Fourteen years ago, I began teaching history at a public high school in the Bronx. My students and colleagues were awesome, but I could see that the school where I was teaching did not have the same resources as the schools I'd attended.
My colleagues and I spent a lot of our own money on copy paper and pencils, but we often couldn't afford the resources that would get our students excited about learning. We'd talk in the teachers' lunchroom about books our students should read, a field trip we wanted to take, or a microscope that would bring science to life.
"Crowdfunding" wasn't yet a word, but I figured there were people out there who'd love to help -- if they could see where their money was going. So, using a pencil and paper, I drew a website where teachers could post classroom project requests and donors could choose a project they wanted to support.
Fourteen years later, more than a million donors have supported projects reaching 10 million students in low-income communities, demonstrating that micro philanthropists can have a macro impact.
Arianna Huffington is one of the greatest champions of this idea -- that anyone can make a difference. In her new book, Thrive, she shares her secrets to creating a life of well-being, wisdom, wonder, and giving. One of these secrets is the joy and satisfaction derived from acts of altruism, no matter the dollar amount involved. And Arianna is taking an incredible step to prove it.
In a history-making move for the publishing world, Thrive is offering to give every reader their money back -- to become a micro-philanthropist. If you purchase Thrive before March 25 and follow the instructions on http://www.donorschoose.org/thrive, you'll be given a $26 DonorsChoose.org gift code to spend on the classroom project of your choice. Even if you purchase the book at a discount from its $26 list price, you'll get $26 to help fulfill a teacher's dream.
Think of it as "satisfaction guaranteed AND your money back." I think it's pretty cool that Arianna is donating profits from her book so that her readers can experience the joy of giving.
Thrive is about to give students across America a lesson in the Third Metric. I hope you'll take part.
Follow Charles Best on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CharlesBest