What's The Diff?

The things Quicken Loans team members care about and want to share with the world

Thinking Outside the Gift Basket

By Brian Doelle

Yahoo Gift
It’s a predictable yearly occurrence. Each year around the holidays, gift baskets from some of our excellent vendors and partners we work with begin trickling in. These baskets range from a simple collection of sweets from Harry & David to gi-normous displays of holiday confections and strange delights from around the world. One basket this year even contained a tin of pickled squid! When the packages arrive, an email is sent out to the entire team to come sample the goodies (no takers on the squid!). While it’s predictable, it’s always fun.

But this year, one partner really stood out for thinking “outside the basket” and sending the perfect something for the holidays.

As I opened what I thought was a holiday card from our friends at Yahoo!, I was surprised to find what looked like a gift certificate inside.

Yahoo Donation
Upon closer inspection, it was a gift certificate—to a non-profit organization I had not heard of before called DonorsChoose. It was completely unexpected, and certainly the most memorable and rewarding “gift basket” I came across this season.

DonorsChoose turns out to be a very interesting idea indeed. Teachers around the U.S. submit proposals for items they need along with associated costs. You can browse through the list of projects and choose to fund all or part of one (or more). From the Donors Choose web site:

DonorsChoose is a simple way to provide students in need with resources that our public schools often lack. Here, teachers submit ideas for materials or experiences their students need to learn. Individuals like you can choose a project and make it a classroom reality.

After searching through many of the proposals, I’ve come to the conclusion that there are WAY too many worthy projects to choose from! Please take a look at some of the requests and let us know which one you think we should fund. Maybe you’ll even find a project that strikes a personal note with you while you’re there.

So thanks, Yahoo!, for a most thoughtful holiday gift! While we appreciate (and certainly look forward to) the tasty treats, your holiday card has certainly made a lasting impression. Of course, so did the squid!

Note: You can learn more about life at Yahoo! And the great folks who work there by surfing over to their not-so-corporate blog, Yodel Anecdotal.

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  1. This idea is definitely near and dear to my heart, and you well know the moment I spotted this certificate on your desk, Brian.
    I just checked, and there are 10,000 proposals out there. It’s so hard to choose, so for those of you who are going to put in a vote for what Brian should spend his certificate on, definitely have an area of focus before just jumping in and reading proposals.
    I’m thinking I’m going to look for some sort of alternative fuels project to suggest! ;-)

    Posted by: Christy | January 5, 2007
  2. Difficult choices! I narrowed it to two:
    This group wants to learn about animals and go to the zoo – one of my favorite places to visit as well.
    This group is from Texas (the greatest state in the nation!) and needs some organizational help. Being a completely unorganized person without my trusty composition book, binders should help them out.

    Posted by: Jacque | January 5, 2007
  3. My pick is adapted scissors for special needs 3-5-year-old special needs kids who have difficulties cutting paper for arts and crafts with regular scissors.
    “Creativity is a type of learning process where the teacher and pupil are located in the same individual.” –Arthur Koestler

    Posted by: Kaufman | January 5, 2007
  4. My vote goes here:
    paper and ink.
    Heck, all they are looking for is plain old 3 hole punch paper and a few ink cartridges. Maybe we could even get with facilities to just ship them a few boxes of the paper without using our gift card…such a small gesture could really be “the diff” for these small children.

    Posted by: Aaron | January 6, 2007
  5. I still can’t decide! ;-)

    Posted by: Christy | January 8, 2007
  6. Yahoo did the same thing for their employees this year as well:
    Re-gifting with a vengance.

    Posted by: Madgeman | January 8, 2007
  7. My vote goes to this one:
    Pearson GT Podcasters

    Posted by: Madgeman | January 8, 2007
  8. Aaron, you should do it.

    Posted by: Madgeman | January 8, 2007
  9. I vote for this one Around the World in Seven Days. It has to do with travel and geography, two of my deepest interests!

    Posted by: Clayton | January 8, 2007
  10. I vote for:Poetry to Raise Self-Esteem for Special Needs Students
    This is one of the most uniques programs I have ever heard of. A program like this could make such a huge impact on young adults and I am all for it.
    You can view the details here:http://www.donorschoose.org/locale0/donors.php?action=view_proposal&id=38175

    Posted by: Corey | January 8, 2007
  11. Anyone else stepping up for adapted scissors for special needs kids?
    Jarrett and I have already donated a total of $40 ($20 each) of our own cash for this proposal, any other takers?
    Imagine back when you were 3, 4 or 5 years old…could you imagine not being able to cut colored construction paper?
    A Cut Above the Rest

    Posted by: Chris Kaufman | January 8, 2007
  12. Done!! This *is* the project I vote for, too! C’mon, Brian! Join the fan club!

    Posted by: Christy | January 9, 2007
  13. Gourmet gift baskets make a wonderful gift any time of the year but are especially welcome around the holidays.

    Posted by: standy | April 2, 2007
  14. This is a fascinating idea!! I had a look through some of the queries I found some to rather outlandish like a $945 white board with staves on it for music, but the idea is pretty awesome!

    Posted by: Gift Basket | July 4, 2007

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Wednesday, January 17, 2018