Donors Choose Wrap Up

It's December 1st. November sure went by fast. And so the annual AVC Donors Choose campaign is over. And the results are in:

DC results 2010

We raised $22,400 for classrooms where young women learn science and technology. But because of the HP Match, that will actually be $45k.

More importantly we will impact the lives of 8,543 young women (actually way more because of HP). That's a lot of young women. Maybe one of them will go on to start an important tech company. Maybe one of them will go on to teach other young women. Maybe one of them will go on to get a nobel prize. Whatever happens to these young women, I am incredibly proud of this community's generosity. Thank you.

#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. David Noël

    Huge! Kudos to everybody who contributed.(small typo in “actually”)

    1. fredwilson

      thanks for the copy editing. will fix asap.

  2. kirklove

    Very cool. Hope to make the meetup.Does that mean I’ll get founder stock on any start ups that result? Sweet! 😉

  3. William Mougayar

    DC has nailed this process, and this wouldn’t be possible without the power of the Internet…and Fred’s some extent :)Imagine if this were done so effectively on a global scale, I think the impact would be even greater.

    1. awaldstein

      I think that idea of finding ’causes’ that connect with your communities and customers on this level is a growing direction. And a great one.I’ve encouraged my clients, especially on Facebook, to find connections with their fans that are more than just the product they sell or the value they offer. Seems to be working on a number of levels.

  4. Mark Essel

    It’s a tight year at the Essel household, but I couldn’t resist costing HP a few more bucks. Buzzer beater donations ftw. Thanks for setting this up Fred, and kicking up our generosity levels this time of year.A few kids in school are going to play with the next Apple gadget before I hope a few male students will benefit from the program despite it’s focus.

    1. Harry DeMott

      PPS: They will – when they are employed by the women whose lives are touched by this!

      1. Donna Brewington White

        …or have one of these women as a mother…or wife.

        1. Tereza

          or daughter!

    2. Tereza

      I think boys will definitely benefit. When boys know something is important/interesting to girls, that makes it more interesting, doesn’t it?And remember, geek girls like geek boys. 🙂

      1. Dave Pinsen

        Since I’ve got this comment space open anyway, this is what first came to mind when I read your comment:

        1. Tereza

          So….what do we do to help boys?

          1. Kelley Boyd @msksboyd

            That is an interesting comment. As you know I am working with Women 2.0 and figuring out a model. The demographic for the incubator is 50% men / 50% women, 5 weeks, after work (very XXC) and a chance to present to potential investors. Founder Lab goals are idea validation and team building. All that to say, I attended the final days of the Lab in SFO a few weeks ago and one of the guys said, out loud, “I wish we had something like this for guys”. Of course I was surprised, since he was in the lab…I guess the name threw him, but as the mom of a boy I know that support for people struggling to figure out a model that works to build a career on is important. No matter your gender, or your age…When are we going to catch up?

          2. Tereza

            Really interesting.It’s like that classic business experiment where they came in and tested all these variables (lighting, location of desks, etc.) and productivity shot up and they couldn’t figure out why, and then realized it was because these people were being paid *attention* to. We perform when someone’s paying attention, and we want their approval and care what they think of us.There are those that argue that ‘they need to just step up to the plate’ and dismiss that need as childish. But I think, as in the school system, we wind up “leaking” a lot of potential talent. And that’s a shame for the individuals, and a shame for the macro — because we need their talent.But I think we’re wired to need attention. When we get it, we feel good about ourselves. And if we don’t get it, whether we want to admit it or not, we feel hurt (it may be a 1000 cuts kind of hurt, but it’s still a hurt)And I think it’s clear that men/boys need + want attention too. I understand. They deserve it. They need to know they matter.So sorry to go psychobabble on all ya but this is all stuff that we read all the time in the parenting books, etc. But so many systems (edu, startups) are just not configured to motivate the right behavior. They make totally uncompelling games!And I’ve said this before but none of this dialog would have gone anywhere if a whole lot of men hadn’t engaged in it. So the same way that dads with daughters can help us bridge the unbridgeable, maybe so too can moms with sons.Ideally, what we want all good minds to be doing great things. Not girl minds or boy minds. Minds.

