Belgrade Mom Creates Fundraising Website For Montana Schools


POSTED: 7:24 AM Apr 08 2012   UPDATED: 12:29 AM Apr 09 2012

Jessica van Garderen created Shopping 4 Schools after brainstorming ways to fundraise money for her son's montessori school.

She said she found that current fund-raisers require a lot of planning and work, and aren't very effective.

Hoping to streamline the process, and bring in more money for the schools, van Garderen set up a website to shop through.

You can log on to, select a school and choose any of the several participating stores to buy from.

Amazon, Home Depot, PetSmart and iTunes are just a few of the many sites.

They donate a percentage of the profits to the school, and you get the products you need. Plus, van Garderen said the sites will offer special discounts or free shipping if items are purchased through Shopping 4 Schools.

Van Garderen said the site is an innovative way to fundraise for schools.

Traditional fundraising catalogs can be a hassle, she said, because she feels obligated to buy something from them- and often times they don't have items that she needs.

"It's a great way for schools to earn the extra money that they need without parents and teachers having to buy stuff that they don't want" she said, of the Shopping 4 Schools approach. "It's stuff that they can buy anyway, it's stuff that they're going to buy anyway."

And, she said, it widens the fundraising scope to the whole community.

"Businesses can use it to purchase office supplies or whatever they need to" she said. "Grandparents, people from far away that want to support the school can use the links."

Right now all Gallatin Valley schools are on the site, but van Garderen said she plans to expand to more areas in Montana.

She said anyone can add their school to the site as well.

Van Garderen also created a Facebook page for Shopping 4 Schools, and said anyone who "likes" it will see special store deals and receive updates on any new stores added to the list.

"I think this is a way that we can give money to our schools" she said. "The more people that use the program, the more money the schools are going to earn."

To find out more about Shopping 4 Schools, you can visit their website by clicking here.