Hilda Yao Donates $1.3 Million to California Schools

September 2, 2010

Thanks to Hilda Yao, executive director of the Claire Giannini Education Fund, thousands of teachers across California's starving public school system will no longer have to eat the cost of classroom supplies for the upcoming school year on their own.

Yao recently pledged $1.3 million from the Fund's coffers to DonorsChoose.org, a website that allows teachers to post detailed requests for donations to subsidize classroom projects. The sum was enough to fulfill every request filed by a California teacher, with $100,000 left over for teachers in other states. In all, the donation is expected to benefit over 2,000 classrooms and nearly 67,000 Californian children.

The Claire Giannini Fund was founded in 1998, shortly after the death of Claire Giannini Hoffman, daughter of Bank of America founder A.P. Giannini. Hilda Yao is the daughter of Hoffman's close personal friend Dorothy Yao. A 1976 graduate of University of Wisconsin, Madison, Hilda established a prize in her parents' names to recognize outstanding educators of undergraduates in the university's Department of History.

K-12 teachers across the nation spend approximately $1 billion of their own money on classroom supplies -- a staggering sum for any donor to tackle. Still, in California's current economic and political upheaval, it is refreshing for anyone to put their money where their mouth is. While Yao's $1.3 million donation stacks precious little flesh on a skeletal K-14 system that has lost billions in funding, the fact remains that 67,000 children will receive a better education this year because of her efforts and the generosity of the Fund.

Snarky aside: no word yet on how many kids will similarly benefit from Jerry Brown's $23.2 million war chest or, more appalling yet, Meg Whitman's $91 million donation to herself.


Winston Chou


Winston Chou is a graduate student in sociology at UCLA. He is especially interested in issues of immigration and second-generation assimilation, but would almost always rather talk about obscure NBA players from the '90s. (Remember Chris Gatling?)