Donors Pitch In, Help Fund Oklahoma School Projects

Friday, April 8th 2016, 7:21 pm
By: Emory Bryan

In the middle of state budget cuts, a donor stepped in to help teachers.

For some teachers, grant writing is part of the job if they want anything out of the ordinary for the classroom; and Friday, quite a few Tulsa teachers learned a donor wants to help.

In Karen Dotson's classroom at Skelly Elementary, children learn computer coding and work with robotic balls that bought with a $300 grant Dotson applied for through

"I was able to get way more than I could have afforded by myself," Dotson said.

Tulsa Public Schools encourages teachers to apply for grants, especially with state funding dwindling for what once was considered basic classroom supplies.

"If you want to do anything creative, outside the box, you're on your own," said Patti Ferguson-Palmer with the Tulsa Classroom Teachers Association.

But, there's suddenly a surge of grant funding on the website after the United Aerospace Workers stepped in to fully fund dozens of projects for Tulsa schools.

David Brewer said the UAW started raising money with a car wash.

“That grew into last fall we had a big golf tournament where we raised over $6,000 we wanted to donate, and the challenge was to get it directly into the classroom,” he said.

The teachers union hopes more projects will get matching dollars for the out-of-the-blue offer.

Ferguson-Palmer said, "You know how they say you're never going to have someone knock on your door and offer to give you money? Well, that happened."

Dotson said she's kept her students updated on her grant requests.

"They're very encouraged by the fact that people care enough to help them get things that make school more exciting," Dotson said.

The school district and teachers union encourage teachers to apply through Donors Choose, where this isn't the first time there's been a sudden rush of grant funding.