updated 1/3/2011 4:15:55 PM ET 2011-01-03T21:15:55

SPRINGFIELD, Ill., Jan. 3, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Horace Mann Educators Corporation (NYSE:HMN) announced today a national sponsorship with DonorsChoose.org, a not-for-profit organization that connects donors to teachers with classroom projects in need of funding.

Horace Mann agents around the country will use the sponsorship to instruct teachers and administrators about the program and how to post projects on the DonorsChoose.org website. "While the organization is relatively well known in large metropolitan areas, educators in rural to medium-size communities have much less knowledge about how to get funding for school supplies using DonorsChoose.org," says Horace Mann President and Chief Executive Officer Pete Heckman.  In a recent survey by Horace Mann, over 75 percent of the 1,000 educators responding indicated they had never heard of DonorsChoose.org.

Schools often lack funding for supplies or equipment required for special projects and even routine classroom activities.  As a result, teachers often pay for the supplies out of their own pockets.  Heckman notes that Horace Mann and DonorsChoose.org share a similar goal: both are dedicated to helping educators.   "As a company, we believe we're putting our dollars in the right place – into America's classrooms," said Heckman. 

Since 2000, more than $71 million of donations made through DonorsChoose.org have funded more than 175,000 public school classroom projects benefiting over four million students.On average, three of every four projectsposted to DonorsChoose.org requesting $400 or less in materials are funded. Common resources funded are classroom supplies, technology and books.

To post a project, a teacher must work in the public school system, be full-time and spend at least 75 percent of his or her time working with students. Nurses, guidance counselors and other educators meeting these criteria may post projects, as well. At this time, administrators, volunteers, staff developers, paraprofessionals, teacher aides and substitute teachers cannot request resources at DonorsChoose.org.

To get started, teachers should visit www.donorschoose.org/teacher , select "Get Started" to create a teacher account, and follow the instructions on how to submit a project.

Of the new national sponsorship, DonorsChoose.org Founder and CEO Charles Best says, "We are thrilled with the tremendous support of Horace Mann in helping teachers across the country acquire the materials and resources their students need in the classroom.  Not only will their commitment help thousands of students have a better education, but their advocacy will also be a powerful tool in sharing the DonorsChoose.org experience with thousands of teachers as we strive to serve every public school in the nation."

About Horace Mann

Horace Mann (Horace Mann Educators Corp. (NYSE:HMN) is the largest national multiline insurance company focusing on educators' financial needs. Horace Mann provides auto and homeowners insurance, retirement annuities, life insurance and other financial solutions. "Founded by Educators for Educators" in 1945, the company is headquartered in Springfield, Ill. For more information about the company, visit www.horacemann.com.

About DonorsChoose.org

Founded in 2000, DonorsChoose.org (www.donorschoose.org) is a nonprofit website where public school teachers describe specific educational projects for their students, and donors can choose the projects they want to support. After completing a project, the donor hears back from the classroom they supported in the form of photographs and teacher thank-you letters. To date, almost 160,000 public and charter school teachers have used the site to secure funding for $71 million in books, art supplies, technology, and other resources that their students need to learn. Through DonorsChoose.org, individuals from all walks of life have helped 3.9 million students.

This information was brought to you by Cision http://www.cisionwire.com

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