When it comes to educating America's children, how much of a difference could $29 million make? Could it send a second grader on a school trip to the museum, or provide updated equipment to a class of budding scientists?
It can. In fact, it can do it 35,647 times.
Ripple, a cryptocurrency and international payment company, has donated $29 million in cryptocurrency to DonorsChoose.org, a donation platform that connects people to classroom needs across the country. With the money, Donors Choose was able to fulfill every single classroom project request on its site -- 35,647 requests in all, from 28,210 teachers at 16,561 public schools.
"It's fair to say there's never been a day that this many classroom dreams have come true," Donors Choose founder Charles Best told CNN.
The Colbert bump
The massive donation is the culmination, or grand finale, if you will, of the site's #BestSchoolDay project. Two years ago, Stephen Colbert, who is a member of the Donors Choose board of directors, announced he was going to pay for every school project request in his home state of South Carolina.
His act of kindness set off a movement that became known as #BestSchoolDay.
"More than 50 actors, athletes and philanthropists were inspired to fund classrooms in their states," Best told CNN. "Together, those 50-plus people gave more than $14 million, and to use, that represented the idea of a best school day."
Best says the response has been overwhelming -- in a good way.
"An outpouring of joy would not be an overstatement," he said.
The Ripple effect
Best says when the organization connected with Ripple, the cryptocurrency management company was "inspired to think of the impact" of such a significant gift.
"At Ripple, we care about giving back to our community and we collectively value the importance of quality education in developing the next generation of leaders," Ripple's SVP of Marketing Monica Long said in a statement.
"DonorsChoose.org's track record speaks for itself — they are highly effective at improving the quality of education and the experience of teachers and students across America. We're proud to work with them to support classroom needs across the country."
According to Ripple's company site, the donation will affect approximately 1 million public school students.
Best says the "classroom projects" requested on the site represent specific missions or activities that teachers have for their students.
"It's a public schoolteacher requesting a classroom library. A field trip. A set of art supplies. A pair of microscopes. It's about requesting experiences or tools to provide a student learning experience," he said.
"We believe in the wisdom of the front lines," Best added. "Hardworking, passionate teachers know their students' needs better than anyone else in the school environment. If we can tap into their needs, we can unleash smarter solutions and empower those people on the front lines."