Central Florida’s education landscape has a hidden hero, A Gift for Teaching: the primary provider of free supplies to teachers for their students who need them most. For a quarter of a century, this grassroots nonprofit organization has been a lifeline for educators and their students, ensuring they have access to the essential tools for learning. 

In celebration of their 25th anniversary, Jane Thompson, President of A Gift for Teaching, chats with Beth Perell on WDBO 107.3 FM/580AM about the birthday celebrations and the organization’s commitment to providing teachers and students with the necessary tools they need for their classrooms. 

Below is a summary of the radio interview about their remarkable journey and the vital role A Gift for Teaching has played in supporting high-need public schools in Orange and Osceola counties. 

A Remarkable Milestone 

A Gift for Teaching celebrated its 25th birthday with an impressive service track record. On September 16th, the organization threw a birthday celebration honoring Central Florida teachers. They plan to draw inspiration from local theme parks’ festive spirit, making it a year-long celebration. 

The conversation opened with a heartfelt “Congratulations!” It’s an extraordinary accomplishment for a homegrown, grassroots nonprofit to successfully serve for 25 years and become a cornerstone of support for public education teachers and their students in the community. 

The Heart of Their Mission 

At its core, A Gift for Teaching’s mission is simple yet profound: to provide educational resources that empower teachers to inspire future leaders. It’s about ensuring that every student, regardless of their background, has the same opportunity to learn and succeed. The organization was founded by Gary Landworth, a local philanthropist who recognized the need in this community. Teachers in some of Orlando’s lowest-income schools struggled to provide even the most basic supplies, and Gary set out to make a change. 

From Humble Beginnings to a Tremendous Impact 

A Gift for Teaching opened its doors in 1998, initially serving 30 Orange County Public Schools, all of which were Title One schools. In its first year, the organization distributed $300,000 worth of school supplies. Over the next 25 years, the organization’s impact grew exponentially, distributing more than $160 million worth of school supplies to teachers who have visited their store nearly 375,000 times. 

A Gift for Teaching’s 25-year journey is a testament to the power of community support, unwavering dedication, and the belief that every child deserves the opportunity to learn and thrive. As they move forward, they aim to continue making a difference in the lives of teachers and students, ensuring that the need for essential supplies is met year-round. By getting involved and supporting their mission, we can all contribute to building a brighter future for Central Florida’s children. 

Take A Gift for Teaching into the Next 25 Years 

To help continue empowering teachers and inspiring future leaders, consider joining their monthly giving community of Classroom Heroes. In honor of their 25th birthday, generous funders will be matching new recurring monthly donations for an entire year! With this exclusive opportunity, a commitment to a $25 recurring gift will now go even further and provide six classrooms with access to essential supplies a year.  


Original interview broadcasted October 1, 2023 on WDBO 107.3 FM/580AM.