By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Sep 06, 2016 at 8:55 AM

In the past, I've talked about how small gifts made by regular folks like us to classrooms via can make a difference for Milwaukee kids.

Today, Herb Kohl Philanthropies really upped the ante by funding the Donors Choose campaigns of nearly 700 Wisconsin teachers whose classrooms serve about 43,000 students in 140 districts.

The mass donation – totaling $500,000 – included full funding for 223 projects at dozens of Milwaukee Public Schools.

That means if you go to right now and search projects in Wisconsin, you will find absolutely none. Herb Kohl has funded all of them.

"As the new school year kicks off, we are thrilled to support all of the classroom projects currently posted by teachers right here in Wisconsin. We owe a lot to our teachers and hold enormous hope for our students. They are both a constant source of inspiration," said Herb Kohl.

Teachers post projects on, teachers post projects requesting materials required for specific classroom projects or needs. Folks like you and me – and in this case Herb Kohl – make donations and when the goal is met, DonorsChoose sends the supplies.

As of 12:01 this morning, every single project in Wisconsin was fully funded by Kohl Philanthropies. About 600 classrooms will get pencils, books, laptops, musical instruments, health and hygiene supplies, microscopes and more.

"Wisconsin’s educators are constantly seeking innovative ways to reach students and improve learning outcomes. I would like to personally thank Herb Kohl for his recognition of the importance of that work and for his willingness to help turn the dreams of those educators and students into realities," said Dr. Tony Evers, State Superintendent of Wisconsin’s Department of Public Instruction in a statement.

"MPS is grateful for this generous gift from Herb Kohl. The funding of these requests allows our teachers to be effective in their approach to instruction and to provide expanded learning opportunities for our young people. Partnering with is yet another example of how Herb Kohl Philanthropies continues to show its strong and tangible support of education," added Dr. Darienne Driver, Superintendent of Milwaukee Public Schools.

Herb Kohl posted messages on every funded project to alert teachers to the mass gift.

According to a news release, "Herb Kohl Philanthropies has long supported Wisconsin’s teachers and their schools along with high school students through a Scholarship and Fellowship award program. He also sponsors the state’s Teacher of the Year program and has added a new category to his award program that recognizes principals for outstanding school leadership. In addition to recognizing excellence in education for students, teachers, schools and principals, Herb Kohl Philanthropies supports many educational programs and initiatives such as those that support literacy, pathways to college and experiential learning."

This is an amazing gesture that tells Wisconsin teachers and students that folks value and appreciate the important work they do every day.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He has be heard on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories, in that station's most popular podcast.