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President’s Lecture Series Speaker to Donate Fee for Educational Projects

Entrepreneur and philanthropist Charles Best, who founded the classroom crowdfunding site DonorsChoose.org, will donate his speaker's fee when he visits Old Dominion University so the first 500 guests may in turn support educational projects listed on the non-profit organization's website.

As part of the President's Lecture Series, Best will deliver the Marc and Connie Jacobson Raoul Wallenberg Humanitarian Lecture on Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. in the Ted Constant Convocation Center's Big Blue Room.

All President's Lecture Series events are free and open to the public, but advance registration is strongly encouraged through the Office of Community Engagement, or by calling 757-683-5759.

Best's fee will be donated in the form of $50 gift cards, which are to be used to support classroom projects on DonorsChoose.org. The gift cards will be distributed to the first 500 guests who arrive for the lecture.

DonorsChoose.org is the pioneering site on which public school teachers create classroom project requests and donors choose the projects they want to support.

Best, who graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Yale University in 1998, launched the platform in 2000 out of a Bronx public high school where he taught history.

Today, more than two thirds of U.S. public schools have at least one teacher who has created a project request on DonorsChoose.org, and 1.8 million people have donated $360 million to classroom projects reaching 16 million students.

According to the website, there are nearly 100 projects that are in need of funding in the Hampton Roads area, ranging from technology and innovation to music and art.

DonorsChoose.org is one of Oprah Winfrey's "Ultimate Favorite Things," and was the first charity to be featured on the cover of Fast Company as one of the "50 Most Innovative Companies in the World."

For three years, Fortune magazine has named Best to its "40 under 40 hottest rising stars in business." He has received the John F. Kennedy "New Frontier Award," which honors young Americans who are changing their communities through public service, and the Jefferson Awards' "S. Roger Horchow Award for Greatest Public Service by a Private Citizen."

At the lecture, Best will be presented with the Marc and Connie Jacobson Raoul Wallenberg Humanitarian award by the University.

The annual Wallenberg Lecture is sponsored by the Marc and Connie Jacobson Philanthropic Foundation. Speakers for the Wallenberg Lecture are chosen by the University. They must be humanitarians - those who are "making the world a better place" - balanced in their philosophical beliefs and not at either extreme of the social spectrum.

Old Dominion University's President's Lecture Series serves as a marketplace for ideas, featuring fascinating personalities who share their knowledge, experience, opinions and accomplishments. Discussing timely topics, the series puts diversity first, showcasing authors, educators, business innovators and political figures.

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