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Foundation's donation for L.A. schools stirs a conversation online

November 27, 2011 |  8:13 am

A $4-million donation this month to the education website DonorsChoose.org by the Wasserman Foundation certainly captured the attention of teachers and local officials. As The Times reported Sunday, many in Los Angeles' education community see the money as much-needed aid for students at a time of steep budget cuts. 

Another group chimed in as well: A number of prominent athletes, including former Lakers star Magic Johnson and cyclist Lance Armstrong, hopped onto Twitter to give a shout-out to sports entrepreneur Casey Wasserman — whose family's foundation made the donation — and encouraged their followers to contribute.

The Wasserman donation is the largest of its kind to DonorsChoose, which allows teachers to solicit money for classroom projects. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation also has donated $4 million to the website but it was to be used nationwide, while the Wasserman gift is just for Los Angeles schools.

Half of the Wasserman money will be used to give a $15 gift card to each family with a child in L.A. schools. The families can use the cards to donate to classroom projects posted on DonorsChoose.

But some Twitter users said the $4 million, which pales in comparison to the L.A. school system's multibillion-dollar annual budget, won't be enough to rectify the damage done by years of cuts to educational spending.

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— Rick Rojas

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