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Wasserman Foundation to give $4 million to L.A. schools program

November 14, 2011 |  4:18 pm

The foundation of a prominent Southern California family announced Monday that it will give $4 million for an online program in Los Angeles that allows teachers to solicit donations to fund classroom projects.

Los Angeles Unified said its teachers -- as well as those for charter operators in Los Angeles -- have been encouraged to post up to two classroom projects, with a total value of $800, onto the website, DonorsChooseLA.org. Projects posted to the site include materials for a science lab, a replacement for an antiquated tape recorder, an iPad 2 and an easel ("This will 'easel'-y do the trick!" the teacher wrote in her post).

Through the contribution from the Wasserman Foundation, a Los Angeles-based philanthropic group focused on education, healthcare and cultural programs in the region, $15 gift cards will be distributed to the families of public school children in Los Angeles -- adding up to $2 million. The families can use the gift cards for the projects posted by their children's teachers. Another $2 million will be used to match the donations from others in the community, the foundation said.

L.A. Unified Supt. John Deasy said in a statement Monday that the contribution offers teachers a "desperately needed boost" during a cash-strapped time for public schools.

And Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said in a statement: “In these tough economic times, we need innovative, interactive partnerships like this that empower parents to get involved in their children’s education.”

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-- Rick Rojas

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