it one better. You get the traditional 5% back in rewards, but you also get an extra 5% back in rewards for art and teaching supplies purchases.
8. Digital Wish Grants
Digital Wish awards teachers technology grants each month. All you have to do is register your classroom and type up a lesson plan based on technology, then review the guidelines and fill out the online application form. Each month’s winners are announced after the 15th of the month.
9. NAEIR (National Association for the Exchange of Industrial Resources)
NAEIR is a nationwide organization that offers teachers a free way (teacher memberships used to be $19/year but are now no charge) to request free supplies for their classrooms.
While Freecycle isn’t set up for teachers per se, teachers themselves swear by it. Basically people list free stuff they don’t want and you can request that stuff for your classroom.