Michael Edlen Supports DonorsChoose.org

By Michael Edlen
Special to the Palisades News

By directing a portion of the commissions he receives from his real estate transactions, Michael Edlen of Coldwell Banker has become one of the largest contributors to DonorsChoose.org, averaging more than $35,000 a year.

Founded in 2000 by a high school teacher in the Bronx, DonorsChoose.org empowers public school teachers from across the country to request much-needed materials and experiences for their students. 

“One of the aspects I like about DonorsChoose is that people can contribute as much as they want and can set up an account that facilitates the entire process,” Edlen said. “The platform makes it easy to sort through many thousands of teacher proposals quite quickly (you can seek specific categories, grade levels, degrees of need, etc).

“Even better, the nonprofit enables messages from donor to classroom, and provides a conduit for students to write thank-you notes that get forwarded to the donor. (I think it’s a wonderful lesson to learn to express gratitude as young as possible.)”

Edlen also noted that DonorsChoose “has numerous foundations supporting its fundraising with matching funds, so many contributions yield twice the benefit.”

He recently received a letter from Andie Safon at DonorsChoose, who wrote in part: “To think that in three years your impact has spanned across 37 states, reaching over 300 schools and impacting over 24,000 students’ lives through your generosity, I can’t help but smile a thousand times myself. A few more noteworthy stats that I want to share with you:

• Overall, you’ve supported 348 teachers bring 354 projects to life.

• You’ve focused most of your giving towards younger students who are just start- ing out, and by focusing your giving on those students who have the greatest economic need, you’ve ensured that they’re set up for success in the future by having access to resources they otherwise might not have.

• By choosing to support projects requesting not only books, but also hygiene products and food for students to eat in the classroom, you’ve helped them feel confident, warm, and prepared for the days ahead with food in their bellies.

• By often being the one to complete a project request, you’ve made hundreds of teacher’s days when they learn that they’ll receive the materials they need,” Safon wrote.

Edlen told the News that for nearly 30 years,“I have been committed to giving back to the community and beyond. We have contributed close to $1.5 million, much of it focused on local organizations and programs. We are glad to receive charitable requests made by clients who either buy or sell property using our team. Otherwise, I direct a portion of income to various organizations we love to support, especially DonorsChoose.”

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