          3. Matt A. Myers

            Makes me think of 40:1 ratios of students to teacher some schools have here; Even 20:1 is too high in my opinion though, and it certainly isn’t that we have shortage of teachers in Canada to do this.

          4. ShanaC

            I don’t think it is just teaching ratios. I’ve seen successful classrooms with 30:1, and there are equally unsuccessful classrooms at 16:1. It’s largely how you handle kids. I think a good start is teaching them that you respect them, and they should respect you and themselves.

          5. Matt A. Myers

            Fair enough. I’ll have to take your word on that as my schooling experience and perception of the environment would have been a bit different than everyone else.I can say though that boys very much weren’t engaged in any of my English classes, except for creative writing. Maybe it was Shakespeare.. or maybe it was just the boys hadn’t experienced what Shakespeare was talking about so didn’t have a reference..

          6. Donna Brewington White

            “As you know I am working with Women 2.0 and figuring out a model.”That’s great, Kelley.

        2. Donna Brewington White

          Where on earth do you find these things…that’s what I want to know!

          1. Dave Pinsen

            That band’s Good Charlotte — they were in pretty heavy rotation on rock stations a few years ago. Tereza’s comment reminded me of that song. This was my favorite song by them though, East Coast Anthem.

          2. Donna Brewington White

            Thanks for the share, Dave. I actually listened to the whole thing!I never cease to be educated and enriched by this community. 😉

          3. jarid

            Or as Chris Rock once called them, “Mediocre Green Day”. 🙂

          4. fredwilson

            one man’s mediocre is another’s perfection

          5. Dave Pinsen

            Can’t say I’m a huge fan of either band, but East Coast Anthem is a catchy tune.

          6. jarid

            East Coast Anthem sounds like a good name for the theme song for Fred’s blog.

          7. Dave Pinsen

            Funny, though “Unpretentious Green Day” might work too.

        3. Tereza

          Yeah I seem to have that effect on people.

      2. ShanaC

        Hehe geek girls and geek boys- so cute.

    3. Donna Brewington White

      Some of the programs also included boys as far as I could tell. But, I’d like to think that the overall good created by these programs will benefit males in one way or another. Besides, girls tend to share. (Yeah, yeah, I know…a generalization.)Mark, you sweetie, you doled out donations like you dole out “likes.”

  5. Harry DeMott

    Congrats! Great job and a great cause.

  6. awaldstein

    I’m glad to participate in this for a second year.Does good. Makes me feel good. Connects me to my local community and to AVC in a more personal way.Attempting to make the Meet-Up next week as well.

  7. Tereza

    That’s terrific! YAY AVC!It’s really interesting to see the giving pattern evolve over the years as well.The first two years, fewer donors, ~$200 per person. Next two, roughly double the donors but lower per person. But the social proof (and your rep) set it up so corporate sponsorship could take that validation and use it to support their own marketing message.

  8. William Mougayar

    Has anyone checked Jumo? I was impressed by how easy you can build a page to follow your “causes”, but they are missing the transaction and project inventory pieces, which DC has done so well.

    1. Matt A. Myers

      I haven’t had time to fit it in for a thorough lookover, but I’ll see if I feel the same as you.I’m not sure what you’re referring to with DC either?

      1. William Mougayar

        DC = Donors Choose

  9. andyswan

    Nice work! I bet 2011 numbers will be 2x if you can get the recipient teachers and students to post a video specifically to the AVC community at the end of the year about exactly what the donations helped them achieve.

    1. Tereza

      I’d like that too.

