Our Mission

Make it easy for anyone to donate to public schools.

Our Work

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.

Our Team

Michael Thomsen

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 wineries.

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.

Email Michael.

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

Board Member

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' professional development.

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

Board Member

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.