Each year, representatives of schools within the United States and throughout the world openly and gratefully receive monetary and material donations and gifts for the benefit of their students and the students’ education. With economic times being tougher, many schools have an increasing need and appreciation for any and all types of appropriate donations, grants, scholarships, and other support. One would think that whatever donations are made by people to schools would be accounted for and recognized, however this is not always the case.
In the last year, 2011, I made a large donation of material gifts-in-kind to a local school in the Greater Atlanta Area. My donation included many items that went directly to five teachers. Educational materials and items that I donated included a heavy-duty dry erase/chalk easal board, chalk, dry erase board cleaning solution, children’s books, many workbooks in various subjects for primary and middle school-aged students, many laminated educational posters, a globe, educationally-related hard cover books in history and literature, a model of a human heart, a plant cell model, a musical item, teacher grade books, and an audio tape series with an accompanying book.
Nearly all of the items were in perfect or excellent condition, and are estimated in value to be at least $650 or more. All of the items were those that I used in my own teaching – in educating my own son or instructing middle school students. Having not taught for several years and feeling that the school to which I donated them would find the materials useful, I was happy to generously-donate the items for the benefit of the students and teachers there. I also informed two clergy members, a school principal, and an upper administrator of the school system of my donation. Two of the four of them, at least, acknowledged my contributions. However, my donation was officially unaccounted for and unrecognized in the school’s Annual Report.
One must imagine my great disappointment and loss of faith in others in realizing that my donation was unaccounted for and unrecognized in the official yearly report of the school for 2012. While each teacher to whom I donated the items verbally expressesd their thankfulness, and while I informed several other spiritual and/or school leaders about my donation, one must wonder how such a large donation is unaccounted for and unrecognized.
Are such donations unvalued? Are they unimportant? How often does this occur? How could nine people know of the donations, yet no one account for them until I informed about the oversight? (As of December 24, 2012, I received an official letter accounting for my donations, however the letter is incorrect, identifying that the materials were received by the school in 2012, when I actually donated them to the school in 2011. I have since informed the appropriate people of the error.)
Admittedly, I had considered donating the items to other organizations and causes – or even trying to sell them, but I did not do that. The particular school to which I donated the items was my first choice, and I believed, my best choice. But, alas, as has also happened in the past when I made a donation to the school, it went officially unrecognized and unaccounted for. At least I was recognized during one particular year when I stated that I desired to be recognized anonymously, though this is, in fact, the second time that my donations have gone unrecognized and unaccounted for at the school. One would think that such a large donation of at least $650 worth of items from a struggling family that is not well off would be officially recognized and accounted for in the Annual Report.
I made a very special effort to donate all of the materials that I did to the particular school that received them. Items valued at $650 or more do not just appear out of nowhere and then become unaccounted for. There are many people out there, such as myself, for whom it is a hardship to purchase such items and/or make such a large donation. Take a moment and imagine if you made such a donation, and how you would feel if it was unaccounted for and unrecognized. Think of informing many people in leadership positions about the donation, but yet, it not even being identified within the school’s official annual fiscal report.
It is truly a great disappointment, and places a damper on any desire to make future donations. Particularly when such donations are officially unrecognized, overlooked, and unaccounted for by the very school leaders who seek them, one loses alot of hope in people that one’s donation was ever meaningful or valued. One questions the record-keeping and oversight of such donations to schools when situations such as this arise.
I initially felt wonderful about my generosity in donating so many educational items to teachers at the particular school. While I believe my donation was appreciated by them, it is very discouraging and disappointing that such a large donation of material gifts-in-kind was not officially recognized and accounted for. It is particularly discouraging as an individual who is not well off, and for whom it was a hardship to purchase the items, as well as to donate them, not to have been officially recognized – twice. While I support the school and the education that it provides students, such experiences make me reconsider making future donations of great substance or monetary amount.