    2. fredwilson

      good idea

  10. Dave Pinsen

    Maybe next year’s challenge can focus on boys — or at least be gender neutral? See Christina Hoff Summers: “American boys across the ability spectrum and in all age groups have become second-class citizens in the nation’s schools.” Excerpt:Boys are falling behind girls in our nation’s schools. Fewer boys graduate from high school, and boys are less likely to attend college. One education expert has quipped that if current trends continue, the last male will graduate from college in 2068. A recent story in the New York Times carried more bad news for boys. A significant gender gap favoring girls has arisen inside New York City’s gifted and talented programs. According to the article, “Around the city, the current crop of gifted kindergartners…is 56 percent girls, and in the 2008-9 year, 55 percent were girls.” In some of the most elite programs, almost three-fifths of the prodigies are girls. Could it be that girls are simply smarter than boys?In fact, males and females appear equally intelligent, on average. But on standardized intelligence tests, more males than females get off-the-chart test scores—in both directions. The greater variance of males on intelligence tests is one of the best-established findings in psychometric literature. More males are mentally deficient, and more are freakishly brilliant. The difference in variation isn’t huge, but it is large enough and consistent enough that a fair selection process should produce more boys than girls in a gifted and talented program.

    1. karen_e

      Regarding the first part of your comment, about boys falling behind: As a mother of a boy baby, I tune into this type of literature more than I used to. I particularly pay attention to the studies that say boys do better in school where recess is still long and hasn’t been cut by budgets. I never thought I’d be eyeing all-boys schools like Belmont Hill in my neck of the woods, but I am. The point about a few freakishly brilliant males isn’t what gets me, it’s the extremely prudish and controlled behavior that is expected in schools nowadays — it just doesn’t work for boys and encourages yet more of the ADD type behavior which in turn causes them to be labeled as behaviorally deficient and bad students. To me it’s about physicality. If you go back to the Eton/Harrow model of soldiering being part of schooling (where’s JLM?), it resonates. Fit in mind, body, spirit, that sort of thing. And a recent issue of Monocle found Tyler Brule waxing poetic about the excellent work habits of northern Europeans, who still have required military service in their youth. To me these are the dots worth connecting.

      1. Dave Pinsen

        I don’t think it’s just the Northern Europeans who have required military service — David Semeria mentioned here recently (in a comment to JLM, I think) that he was supposed to serve a period of enlistment in the Italian Navy, which he managed to weasel his way out of.

        1. David Semeria

          Dave Pinsen – the memory man !Well done. It’s true I was supposed to do navy military service in Italy, but that was (well over) 20 years ago, it’s now been abolished here too. As far as I know, none of the EU countries now have it as mandatory.I doubt if it would have made any difference academically – the die is pretty much cast when you’re 18 or so, but I do sometimes regret not doing it.More than anything it would have been good to just unlpug for a year, get fit, learn to sail, and charm the girls with my all-white sailing uniform!

          1. Dave Pinsen

            Thanks for the correction.Back to Karen’s comment about Tyler Brûlé, from his columns in the FT at least (I browse Monocle occasionally at Barnes & Noble) he seems more admiring of the craftsmanship of Northern European workers. That may have more to do with a healthy emphasis on vocational ed and apprenticeships in those countries, rather than military service.

      2. RichardF

        I think for boys it comes down to maturity Karen, generally boys are less mature than girls through school. At least that’s what my wife tells me and she teaches in a mixed boarding school (set up in memory Gordon of Khartoum)Many of the ‘public’ schools (which doesn’t mean state in the UK), like Eton and Harrow in the UK have CCF (Combined Cadet Force) including the school my wife teaches at. I sometimes teach shooting there and have observed that the children (boys in particular) do benefit from the self-discipline that is instilled through the CCF.Having said that there is a particular ethos that this type of school usually has that tends to create children that are more self-disciplined and independent than the average. I’d say it was the sum of parts rather than just the military aspect.This type of education is not the usual secondary education provided by the state in the UK and they charge hefty fees.

      3. Donna Brewington White

        There truly is something to the need for physicality and we have to fight for this — or at least find environments for our sons that understand this.

    2. andyswan

      Shhhh, we’re trying to eliminate all differences here. After all, our ultimate destiny is to be cogs in the Utopian machine!

