Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Tale of No Gift Cards

No Cards for Tamar's Kids


So we all know by now that our excitement over the Donors Choose-Wasserman Foundation- Starbucks gift card giveaway (pdf file) was premature. There were no local Starbucks participating in the North West Valley, nor the East Valley or anywhere near the two.

But why?

Two tales; one sent from a reader who received the following response from someone named Gwendolyn from the Donors Choose organization, and another from our Board of Education representative, Tamar Galatzan.

From: Gwendolyn - DonorsChoose.org <customer-service@donorschoose.org>
Date: Mon, Jan 23, 2012 at xx:xx PMSubject: Re: (Case XXXX) OtherTo: xxxxxxxxx <xxxxxxxxx@gmail.com>

Hi Xxxxxxxx
Thanks so much for writing in and providing this feedback. I'm truly sorry for the frustration. Please know our staff really takes to heart any challenges people have with our program. For this partnership with the Wasserman Foundation, the goals that we're trying to accomplish are both to give parents the opportunity to support their children's education and also to encourage citizens of Los Angeles who do not necessarily have a specific school affiliation to become citizen philanthropists and support education throughout the county.
In order to accomplish this, the funding that the Wasserman Foundation has so generously provided is being distributed in a variety of ways including gift cards given to all parents, the Double Your Impact offer, and now the gift cards available through Starbucks.
The goal of these Starbucks gift cards is to get the word out to individuals who (unlike parents) are not directly connected to one school, but may find and support a projects anywhere in Los Angeles that inspire them. We searched for a partner who would be able to help us achieve that and Starbucks really stepped up for us by donating their staff's time to help us connect with the citizens of Los Angeles. We're grateful for the locations that they were able to offer. While we're not able to distribute gift cards in every single Starbucks location, citizens who obtain these cards will not necessarily have ties to schools in the area where they happen to receive the card. Rather, they'll be visiting DonorsChooseLA.org and looking at projects from the entire county as opposed to just a specific school.
We certainly recognize your frustration and it's frustrating for us as well when folks are struggling to take part or feeling dissatisfied with the opportunity. We'll make every effort to avoid this confusion and distribute information more clearly in the future.
We know that there are other parents like you who are hoping to take advantage of these gift cards in addition to the cards distributed through schools, and in order to help however we can we've posted a list of all Starbucks locations where the cards are available. The list can be seen at the following link and does include a variety of locations in Glendale, Calabasas, and Burbank: http://help.donorschoose.org/app/answers/detail/a_id/388
Please do know that with these gift cards now available to a new group of potential citizen philanthropists, the teachers at your daughter's school who have posted projects still have a great chance of benefiting from these cards and having their projects fully-funded!
Please let me know if you have additional questions or further needs.
Thanks again for writing,Gwendolyn
--from Gwendolyn - DonorsChoose.org
P.S. If you reply to this email, please do not modify the subject line.




and then this from Tamar, a response on Facebook to the card situation:


It’s a foundation donating money to LAUSD & we don’t have much say over how the gift cards were distributed. I agree that they selected odd locations and have voiced my concerns.We talked to those in charge here at LAUSD & it turns out the Starbucks/Wasserman/DonorsChoose campaign is separate from the LAUSD/DonorsChoose/Wasserman campaign. The campaign that kicks off Monday is Starbucks’ effort to give back to the teachers, parents & communities of the entire LA region. Starbucks is trying to encourage everyday citizens to be mini-philanthropists at their schools. The decision of which Starbucks participate was between Starbucks & DonorsChoose.


Ok, so then which is it? This (bold emphasis mine)....

"The goal of these Starbucks gift cards is to get the word out to individuals who (unlike parents) are not directly connected to one school, but may find and support a projects anywhere in Los Angeles that inspire them. We searched for a partner who would be able to help us achieve that and Starbucks really stepped up for us by donating their staff's time to help us connect with the citizens of Los Angeles. We're grateful for the locations that they were able to offer. While we're not able to distribute gift cards in every single Starbucks location, citizens who obtain these cards will not necessarily have ties to schools in the area where they happen to receive the card. Rather, they'll be visiting DonorsChooseLA.org and looking at projects from the entire county as opposed to just a specific school." -- Donors Choose


or this...
"Starbucks is trying to encourage everyday citizens to be mini-philanthropists at their schools." --Tamar Galatzan 

You know what, go ahead and pick whichever excuse you'd like. I already feel bamboozled by the whole  thing. I can't figure out if I've been shilling for the Wasserman Foundation or Starbucks.

If you look at the map of Valley Starbucks giving out the goods.... you can see it's at places they need the foot traffic. Warner Center Marriott? I'm going to pay $8.00 in parking to pick up a $10.00 card?

Philanthropist, please.






3 comments:

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Debbie Lopez said...

Thanks, Talha.

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