Make it easy for anyone to donate to public schools.
GiftofKnowledge.org is a website that provides an infrastructure to quickly
and efficiently raise money for K-12 public schools. While many private
schools have teams of paid, full-time fundraisers, the vast majority of public
schools rely on efforts from parents.
By empowering communities of alumni, friends, locally interested people, and
businesses, as well as those simply motivated to help and give, Gift of
Knowledge provides a platform to give to schools and share that giving
spirit. With an emphasis on group giving, schools don’t need a few huge
donors like in the past, they need a huge group of donors! Gift of Knowledge
empowers people to round up that group to make a tremendous positive impact
on the lives of students.
GiftofKnowledge.org is a division of the Cooper Education Foundation and
its primary fundraising source for K-12 education. The Cooper Education
Foundation was founded by Michael Thomsen and Brianna Scott as a way to
honor their grandparents, Vern and Norma Cooper, who have been tireless
supporters of education on a very individual level. In addition to
supporting many local education initiatives, they have put
eight students through college, some all the way through to their
doctorate, who otherwise would not have been able to afford it.
Co-Founder, Executive Director
Michael Thomsen graduated from the University of San Diego in 2002
earning two degrees, including his Bachelor's of Business
Administration with an emphasis in Supply Chain Management and his
Bachelors of Arts in International Relations.
After college, Michael worked for Raytheon in El Segundo, CA as a
supply chain specialist, procuring and managing missile and F-18
fighter jet targeting systems. Subsequently, Michael was recruited by
a financial institution to join a commercial real estate lending team.
He then founded TriVino LLC, a supply chain management company for
In addition to his professional endeavors, Michael has remained
committed to community improvement by working for the United Way in
their Loaned Executive Program soliciting donations, holding various
coaching positions at Healdsburg High School, acting as a project
manager for the community redevelopment program, Rebuilding Together,
sitting on the Philanthropic Advisory Board for a non-profit in San
Francisco, and, most recently, founding the Cooper Education
Foundation and managing the development of GiftofKnowledge.org.
Brianna Scott, PhD
Co-Founder, Board Member
Brianna has over eight years of experience as a researcher
in the fields of cognitive psychology, educational psychology, and
education. Her main research interests center around metacognition,
working memory, and academic achievement. Brianna has experience
studying and evaluating new learning technologies and a multitude of
educational programs. She has presented her research and evaluation
projects at national and international conferences, including the
American Educational Research Association (AERA) and the Association
for Psychological Sciences (APS).
Brianna is currently an Assistant Professor in the School of
Psychological Sciences at the University of Indianapolis, teaching
courses on cognitive theory and research methods at the undergraduate
and graduate levels. She received her Master's in Psychological
Sciences from California State University, Chico and her doctorate in
Learning Sciences from Indiana University.
Tiffany Lee, PhD
Tiffany Lee sits on the board of the Cooper Education Foundation.
Tiffany is passionate about education and has a long history of
commitment to the improvement of teaching and learning. Over the past
15 years, she has worked with children in a variety of settings,
including classrooms, afterschool programs, and family homes. She is
also a dedicated volunteer, spending much of her free time with local
schools and community organizations.
Tiffany is currently the Director of Education at Teaching Channel, a
not-for-profit organization that creates high-quality video resources
of inspiring and effective teaching practices to support teachers'
Prior to joining Teaching Channel, she was a research associate with
the Learning in Informal and Formal Environments (LIFE) Center at the
University of Washington. There, she conducted studies of children's
science learning across settings and partnered with teachers to
develop and implement science curriculum in preschool and elementary
school classrooms. Tiffany received her Ph.D. in Learning Sciences
from the University of Washington College of Education.
Mike Theoharis is currently an Associate Director for Development at
Stanford University. He has worked in Development for nine years with
stops at St. Ignatius College Preparatory, Santa Clara University and
UC Berkeley. Prior to starting his development career, Mike played two
years of professional baseball and also coached at both the high school
and collegiate levels. He also worked part time for the Colorado Rockies
organization as an Associate Scout in the Bay Area.
Born and raised in San Francisco, Mike attended Commodore Sloat
Elementary and Aptos Middle School before going on to St. Ignatius
College Prep. He later attended Santa Clara University on a partial
baseball scholarship and received his Master of Arts in Sport Management
at the University of San Francisco. Mike's primary inspiration
for being a part of Gift of Knowledge is the terrific educational
opportunities he received thanks to the generosity of others.
Mike has past experience volunteering as a high school baseball coach and is
a former member of the Bronco Bench Foundation Board of Trustees. He
also served on his Santa Clara 10th reunion campaign fundraising committee.
Currently, he is an active volunteer with First Saturdays, San Francisco, an
organization dedicated to helping San Francisco residents in need through the
distribution of used clothes. He also serves as a member of Santa Clara
University Advocates, a group of alumni dedicated to assisting the University
with its development efforts.