      1. Tereza

        Haha real cute Andy. I know that was tongue in cheek but it nonetheless invites me to say a few clarifying points on the record…..1. I’m one of the biggest proponents there is here about helping girls out. I am NOT a socialist (!) in fact rabidly anti-. My parents freaking risked their lives to escape it, uncle in labor camp, the whole deal. That’s never been what this is about, although i know you know that.2. Boys need help. Girls need help. There needs are different and they probably need different solutions. We need to do both.3. We can’t do everything in a single fundraiser. If next year were boys, I would happily support it.4. I’m one of Dave’s biggest fans. So when he challenges us to think about boys, and backs it up with great data, I say, Grrrreat! It’s an excellent discussion he’s put out there. And lest anyone think he’s anti-girls/women, that couldn’t be further from the truth. He’s been off-the-charts supportive in comments to me publicly and privately about my driving a women’s entrepreneurship agenda.Plus I happen to know that he’s both a manly man AND loves show tunes. True! YES ANDY — it IS possible to be both!:-)

        1. Dave Pinsen

          I’ve been supportive of your XX combinator idea not because I think women in America need more of an economic tailwind (I don’t; see, for example, this post from my old blog on The Lipstick Economy), but because I’m a supporter of you, and I think you’d have better odds of success running a combinator-type of seed stage investing firm than a start-up. That’s not meant as a knock on your start-up at all — it’s just that any start-up is analogous to a single-shot rifle, and your XX combinator would be like having a semi-auto rifle with a 30 round clip: more rounds, easier to load, easier to fire, better odds of hitting targets.There would be other advantages to starting your combinator. Even a women-run start-up is going to be judged by investors primarily on its business merits, but a women-oriented combinator could attract agenda capital from institutions and high net worth individuals looking to demonstrate their pro-women bona fides.

          1. Tereza

            I get it — single shot, versus portfolio. Nonetheless I think it’s pretty damn hard to raise money for a fund right now if, like me, you don’t have a track record — no matter what gender. I know of women w track records who couldn’t despite 24-mos of significant pounding. I don’t think in practice that ‘agenda capital’ is as freely available as it sounds.

          2. Dave Pinsen

            Not by yourself. You’d need to build a team, including some folks with complementary experience (e.g., maybe a corporate exec with experience in making small acquisitions; an experienced angel investor, someone with experience running an SME, etc.). But you wouldn’t need to cold call to put this team together — the potential team members are already in your network.

          3. Dave Pinsen

            Remembered this article from the FT this week after thinking about our convo here, “Lessons from a serial outsider”. Excerpt:As a speaker at entrepreneurship conferences and as CEO of ICE, [Jeff Sprecher] is approached by entrepreneurs for advice on raising funds. He always asks if their proposal could become a big business. “If so, I can show you how to raise the money quite easily. If you just are trying to raise $50,000 … it’s very difficult.”

          4. Donna Brewington White

            What a wonderful vote of confidence, Dave.So you like show tunes, eh?

          5. Dave Pinsen

            A vote of confidence from me and a couple dollars and she can buy herself a cup of coffee.Not exactly sure how that came into play, but sure, I like some songs from musicals. Not what I typically listen to in the car, but if we see a musical and like it, we’ll usually pick up the music. As with most genres though, Sturgeon’s Law tends to apply (i.e., “90% of everything is crap”).

          6. Tereza

            Dave I was just yankin’ your chain on that one.

    3. ShanaC

      I’m actually worried for the same reason. I actually think separate sex schooling can be hugely beneficial in this context, as long as you don’t fall into gender stereotypes within the teaching process. (The reason I say this is as follows -most people I grew up with has a choice with school -a coed school, or single sex in either direction, for religious reasons. Even though all the schools had high achievement, I got the feeling that gender notions were more enforced in the single sex schools -so while women did a little better overall in the sciences in the single sex school and men were “more behaved” and on target for the men’s school, the women as a whole were more interested in family life and seem to lag in that regard.)

    4. CJ

      In my non-scientific opinion as a parent, I’ve noticed that female teachers outnumber men greatly in elementary school. I don’t know if it’s related or not, just an observation I’ve picked up on.

      1. Dave Pinsen

        I love how you qualified your observation of something everyone is aware of (the preponderance of female teachers in elementary school), but that probably is related.

