Serena Williams is one of dozens of celebrities who are donating to public schools through the crowdfunding nonprofit DonorsChoose.org. The tennis superstar plans to help students in Compton, the Los Angeles neighborhood where she lived and attended school, PEOPLE reports.
According to the magazine, 50 celebrities will donate more than $12 million to classrooms throughout the nation. The stars recorded videos of themselves recalling their best school days. They also spoke about the importance of a good education and their commitment to helping students.
In this video, Williams recalls her fondest memories of school for the #BestSchoolDay campaign. She warmly remembers playing dodgeball at recess and competing for prizes in third-grade spelling bees—though Williams never won, she felt inspired to keep trying.
Williams explained why she joined the campaign:
“I had a lot of opportunities, and having a good education has opened so many different doors for me. And I know it can do the same for everyone out there.”
Other celebs involved include Samuel L. Jackson, who’s donating to all the classes in his hometown of Chattanooga, Tenn. with a DonorsChoose.org funding request. Ashton Kutcher will fund all the classrooms in Iowa that posted a request on the organization’s website.
Charles Best, a Bronx high school teacher, launched DonorChoose.org in 2000. He had an epiphany while photocopying the book Little House on the Prairie for his students. Best created a crowdfunding website where teachers in classrooms who lack resources can post a wish list of supplies and request public donations.
The website says the organization has vetted and fulfilled more than 600,000 projects. Current requests on the site include a teacher at Milford Elementary School in Marietta, Ga., who needs $273 dollars more to purchase a digital microscope for her classroom. And in Brooklyn, an art teacher at P.S. 206 still needs $114 more to buy a classroom laptop. Her students would use it to view historic artwork and learn about famous artists.