Earlier this summer LeVar Burton and Reading Rainbow created a Kickstarter to raise $1 million dollars. There were two goals: everywhere on the web and free subscriptions to 1,500 classrooms who want Reading Rainbow but can’t afford to pay for it.
Burton set a timeline of 35 days. It wasn’t necessary. He was fully funded in 11 hours.
The campaign stayed open for the full 35 days and when it ended on July 2, the Kickstarter had raised $5,408,916. To top that off, Seth MacFarlane, the creator of Family Guy and American Dad, “promised to match every dollar pledged following the $4 million mark to the $5 million mark if the campaign reached $5 million.” In other words, if the Kickstarter made it to $5 million, MacFarlane would match the last million, making the $5 million dollar benchmark all the more sweeter (by turning in into $6 million). Since Kickstarter has a $10,000 limit on donations, MacFarlane’s donation is not added into the number seen on the Kickstarter site. Thus, the final total that the Kickstarter raised is $6.4 million dollars.
The Reading Rainbow Kickstarter is the 5th most funded campaign on Kickstarter. According to Forbes.com, “The top four are: Pebble ($10.2 million), OUYA ($8.5 million), Pono ($6.2 million) and the Veronica Mars movie ($5.7 million).”
There is one record that the Reading Rainbow Kickstarter broke: the most backers. Over 105,857 backers pledged to bring Reading Rainbow to all mobile devices, consoles, and OTT boxes as well as 7,500 classrooms who can’t afford it.
If your book adventures took you away to magical places and were unable to join the Kickstarter, you can still donate through Reading Rainbow’s site. You can $5, $10, $25, $50, $100, $125, $175, $375, or $5000. While all the packages have names based upon the dollar amount or rewards you can earn, the last two are special: $375 is the perfect amount to pay for a “adopt” a classroom and $5000 will allow you “adopt” a school. If you really want to know exactly where you money is going, those two cannot be any more specific.
Though time has passed, Burton has aged, and the books have gone digital, the fact remains that Reading Rainbow is still enchanting as ever for the next generation of readers. Then again, LeVar Burton always sticks around for The Next Generation.
BONUS: LeVar Burton, Reading Rainbow, and Star Trek: The Next Generation