Students benefit from program that encourages donations for classroom materials

Posted: Nov. 28, 2012 10:54 am Updated: Dec. 12, 2012 3:15 pm

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

Twenty-eight public school teachers in Adams County and Marion County, Mo., received donations totaling $13,406 during the past year to finance 37 classroom projects through a program co-sponsored by Horace Mann and

Horace Mann -- an insurance company -- is a national sponsor of, a nonprofit organization that tries to connect donors with teachers' requests for school supplies and equipment

Teachers can establish a donation fund through the website and request funding for a specific project. Horace Mann will then match up to $100 for properly coded projects posted on the site.

Paula Epker, a teacher at Hannibal Middle School in Marion County, raised more than $1,800 through to finance three classroom projects that teach students about financial literacy.

Epker has been making use of since 2009 as a way to raise money for classroom projects. She said the financial literacy projects are important because they teach students how money works.

"A dollar doesn't go far, but with some sound advice, it can be stretched," Epker said in a press release issued by Horace Mann. "It's important to start teaching students about finances early."

The online donation program is open to school teachers, nurses and guidance counselors looking for a way to generate funds for projects that benefit students.

Colin Ash, who manages Horace Mann's Quincy office, said Horace Mann's latest round of matching donations through started Oct. 1. The company has pledged to provided up to $250,000 in funding this year.

Donors can trigger a match of up to $100 for a qualifying project by typing in a code -- HoraceMann12 -- at checkout when making an online donation. However, gift cards and corporate donations will not be matched.

Since its founding in 2000, has helped nearly 160,000 teachers secure $71 million in funding for school materials benefiting more than 5 million students, the press release said.