Stacey Boyd has spent her entire career in education, as a teacher, a principal, and an entrepreneur. She saw firsthand how programs like music, art, and P.E. helped students succeed, but how hard it was to get funds to support those programs and how easy it was for them to get cut. So three years ago, inspired by that proven formula for academic success, she launched Schoola, an online marketplace that puts paintbrushes, books, baseballs and violins back into the hands of children in schools across the U.S. using a unique fundraising solution… the resale of gently used women’s and kids’ clothing.
“Close to 80% of schools in the U.S. have had some sort of cut in funding and the very first programs to go are art, music, drama, and physical education, these things that we know make a huge difference in the lives of kids.”
What’s now hailed as an “amazing mash-up of community building, upcycling and commerce,” started with a simple idea… have parents clean out their closets for the benefit of their school. Stacey’s vision became a reality when a few innovative schools took her call to run a clothing drive during the last (and busiest) week of the 2012-2013 school year. Parents sent in their gently used clothing, Stacey listed the clothes on the Schoola site at great prices, and the buying began. In the end, the participating schools received proceeds from every item sold to use to fund those critical programs that most often end up on the “budget cuts” chopping block. The concept quickly grew in reach and an altruistic, education-based brand was born.
Today, over 300,000 families are part of the Schoola family and solution, donating, shopping, and helping to fundraise for more than 20,000 schools nationwide. And getting involved could not be easier… you can request a postage-paid donation bag to fill with gently used kids’ and women’s clothing that you mail from home or you can book a school-wide clothing drive (any school in the contiguous U.S. can participate).
Once the apparel donations are received at the Schoola warehouse they are photographed and uploaded to the site, and sold for up to 70% off retail with 40% of the proceeds going directly to the donor’s school of choice.
To understand the enormous impact that the Schoola concept has, consider that the site’s top earning school, KIPP Academy Middle School, has raised over $75,000 to date for their music program. Seventy-five.Thousand.Dollars!!
On a global scale, Stacey and the dedicated Schoola team recently partnered with the greatest champion of girls’ education… Malala Yousafzai. In conjunction with the release of the highly anticipated documentary film, He Named Me Malala, Schoola designed special, pre-paid clothing donation bags specifically to fundraise for the Malala Fund, which is committed to promoting girls’ education projects in the most vulnerable communities around the world. We were honored to give each of our #FearlessFestNYC guests a Schoola/Malala Fund donation bag to fill in support of this empowering cause.
To continue to encourage everyone to donate and raise money for schools throughout the year, Schoola has an ongoing #PasstheBag challenge… just request a bag, fill it with clothes, and send it in. Then challenge at least 3 friends or family members to do the same. We cannot think of a more inspired reason to clean out our closets… again, and again, and again.
What Else You Should Know About Stacey Boyd
Prior to life as the proud Founder and CEO of Schoola, Stacey, who earned her MBA and Masters in Public Policy from Harvard, created Savvy Source, an online community to help parents make the most of their child’s early education years. But she’s most proud of having founded The Academy of the Pacific Rim in 1997. One third of the children that entered the Academy were 3-5 years below grade level upon entering. At the end of its first year of operation, the Academy was one of the highest performing middle schools in Boston. In 1999, she founded Project Achieve, an information management system for primary and secondary schools which was available to 15% of US schools. In 2004, Stacey founded Global Learning Ventures, a boutique consulting firm that provided education and technology consulting services to non-profits, corporations and government entities focused on education in the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Stacey serves on the board of the National Council for Teacher Quality. She is an advisor for PBS on its education programming and was named one of the World Economic Forum’s 100 Global Leaders for Tomorrow. She lives in San Francisco, California, with her husband, Scott Hamilton, and their two daughters.