Reading Rainbow Kickstarter Raises Over $5 Million, With 100,000-Plus Backers

By Ross Brenneman — July 02, 2014 1 min read
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After one month of powerhouse fundraising, the Reading Rainbow Kickstarter project ended Wednesday with a grand total of $5,408,916 earned.

The crowdfunding campaign began May 28 with the initial goal of hitting $1 million. It hit and exceeded that goal within 24 hours, ultimately beginning to slow after 48 hours and the $3 million mark. The effort rapidly added rewards, too, to entice people to keep donating.

The Kickstarter campaign aimed to convert the popular Reading Rainbow app to a Web-based platform, allowing it to be more accessible by being unbundled from expensive tablets. While the program is subscription-based, the campaign also promised that donated funding would be used to offer the program free for one year to at least 1,500 low-income classrooms. With the $4 million-plus in excess funding, actor LeVar Burton, the mastermind behind Reading Rainbow, has pledged to expand free access to at least 7,500 low-income classrooms.

That funding total certainly shows some enduring popularity. But you don’t have to take my word for it: In addition to being one of the top-funded projects on Kickstarter ever, it also set the record for number of backers: With 105,857 contributors, Reading Rainbow surpassed the previous record set by the (incredible-can’t-miss-and-consistently-perfect) “Veronica Mars” movie in April 2013.

The grand total will actually be $1 million higher: Last week, “Family Guy” creator and “Cosmos” executive producer Seth MacFarlane pledged to match every dollar (up to $1 million) raised in the final week. That donation will also effectively double the number of classrooms to which the program can be offered.

There is still no “Wishbone” Kickstarter.

Image: Butterfly in the sky, I can go five times as high. Credit: Kickstarter

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.