Blog Post

Thoughts from Our CEO: Supporting Schools through Donors Choose

December 31, 2015

Laura Helms ReeceRho co-CEOs Laura Helms Reece, Dr.P.H. and Russ Helms, Ph.D. share the importance of public education to NC businesses.

Rho is our chance to make the world a better place. We do that in big, sweeping ways – healing the sick. We do it in smaller, more personal ways like how we build this business. One way is to make our community better. Rho isn’t in a bubble—we are firmly settled right here in the Triangle.

We believe strongly that a strong public education system makes NC’s business community stronger. It makes Rho stronger. That’s why we’ve supported the NC Science Fair for several years and it’s why we wrote this editorial for the N&O.

The General Assembly hasn’t listened to what we and other business leaders have said. We decided talk is cheap and we’re going to put our money where our mouths are. Donors Choose is an organization where teachers advertise unfunded or underfunded projects and ask for donations. In September, Rho funded every science & math project at high poverty schools in Wake, Durham, and Orange counties for a total of $18,500 and 20 projects. Additionally, we gave each employee a $25 Donors Choose gift card to spend on the school or project of their choice for an additional contribution of $9,500 and a total donation of $28,000 for NC public schools.

The thank you notes we’ve received from teachers have touched us. This is one we found particularly moving:

Just today I had a student express to me that he loves coming to my class because he feels “like a real scientist”. My response was, of course, to reinforce that he IS a real scientist, and to tell him that his joy in his scientific achievement means the world to me. Thank you for being part of my team! Your donations are the fuel for the learning and growth that happens in my classroom. We accomplish so much more through your generosity.

Public schools face budget shortages each year, shortages that are frequently made up by teachers paying for needed supplies out of their own pockets.  Funding gaps in our schools contribute to the weakening of public education, which creates huge risks to the business climate in North Carolina.  Our donation funded math and science programs such as:

  • Materials for middle school students to create and organize engineering notebooks
  • DynaMath magazine subscriptions and real world math problem solving kits
  • Hands-on science and STEM activities such as building and sustaining a classroom river tank ecosystem

This is just one way we make our community better.  We are challenging other businesses across the state and the country to support students and teachers in the public school education system.