Local Schools Could Get Money from U.S. Cellular

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Local Schools Could Get Money from U.S. Cellular

Posted: 04/15/2009
U.S. Cellular announced its new Calling All Teachers campaign that will funnel $1 million into classroom materials and educational experiences for students. Between now and Teacher Appreciation Week, May 4-8, 2009, the wireless company and its 9,000 associates are encouraging teachers to post requests on DonorsChoose.org, a philanthropic Web site that helps public school teachers find money for classroom projects that exceed their limited budgets. 
"We have the potential to help thousands of teachers who are already spending about $1,200 out of their own pockets every year on basic student supplies," said Karen Ehlers, vice president of public affairs and communications for U.S. Cellular. "We'll fund as many projects as $1 million allows so we're encouraging all public school teachers to submit their requests." 
Tennessee teachers have posted requests for projects on DonorsChoose that include colorful U.S. and world wall maps for $392, art supplies for $435 and a listening center and wireless headphones for $724.

U.S. Cellular has committed to helping schools in 2009-2010 through funding and volunteerism. It is estimated that Tennessee is facing approximately $12 million in budget cuts for K-12 education in 2009-2010.

U.S. Cellular associates are spreading word of the campaign to schools around Tennessee and will drop into classrooms during Teacher Appreciation Week to surprise selected teachers with the good news their project was funded. The program is open to all public school teachers in the markets where U.S. Cellular does business.
"Our success comes down to how well we can bring together teachers and donors," said Charles Best, founder and CEO of DonorsChoose.org. "When more teachers submit projects it's more likely there will be a connection with a donor, whether it's a person or a corporation, who says 'I want to help them out.'" 
This is the second time this year U.S. Cellular is putting up $1 million to help schools across the country. This new school-focused giving initiative comes on the heels of the company's 2009 Calling All Communities campaign that awarded $1 million to 10 schools, including two East Tennessee schools: Heritage High School in Maryville and Bearden High School in Knoxville.

Last year U.S. Cellular donated more than $4 million to schools, the United Way and non-profits serving its communities, and associates volunteered more than 10,000 hours. In 2008, the company donated more than $248,263 to non-profit organizations and volunteered 430 hours in Tennessee.

For more information about Calling All Teachers, visit www.uscellular.com/callingallteachers or your local U.S. Cellular store.

About U.S. Cellular

The 9,000 associates of U.S. Cellular believe a wireless phone enhances people's lives and a wireless company should be in the business of bringing people together. U.S. Cellular has a wide range of monthly plans, including those with unlimited nationwide calling, unlimited free incoming calls and options to prepay. The company has a growing catalog of phones like the BlackBerry Pearl and Curve, and the touch-screen Samsung Delve, which offer e-mail and Web access. Based in Chicago, U.S. Cellular is the nation's fifth-largest full-service wireless carrier, serving 6.2 million customers across the country. To learn more about the company visit one of its retail stores or www.uscellular.com

About Calling All Communities

U.S. Cellular's Calling All Communities is a grassroots campaign that awards $1 million to 10 schools across the country based solely on their ability to rally community votes. The schools that receive the most votes receive $100,000 each from U.S. Cellular. In 2009, more than 120,000 votes were cast for 6,500 schools across the country. Winners included public and private schools in Wisconsin, Illinois, Oklahoma, North Carolina, West Virginia, Tennessee, Nebraska and Iowa. Calling All Communities will launch again the Friday after Thanksgiving, giving 10 new schools a chance to mobilize their communities to become 2010 Calling All Communities champions. Visit www.uscellular.com/callingallcommunities for pictures and videos from the 2009 campaign.

About DonorsChoose.org

Founded in 2000, DonorsChoose.org is a nonprofit Website where public school teachers describe specific educational projects for their students, and donors can choose the projects they want to support. After completing a project, the donor hears back from the classroom they supported in the form of photographs and student thank-you letters. To date, 88,000 public and charter school teachers have used the site to secure funding for $30.3 million in books, art supplies, technology, and other resources that their students need to learn. Through DonorsChoose.org, individuals from all walks of life have helped 1.8 million students from low-income families.