- How a small but determined group of people funded over $48,000 in classroom projects just $5 at a time.
Want proof that social media isn’t all bad? That, in fact, it still has the capacity to do big and wonderful things? Five years ago, a couple of moms wanted to do something to help out the schools in their community. There were so many classroom needs across North Alabama, and it was hard to imagine being able to make a dent in the sheer amount of teacher requests. Inspired by a group she saw on social media, Ashley DeHaye thought something similar could work here in Huntsville. With a few keystrokes, she founded the $5 Fridays for North Alabama Schools group on Facebook, along with Stephenie Walker. Neither woman had any idea it would still be going strong in 2022, only now they are joined by 543 other group members!
How $5 Fridays Works
The key to this passionate group depends on two things: strength in numbers and a weekly commitment. $5 Fridays is a microgiving endeavor – it only works when everyone in the group shows up on Friday morning to see which classroom project they will support that week.
Projects are selected using the website DonorsChoose, a US nonprofit organization that allows individuals to donate directly to public school classroom projects. The organization has been given Charity Navigator’s highest rating every year since 2005, and they make it easy for teachers to request and receive materials and supplies raised. DonorsChoose also works hard to find the best prices for what the teachers need. Group members of FFNAS can see exactly where their donation goes and how it is spent. Plus – it’s all tax deductible!
Projects Funded by $5 Fridays for North Alabama Schools
Since 2017, over 80 local public school projects have been completed by the group, totaling up to over $48,000… all just $5 at a time. That’s a huge impact, and it all came from everyday people right here in Huntsville.
Some of the projects include:
– A kindergarten classroom library at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary in Huntsville
– A K’NEX Architecture kit for Calculus students at Albertville High School
– Playground equipment for preschoolers at Rainbow Elementary Pre-K in Madison
– Sensory furniture for students with autism at James Dawson Elementary in Huntsville
– Modeling clay and art supplies for middle schoolers at New Hope Elementary
– New biology lab equipment at Sardis High in Boaz
– Picture books for 1st Graders at Mill Creek Elementary in Madison
– A classroom subscription to Scholastic News magazine for 6th graders at Whiteburg Elementary
– A set of novels in Spanish for foreign language students at Jemison High in Huntsville
– Filaments for CAD projects at Discovery Middle School’s STEM Lab
– A playground shade at New Market Elementary School
– Math manipulatives for students at Walnut Grove Elementary
Want to Join Us?
Anyone can join the group, and there are even several teachers who have had their projects funded in the past become members so they can pass on the joy.
This group inspires me weekly! As a local teacher who has benefited from the generosity of this group, I am continually humbled at the outpouring of support from our community for teachers and their students. It is common knowledge that teachers spend hundreds of dollars out of their own pockets to buy items for their students and classroom. It makes me feel so supported knowing that people are willing to invest in my classroom. It’s amazing how when we come together, $5 can go a LONG way! I love logging on each Friday to contribute too. My $5 seems small by itself, but when teaming up with others it makes a huge difference.
I am always looking for creative ways to engage my students and get them excited about learning. Many of my out of the box lessons require extra materials. These lessons would not be possible without the help of DonorsChoose and the $5 Friday crew. I am so thankful!
Thank you for facilitating this group. So thankful! – Kimberly Harper, teacher
If you are someone that would like to support area schools in a fun way each week, you are invited to join $5 Fridays for North Alabama Schools. It’s a great way to be uplifting and to do big things in small ways for our teachers, schools, and students right here in Huntsville and Madison County.
The next project starts bright and early on Friday morning! A nice side effect is it makes you feel GREAT all weekend.
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