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15 celebs who just stepped up big time for classrooms in need.

Hollywood heavyweights and others helped pour $14 million into school projects across the U.S.

15 celebs who just stepped up big time for classrooms in need.

Can we agree — if any one profession deserves a shout-out, it's teaching?

So many teachers go above and beyond to ensure future generations are the best and brightest. And too often, it's a thankless (and underpaid) job they get done with little resources at their disposal.

But now, the Internet has showed teachers it cares. And it used some star power to get the point across.


Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images.

Celebrities and everyday Internet people teamed up to pour as many dollars as possible into funding school projects across the U.S.

On March 10, 2016, Donors Choose — an online platform teachers can use to raise funds for important initiatives in their classrooms — kicked off #BestSchoolDay.

You could definitely say it was a success.


The fundraising site — which helps teachers request funding for things they want to do but that their school budgets can't afford, like diversify the options for children's books available to their students or get calculators for their high schoolers — got a major boost from 58 different celebrities, athletes, philanthropists, among others who helped make the day be actually the best school day ever.

They collectively donated an astonishing $14 million to various Donors Choose projects — enough to complete over half of all the projects on the platform, as Fast Company reported. Many of them decided to fund all the projects in a given city, county, or state especially close to their hearts.

"Suffice to say we’ve not done anything even fractionally at this scale ever before," Donors Choose CEO and founder Charles Best explained to the outlet. "It’s definitely the biggest day in our organization’s history, other than the day we went national about eight years ago."

So who were some of these well-known celebs throwing their support behind the teachers who could use it?

Here are just 13 of the 58 influencers who lent a helping hand...

1. Stephen Colbert

Colbert — a Donors Choose board member who helped get the effort off its feet — is the celebrity brainpower behind the initiative. He called #BestSchoolDay "probably the best thing I've ever been involved in" and shocked everyone last year by "flash funding" all the projects in his home state of South Carolina.

Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images.

"The reason they're doing it and the reason I did it is that I know the real heroes are the teachers who are too often themselves spending their own money for these projects," Colbert told CBS News. "And every dollar you give goes exactly to that project and you hear back from those kids."

And beyond Colbert, plenty of other familiar faces stepped up big time.

2. Gwyneth Paltrow

Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images.

What she's funding: all projects in her hometown of Santa Monica, California.

3. Carmelo Anthony

Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Nickelodeon.

What he's funding: all projects in his hometown, West Baltimore, Maryland.

4. Anna Kendrick

Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images.

What she's funding (alongside an anonymous donor): All projects in her home state of Maine.

5 & 6. Bill and Melinda Gates

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

What they're funding: All student-led initiatives from high-need schools.

7. Ashton Kutcher

Photo by Robert Prezioso/Getty Images.

What he's funding: All projects in his home state of Iowa. Watch Kutcher explain what was his #BestSchoolDay ever here.

8. Serena Williams

Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images for Burberry.

What she's funding: All projects in her hometown of Compton, California. Williams opened up about what day was her #BestSchoolDay, which you can watch here.

9. Russell Simmons

Photo by Joe Corrigan/Getty Images.

What he's funding: All projects in his hometown of Hollis, Queens, N.Y. Watch Simmons open up about his #BestSchoolDay here.

10. Samuel L. Jackson

Photo by Stuart Wilson/Getty Images for FitFlop Shooting Stars Benefit.

What he's funding: all projects in his hometown of Chattanooga, Tennessee. Jackson gave viewers the scoop on his #BestSchoolDay ever, which you can watch here.

11 & 12. Seth Rogen & Lauren Miller Rogen

Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images.

What they're funding: all projects in Sonoma County, California, where the couple live. They both had a #BestDayEver in school — watch them tell you all about it here.

13. Sheryl Sandberg

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

What she's funding: all projects across several counties in California. Sandberg took some time out of her busy schedule to describe her #BestSchoolDay ever — watch it here.

14. Yvette Nicole Brown

Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images.

What she's funding (alongside an anonymous donor): all projects in her hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. Brown dished on what her #BestSchoolDay ever was — check it out here.

15. Dwight Howard

Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images.

What he's funding: all pre-K through 2nd grade literacy initiatives in Houston, Texas, where he plays for the Houston Rockets. Howard spilled the beans on his #BestSchoolDay here.

You can check out (and will probably recognize) the other names on the list of supporters.

#BestSchoolDay wasn't exclusive to celebs either. Plenty of people (with less recognizable ways) chipped in, in huge ways, too, like Brad Feld — he's part of VC firm Foundry Group, and he backed all projects across Alaska, Detroit, and several cities in Colorado. (Bravo, Brad!)

You don't have to have a ton of money to help educators in need though.

Anyone can make a difference to teachers and students in need.

There are plenty of worthy projects on Donors Choose. Check it out for yourself.

Courtesy of Verizon
True

If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

via CNN / Twitter

Eviction seemed imminent for Dasha Kelly, 32, and her three young daughters Sharron, 8; Kia, 6; and Imani, 5, on Monday. The eviction moratorium expired over the weekend and it looked like there was no way for them to avoid becoming homeless.

The former Las Vegas card dealer lost her job due to casino closures during the pandemic and needed $2,000 to cover her back rent. The mother of three couldn't bear the thought of being put out of her apartment with three children in the scorching Nevada desert.

"I had no idea what we were going to do," Kelly said, according to KOAT.

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