TrueGift Donations was a direct to teachers charity with these goals:
The charity ran through most of the 1990s and into the early 2000s. It was the
jointly founded by three brothers: Charles Merriam, Marshal Merriam, and Hugh Merriam.
During its tenure, it provided thousands of dollars worth of pencils, crayons, paper,
and the like to hundreds of schools in the United States. Fundraising was primarily
just the founders adding money and all contributers of work were unpaid. It closed
down once the founders felt the goals had
- Make public schools a valid charity target.
- Provide basic school supplies for more efficient teaching.
- Create a model that would be copied by others.
We count it as a succesful venture. We know we had discussions with many venture firms,
some television coverage, formented pleas to parents, and had discussions with budding
ventures like Donor's Choose. We will never know how much of our success was effort and
how much was fortunate timing.
TrueGift Donations has wrapped up, given its assets to other educational charities,
and abandoned its 501c(3) status.
We hope that we all continue to value education.
- Public schools across the country were actively soliciting donations from their
local parents to directly improve education. People giving gifts or bequests to public
schools became commonplace.
- California passed legislation creating some minimum funds for school supplies.
Previously, school supply money was a local discretion after negotiations with the teachers'
union and payments for admistrative programs. New legislation assured some basic
supplies so that money spent on teachers and programs could have an effect.
- Numerous direct to school charities arose, such as Donor's Choose and eScript.