RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK — If you have thought about but haven’t yet made a donation to Hurricane Katrina relief, there’s still time. If you have given something, then give some more — with a gift that will help in more than one way.

Sign up to attend the DonorsChoose fund-raising gala next week in Durham and your dollars will help produce Katrina Classroom Care Packages. Donations you make will also be applied toward the organization’s attempt to win a $1 million matching grant from

For those of you who don’t know, DonorsChoose is a philanthropic organization dedicated to matching public school teachers with individuals and groups wanting to donate resources for students. It will host the fund-raiser on Sept. 20.

DonorsChooseNC, which was launched by entrepreneur Michael Brader-Araje, is helping organize the event. It will take place at the American Tobacco Campus.

The event is a chance for more North Carolinians to learn about the DonorsChoose program — and why Brader-Araje has become such an avid supporter.

“When I first learned about DonorsChoose, I just about jumped out of my seat because I was so excited about it,” Brader-Araje told Local Tech Wire last year when he decided to form a North Carolina chapter. “DonorsChoose is going to change the face of philanthropy in so many more areas outside of education.

“”Its simplicity is what makes it so incredibly powerful. For the first time, philanthropy is no longer the sole domain of wealthy individuals and foundations. Now, average citizens can get involved and have an immediate and tangible impact on the lives of students, especially those students in the neediest of areas.”

Founder To Be in Durham

Among those scheduled to attend is Charles Best, the founder of DonorsChoose. A public school teacher in the Bronx NY, Best launched DonorsChoose in 2000. The organization now has participants in all 50 states, has funded more than 8,200 projects and delivered supplies and other sources worth more than $4 million.

DonorsChoose is participating in a $1 million matching grant from after being selected as one of the 10 “most innovative nonprofits” in the U.S. by a panel of judges assembled for the Amazon program.

VIP List

Funds raised from the Durham event will be used to support students and teachers affected by Hurricane Katrina.

“The devastation of Hurricane Katrina has displaced millions of people who are now forced to start over in other communities,” said Missy Sherburne, executive director of North Carolina DonorsChoose. “Our goal is to provide these teachers and students with necessary supplies and assistance, and eventually provide assistance to the schools in the hurricane devastated area when they re-open in the future.”

Among those helping put on the fundraiser are former N.C. Governor Jim Hunt; Jim Goodmon of Capitol Broadcasting; his wife and philanthropist Barbara Goodmon; Brader-Araje; business leader Erskine Bowles; and entrepreneur Marshall Brain.

A reception begins at 5:30 PM.

Classic Wines, II Palio, RBC Centura, Tamara Lackey Photography, WRAL TV, UNC TV, WUNC Radio, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, The American Tobacco Complex, the Council for Entrepreneurial Development, the North Carolina Technology Association and Local Tech Wire are providing support for the event.

For information, see:

Rick Smith is managing editor of Local Tech Wire.