from USA Today, February 8, 2001
Teacher's wish list is Craigslist's command
By Janet Kornblum
It's not that Pam Heyda is a whiner, but she has done her share of venting about her job as a second-grade teacher in San Mateo, Calif. Her friend Craig Newmark, the father of Craigslist, the popular 6-year-old online community resource list, has been a sympathetic ear. "I'd complain I was broke and spending all my money to buy books and supplies," she says. "He said, 'I should be able to do something about that.'"
It took several years. But a few months ago, Newmark was reading a newsletter that Cole Hardware of San Francisco sends to customers when he had an idea. "All of a sudden I realized, maybe we could do something together," he says.
He contacted Cole Hardware and thus was born a wish list - a sort of online gift registry for schools and non-profits, jointly run by Craigslist and Cole. Lots of Web sites offer wish-list areas for recipients to list their needs and wants. The Craigslist version works the same way, except that people such as Heyda, armed with a tax ID number, can go on the site and request items they'd otherwise have to buy themselves or forgo. Then anyone with an open wallet and heart can go on the site and buy the items.
The list is still in its test phase, but word of mouth is spreading among cash-strapped organizations. So far about 50 non-profits have signed on, and 25 people have made donations, Newmark says. He got the ball rolling by purchasing Heyda's items. Most folks come from the Bay Area, where Craigslist is well-known, but some have come in from across the country, and Rick Karp, owner of Cole Hardware, says he's happy to send items anywhere UPS delivers. Karp, who is giving a 10% discount on all purchases, believes this is just the beginning. "We're hopeful that the concept spreads and we can get other merchants involved."