        1. CJ

          I thought it was common knowledge but I’ve made errors before assuming that common sense is common. :-PBack to the subject though I think it probably relates to more fatherless households as well. I’m sure there is a correlation there where young boys have a dearth of responsible male role models and it’s affecting them in unpredictable ways, which would account for increased discipline issues passed off as ADD/ADHD or resulting in less ‘tuned-in’ male students. Again, my non-scientific observations as a parent. 😀

      2. Donna Brewington White

        This has been the case as far back as I can remember so I do wonder how much bearing it has on the current situation as described in the article Dave shared.I don’t want to completely dismiss the implications you hint at, but I have to think there are other explanations — which you touched on to some extent in your later comment.

    5. Donna Brewington White

      On the heels of the XX Combinator related discussions, I thought it quite appropriate that this year’s “challenge” was aimed toward what has been proposed as one of the core reasons for the lack of female tech entrepreneurs.However, as the mother of three boys (and one girl), I for one could certainly get excited about supporting programs for boys — for many, many reasons — some of which have been identified by the responses to your comment. In fact, one of the programs to which I contributed showed a photo of all boys and another seemed geared toward both girls and boys.I do find it interesting that my daughter is the best student among our kids even though in my estimation no more intelligent than her brothers. There are too many potential contributing factors and too small a sample to make too much of this situation, but to Richard’s point, below, I will say that she has been more mature at each age than her brothers at that same age.Yet, I don’t know that being the best student will mean that she has brighter career prospects…in part due to something interesting that I’ve discovered: I’ve had the idea that I want my kids to sit down and talk with people from different professions and business situations — particularly those of interest to them, and while I seem to have an abundance of men to choose from as role models for my high school son, the range is much more limited for my daughter as she approaches this stage (and at this age, the gender of the role model is important).

      1. Dave Pinsen

        My guesses as to why there are fewer female tech entrepreneurs: – Relatively fewer women are interested in tech. – Women tend to be more risk-averse than men (perhaps due to their lower levels of testosterone).I’m not sure how charitable efforts are supposed to encourage more women to be tech entrepreneurs, or why it’s important to do so. Seems better to let women (and men, for that matter) pursue what interests them.

        1. Tereza

          there are countries where women do go significantly further in tech. i’m east european, remember. and in finland (or was it iceland?) the girls are better at the ‘hard subjects’. there is a huge amount of culture. the us has, in the past, been particularly ‘un-cool’ for girls to excel in stem. i’ve seen this straight on with my relatives in other countries.a non-gender observation but going back as far as the 70’s my dad, who was an accomplished engineer and mathematician (actually, world-class) was always shocked at the simplicity of the work i was bringing home. he was like….wow….that really sucks. he’d say that non-stem people there were better at stem then stem people the disparity between countries has come as no shock to me, only surprised how long it took for us to catch on.and i’ve always been irked by a personal sense of possibility which wasn’t pursued, since after all, i am half-made of his dna.

  11. JimHirshfield

    Very cool! Don’t think I can make the meetup – have fun tho. BTW, did someone actually donate $1?

  12. finance

    I know its very important to encourage women in science, but my guess is the heavy lifting is already done. last year my eldest goddaughter participated in the Montreal finals for the Science fair. The winners list was incredible.20 prizes were awarded, the balance was 1:20, yes there were 19 women and on man! I know that law and medical schools have been “overtaken” by women, next is science. My guess is that within the next five years it will be special prizes for “boys only” that will be awarded.Afterwards I spoke to the organizer, the shift has occurred in the past 5 years. Until the mid 2000 men dominated, but about 30% were women. Since 2005, the balance has completely changed. Moreover, not only is it winners that are mostly women, women have a much higher participation rate. Of course that is here in Montreal, don’t know what the atmosphere is like elsewhere. Finally, the translation into engineering school enrollment has not yet occured.

    1. ShanaC

      Quick question -was it biology or physics. Biology seems to have way more females in it, whereas physics or math just don’t. I have no idea why that is.

