(Photo by Flickr user dhendrix73 used via a Creative Commons license; photo has been cropped)

It was about a year and a half ago when Andy Toy read an article about a school in Germantown that was struggling with funds.

The principal, Toy recalled, had only $34 and couldn’t afford to purchase many amenities for his students. However, within a few days of the article being published, the school received thousands of dollars in donations and the principal was able to move forward in buying the things that his school needed.

That’s when the idea of the Philadelphia Public School Giving Circle (PPSGC) took hold.

“To me the lightbulb kind of went off and was like, if we could get everybody out there and do the same thing, people would give because people are interested in giving,” said Toy, development and communications manager of Southeast Asian Mutual Assistance Associations Coalition (SEAMAAC). “There is a big need out there.”

With PPSGC, there is a strong focus on regular neighborhood public schools, especially those in low-income areas and have limited fundraising capacity within their communities, and on traditional neighborhood elementary schools serving the largest number of low-income children.

“For example, we see that charter schools have options. Folks in the neighborhood are really supportive, and if they need to go on a class trip, there’s money that they can find to get that to get a teacher or bus company,” said Toy, who also works with the Asian Mosaic Fund Giving Circle. “It’s the other schools that don’t have that option.”

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Dominique “Peak” Johnson is a North Philadelphia freelance journalist. He is one of the founding editors and writers of the North Philly Metropolis, blogger for The Huffington Post and contributing writer to numerous online publications. Click here to learn more about Peak.