J. Crew is selling t-shirts in support of Teach For America, Inc.
For the past few years, Teach For America and J. Crew have had a partnership in which shoppers could come in and use a friends and family discount with some of the proceeds benefiting Teach For America, Inc. And, they aren't the only corporate cause (see here for the Minted sponsorship).
What do I think? As a Teach For America alumna?
Well, I think that Teach For America works relentlessly to move toward its goals. One of those goals has been an expansion of the corps to impact more underrepresented students in under-served communities. As most non-profit leaders will tell you, that takes money. So, no. I'm not gonna hate on Teach For America for building corporate sponsorships to strengthen its finances. Nor am I gonna hate on Teach For America for its effort to market itself as hip, cool, and the thing to do among recent and prospective college graduates. The teaching profession needs electricity and enthusiasm.
But what goes through my mind seeing the J. Crew model sporting a Teach For America t-shirt for purchase is: why didn't that person just give to Teach For America directly? Or, they could have bought a t-shirt directly form Teach For America at the online store (and it may even be cheaper).
Better yet, to have a direct impact, a person could go to the donorschoose.org site, filter through the projects, and select a Teach For America corps member classroom (or, hey, ANY project cause any of these teachers' students deserve it) to which a donation would be greatly appreciated. I have been on the receiving end of someone donating to my classroom. As thanks, the donor got pictures of my students using the materials, and my students got days on end of playing bean-bag math and reading in our softly lit corner. I call that having an impact!