Featured Donor Story: Believing in Public Education Means Taking Action for Michael Ellegood

Michael Ellegood is concerned about the state of education in his city. When a vote to give the local school system more money failed, it upset him.

“We are taking kids that are our future and we are denying them their future,” he said. “I want to do something so that people in our community can connect with our schools.”

Mr. Ellegood decided he wanted to know what went on inside the school so he could do a better job helping students. When he looked up a way to do that, he found AdoptAClassroom.org. Donations through AdoptAClassroom.org helped him connect with teachers individually and receive updates on their classes. When he started sharing his experience with AdoptAClassroom.org, he was able to motivate his community to do more to support students.

Today, Mr. Ellegood travels for work and brings AdoptAClassroom.org brochures everywhere he goes. He is an advocate for real change for teachers and students. The connection he has with his local school district has brought him into the classrooms to speak to students.

Mr. Ellegood is a Vietnam War combat veteran and works as a bridge design engineer. Sending their children to public school was a conscious choice he and his wife made because they believe in the public school system.

“What I like about public school is the diversity there,” he said. “We live in a very diverse society. When you go to a public school, we’re all there together just like you are in the world. I felt that was particularly important to me and important to my children. When my children entered high school, we were in a more diverse community and that education made them better people as a result. You learn tolerance. You learn to accept people. You respect the differences about each other. You respect the fact that people are different when you get into the real world.”

Mr. Ellegood is AdoptAClassroom.org’s lead volunteer for Arizona. As a lead volunteer, he does what he can to give teachers a hand in his state. That involves going to events in his community, networking, and speaking out about how individual donors can help teachers.

For donors, Mr. Ellegood emphasizes that their donation goes right to the classroom. For teachers, he recommends that they take time on their profile description. It is important to be specific about how funds will be spent and why donors should give to your classroom.

“If we all do a little bit, no one has to carry all the weight themselves,” he said. “I tell my community, ‘Here’s what you do, it’s really simple. You pick a teacher on AdoptAClassroom.org and you give.’”

Do you have a passion for improving education, too?

Consider signing up as a lead volunteer for AdoptAClassroom.org in your state! Contact Melissa Hruza at [email protected] to get started.