In late March 2018, as many schools prepared for spring break, San Francisco-based tech startup Ripple paid for all the donation request on the teacher fundraising site DonorsChoose.org – giving a total of $29 million to U.S. classrooms. Teachers can ask for anything from basic school supplies to field trip expenses on the site. The more than 35,600 projects already on the site this week have now been fully funded.
Ripple focuses on providing cross-border global banking and payment options. It is the creator and majority shareholder of the cryptocurrency XRP, which is “built on the principles of blockchain” technology, and which it uses to fuel its banking solutions. This is the biggest known donation ever made in cryptocurrency to a charity or to DonorsChoose.org in general.
“In 18 years of doing DonorsChoose.org, we have honestly, honestly, never been this excited. I would say it’s the dream coming true, except we never had this dream because it would have been too crazy to even say,” DonorsChoose.org founder Charles Best told the San Francisco Chronicle.
Best “dared himself” to email Ripple Founder Chris Larsen because Larsen had donated to the group in the past. While he worried the Ripple team would be put off by the “ridiculousness” of the ask, the executives apparently saw this move as a way to honor all of their beloved former teachers.
“Education is definitely an area we really care about, and you can expect from us further investment there,” Monica Long, senior vice president of marketing, said, mentioning her high school world history teacher as one of her personal favorites.
Microscopes, backpacks, markers and sports equipment are among the rewards teachers will now be able to purchase. One high school teacher is fulfilling her dream to take a group of environmental science students camping in the Grand Canyon. And for teachers whose school districts and local families lack essential funding, DonorsChoose.org can be a crucial lifeline for daily learning needs.
The big donation was kept secret to prevent the site from being overrun with new requests. One of the main routes of release was through an announcement by host of “The Late Show” Stephen Colbert Tuesday night. Colbert refers to the charity as one of his “favorites,” and he’s backed up that claim – in 2015, he personally funded all the grant request for South Carolina public schools, totaling more than $800,000.
DonorsChoose.org and Ripple also teamed up to promote the news on social media, with videos encouraging teachers to share their plans for spending the money with #BestSchoolDay.
DonorsChoose.org charges $30 per teacher project funding request. Ripple’s donation will be converted from XRP into USD. XRP is the world’s third-largest cryptocurrency in March 2018, by its market cap of about $22 billion.
Ripple aims to serve consumers, businesses and banks around the world by providing real time settlement for cross-border payments that can typically take days. Banks can use Ripple’s decentralized network to securely send encrypted information between customers and facilitate transfers. It offers current bank fees, FX (exchange) rates and delivery times to customers before approval and can typically carry out transactions in between five and 10 seconds.