Social Business Spotlight: A Look at Entrepreneurs With Heart

Schoola, @schoola

Who: Stacey Boyd, founder and CEO

What: Social venture Schoola helps schools with funding for the projects they need, such as music or math, or restoring a playground, through the donation and resale of gently used children’s clothes.

When: August 2013

Where: San Francisco, Calif.-based, working with more than 4,000 schools across the U.S.

How: A former principal and teacher, and today mother of two, Stacey Boyd says schools often struggle to raise funding for things like music, arts and physical education, but she believes “are quite core to a kid’s education.”

It was in this context that she came up with the idea for Schoola.

“The idea is quite simple: Parents send in their kids’ gently used clothing, we sell it and $2 to $5 [to] go back to their school,” Boyd says.

Depending on the school, and the specific needs, the funds will go toward anything from reinstating music programs to hiring foreign language tutors or building playgrounds. A year ago, Schoola had five schools on its roster, and today is up to 4,000 schools in every state in the U.S.

“What’s wonderful about this idea is that there is no community deeper than the parent community,” Boyd explains. “[The idea] is particularly powerful because it’s a way of raising money that doesn’t require people opening up their wallets, but simply by cleaning out their closets.”

Parents log onto the Schoola website and sign up for a prepaid Schoola Bag to be sent to them to fill and ship back. With each sale, 40% of proceeds go to the donating child’s school. Any items that don’t get sold, Schoola gives to Goodwill.

Biggest challenge: With tens of thousands of items coming in and out of Schoola’s warehouse, the biggest challenge for the company has been growth.

“We’ve moved warehouses four times [since launch]!” Boyd says. Scaling the business has been tricky, but exciting for them.

Moment in time: Boyd says she knew Schoola was making an impact when she was on a visit to Kipp Academy in the Bronx, “standing in a roomful of kids talking very eloquently about how music had made a difference in their lives.” With the help of funding from Schoola donations, Kipp Academy was able to reinstate its music program.

The founder says she recently purchased a dress for her 6-year-old daughter on Schoola, and when she gave it to her, her daughter asked what school it was helping and what they needed.

“For my daughter to internalize the message and really grasp that it’s helping fuel another school’s growth,” Boyd says reaffirmed her commitment to the work.

Follow Natalia Angulo on Twitter @natisangulorico.