As part of our Fundraiser Hall of Fame series, we’d like to introduce to you to our newest inductee, South Los Angeles middle school teacher, Martha Infante. Martha is an educator at Los Angeles Academy. From early on, she knew her students would never be able to compete with their peers from well-funded areas. She took it upon herself to make a difference in her students’ lives. Martha began to look into educational travel and found WorldStrides. Six years later, her trips have become something that students work hard to achieve. Her students have traveled across the world. This past school year, her class traveled to China and this year, her class is gearing up for a trip to Japan.
So, how does she do it? Here are Martha’s five tips for success when it comes to fundraising:
- Manage expectations. Do not over promise funds to your group.
- Create and equitable distribution system. Those who participate in the fundraiser get a cut of the profit.
- Use the Remind app to stay in touch with parents and students.
- Take lots of pictures of fundraising events for future grant or sponsorship applications.
- If you have enough funds, order a banner to commemorate your trip.
Martha not only wants her students to see the world and experience other cultures, she also wants them to learn the importance of having entrepreneurial spirit. Together, with the support of their parents, students feverishly fundraise. “Entire families participate,” said Infante. “Parents want this for their kids as much as the kids do.” While students and parents fundraise, Martha works hard writing grants and presenting to appeal for funds throughout California. “I don’t mind asking anyone for a donation. The worst they can say is no.”
Martha’s most successful fundraisers include:
- Fidget spinners
- Krispy Kreme donuts
- See’s Candies Christmas orders
- Cheesecake fundraiser
- Avon fundraiser
While Martha’s students work hard fundraising, she is busy researching and writing grant applications. Martha’s trips are funded 80 percent by fundraisers and 20 percent by grants. Annually, she raises $10,000-$20,000 in grants alone. Martha has been kind enough to offer some tips to finding the right grants to help fund your trip:
- Search grant databases, a simple google search.
- Reach out to organizations such as Rotary Club, Kiwanis Club, and local neighborhood councils.
- Join your professional subject matter organization, they are always aware of grants
- Reach out to your state department of education for grant tips. There is usually a subject matter expert in each state.
- Tell all your teacher friends to be on the lookout for grants for you. This is how I got nominated for the Life Changer award that came with a $5,000 grant.
Between Martha’s passion for travel and the students’ drive to accomplish their goal, students’ come back from these trips with a new perspective on life and the world around them. Martha’s passion for showing her students the world has allowed them to find other outlets to channel their energy and it hasn’t gone without notice. As previously mentioned, Martha was recently bestowed with the distinguished National Life Changer of the Year award for her work, as well as for the impact she’s made by being a positive influence and leader toward her students.
Welcome to the Hall of Fame, Martha!