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‘Abbott Elementary’ Makes Real-World Impact with $1M DonorsChoose Fund

Last Updated: July 1, 2023
Quinta Brunson’s Emmy Award-winning show and its creators have teamed with Donors Choose to create a dedicated fund for public school teachers.

Teachers are the real MVPs, and Qunita Brunson knows it, too.

The 32-year-old’s brainchild and rising hit show Abbott Elementary highlights the trials and tribulations of the lives of public school teachers, which deservingly picked up three Emmy Awards including Outstanding Casting For A Comedy Series, Outstanding Casting For A Comedy Series (Sheryl Lee Ralph), and Outstanding Writing For A Comedy Series.

Now, it’s looking to use its success to make the lives of real-life teachers a little bit easier. Inspired by the show, nonprofit crowdsourcing platform, DonorsChoose, will match up to $500,000 in individual donations to contribute $1 million to public school teachers across the country, as reported exclusively by Variety.

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DonorsChoose allows teachers to list specific classroom needs to solicit direct donations to crowdsource supplies. Since launching in 2000 by a former teacher, the platform has enlisted over 5.6 million supporters who collectively funded 2.5 million projects.

The partnership Is only the most recent for Abbot Elementary, which has a lengthy track record of strategic partnerships with a direct impact on public school educators. The show previously paired with Scholastic to throw book fairs at underfunded schools. It also linked with S’Well water bottles, New York & Company, and Lakeshore Learning for donations to teachers and students alike.

“Outside of the joy the series is bringing to fans, it’s rewarding to see the positive impact that has been made in the public education community through continued work with incredible brands like Scholastic,” DonorsChoose’s vice president of strategic partnerships told Variety. “And now, we couldn’t be more excited that DonorsChoose will be matching up to $500k in donations with a goal of reaching $1 million in classroom funding in celebration of ‘Abbott.’”

This isn’t the first of the show’s philanthropic efforts. In March 2022, Brunson reallocated the Abbott Elementary marketing budget to buy supplies for school teachers. “We chose to put the marketing money toward supplies for teachers,” Brunson noted during an interview with NPR’s Fresh Air. “It’s about being able to make those kinds of decisions that really excite me, things that can really materially help people.”

With a bright year ahead, Brunson’s original series leads the 2023 Golden Globe nominations, making its mark as the most nominated TV series with a total of five nods. The proud West Philadelphia native, who began her career in media and entertainment on Buzzfeed, was also honored as a 2022 ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood honoree. “There’s this grace that’s given to a show when they haven’t won yet,” she said during an interview with Variety. “A nation is rooting for it. It’s the underdog. It was so exciting that the first season was so well received by fans, and critically acclaimed. But I want us to be able to keep growing. I’m not sure I wanted audiences to expect prestige yet. I want us to have fun and get to be an awkward toddler.”

Making its debut on December 7, 2021, the mockumentary-formatted series premiered on ABC and follows the day-to-day lives of a group of teachers in the inner city of Philadelphia as they navigate through teaching their students, personal lives, and more. Abbott Elementary returns from its mid-season hiatus on Jan. 4 at 9 pm on ABC.

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About The Author
Bernadette Doykos
Bernadette Doykos
Bernadette Doykos is the Senior Director of Editorial Strategy at Boardroom. Before joining the team, her work appeared in ELLE. She previously served as the head of evaluation for a nonprofit where she became obsessed with systems and strategy and served as the curator of vibes and extinguisher of fires for the design thinking firm Stoked. She is constantly plotting a perfect tunnel ‘fit and a playlist for all occasions.