New books, musical instruments, and other materials are set to flow into more than 28,000 American classrooms after a cryptocurrency company made an unprecedented donation to a website that helps teachers obtain the supplies they need.
The company, Ripple, spent $29 million to cover every classroom materials request that appeared Tuesday on DonorsChoose.org, the nearly two-decade-old education crowdfunding site. The site estimates that a million students will benefit from the donation.
Stephen Colbert, the comic who sits on DonorsChoose’s board, unveiled the gift on his show Tuesday night. In 2009, he announced a $4.1 million donation for college-readiness requests, and more recently he funded every request by teachers in his home state of South Carolina.
To make the donation, Ripple converted cryptocurrency, the kind of (volatile) digital money that Bitcoin has made famous, into dollars. The gift means that 35,600 projects — from 28,000 teachers, representing roughly one in six American public schools, according to DonorsChoose — are being funded.
The donation only temporarily offsets the many needs American teachers cite for their classrooms — and frequently fund out of their own pockets. By midday Wednesday, there were already 1,200 fresh funding requests on the site.
And Mrs. King, a teacher at I.S. 27 in New York City’s Staten Island, wrote this: “We need Ink for our new printer that was just funded!”
Correction: March 28, 2017: This story originally said that 36,000 teachers would benefit from the donation. That is actually the number of projects that were funded.