      1. Dave Pinsen

        Physics and math require more math than biology does, and there tend to be relatively fewer women at the far right tail of the bell curve when it comes to math ability. For example, no woman has ever won the Fields Medal, which is arguably the most prestigious prize in mathematics.

  13. bijan

    so great that you did this every year. happy to play a tiny part.

  14. daryn

    Congrats on another great year, and props to everyone who contributed. Wish I could make the meetup!

  15. scottythebody

    Awesome! Wish I could make the meetup. Congrats to all.

  16. Andrew Greene

    Are people talking about the meetup tonight or the meetup next week?

    1. Donna Brewington White

      Next week, the 8th.

  17. paramendra

    Good job. This is important. Talking like a pro.

  18. Niko.

    I have a COMPLETELY unrelated question to ask anyone and everyone… I’ve read this blog for some time. I’m a former entrepreneur (current evil federal lawyer) from a family of entrepreneurs. My Mother is plurality partner of a healthcare finance company that performs clinical audit and consulting, and has just made their first installation of a new software product at a major health insurance company. The software has huge potential as a per-seat + percent of transaction data-mining and analytics product. It has only peripheral competitors and seems from the outside to be a very attractive product that can be pitched as “we only take a percentage of money you wouldn’t have made without the product”. They were funded entirely by the founders, and have existed for five years.This past year, her company made the top 1000 on Inc.’s 5000 list. Lots of M&A companies that I’ve never heard of are calling her incessantly. A company funded by Oak Investment Partners is sniffing around for a potential merger. She is 65 and looking to take some off the table, but wants to stay working for a little while longer while hopefully setting up her retirement.I realize that this is an irritating question that is well-covered in general, but I thought I might get some specific guidance from you folks, since I’ve been out of tech and finance for about six years, and this seems like a very supportive and helpful community…I’ve given her a list of about 15 good VC companies that have a history in software and healthcare (all of them would be familiar to this group), and I’ve advised her and her partners to call around and see what the interest is for an exploratory meeting and demo. They are profitable and growing at about 80-100% per annum, and look likely to grow at that rate for the next three years or so at least.Their expertise is as clinical financial specialists… RNs, MDs, CPAs, medicoders. Very easily the most experienced and respected firm and staff in the healthcare finance industry. They have a programmer staff, and they are great at what they do. They are NOT techies, but my sense is that they will do far better in the end positioning themselves as a software company that differentiates itself via deep healthcare clinical expertise.I would LOVE and APPRECIATE any and all advice about VC companies or searches they ought to be doing. Having worked in M&A as a lawyer, I am knee-jerk leery about M&A advisory firms, and their inherent conflict of interest with their clients. This company is nicely profitable, but they are shoveling much of the profits into growth, as they should. They would like to work with a VC firm who they could view as a partner. They would like to take some money off the table, but maintain a strong founders interest, while they grow towards a merger or IPO. I would image the exit transaction to be 3-5 years, but of course you can never tell… any sage advice is very appreciated.

    1. Dave Pinsen

      You say the company is nicely profitable and growing organically, so it doesn’t sound like they really need a big outside investment at the moment. If the main issue is that the founders want to take some money off the table, would an ESOP (or a LESOP) work? Or what about trying to sell some of their shares via Second Market?

      1. Niko.

        Excellent ideas. An ESOP may be just the thing. An additional interest is to partner with a well-connected tech deal-maker to position for an exit merger with a larger firm… an SAP, Oracle, IBM, or pure analytics firm.I’ll look into the ESOP. Really appreciate the idea. Thanks.

  19. Donna Brewington White

    This is fantastic, Fred! Thank you for bringing this to our attention and providing the opportunity. Certainly your influence provided inspiration.Giving is gratifying in itself, but something about giving as part of a community raises the satisfaction level and giving with a theme inspires a greater sense of purpose.

  20. katherine heigl dresses

    Thanks rannie for ur observation. I also noticed it..they are too clean and tidy.,,hahaha. BTW, amazing works, right?

  21. daryn

    I just gave to another project last night, then received the HP Match this morning and was able to go back and complete their goal!Thanks Fred, HP, and Donors Choose!

    1. fredwilson

      that HP match is such a great thing