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Cryptocurrency Company's $29 Million Donation Funds Thousands Of Classroom Projects

BOSTON (CBS) – A giant gift is making the dreams of thousands of students and teachers all across the country come true. The gift came from technology startup Ripple, in the form of $29 million.

That money will pay for about 35,000 classroom crowdfunding projects posted on the website WBZ spoke to local teachers who say the funding will make a big difference.

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Students at a classroom benefited by (Photo credit:

Stephen Colbert made it public on last night's Late Show. "I have a huge announcement about one of my favorite charities,," he told the audience.

Donors Choose is a nonprofit where teachers post requests for things their students and classrooms need. Anyone can give money to any project. Donors Choose just got a $29-milllion donation from a California company called Ripple, that will pay for every single classroom project on the site. That's 35,000 projects.

"It's a million students and teachers who are getting books, art supplies, field trips, robotics kits," says Charles Best, the website's founder.

Felicia Spencer, an English Language Arts teacher, and Tom Shull, a speech pathologist, team teach at Snowden International High School in Boston. The huge donation will fund six projects for them. "Chairs. I needed enough chairs for my classroom. We don't always have enough places for people to sit," says Shull.

Felicia Spencer
Felicia Spencer and Thomas Shull (WBZ-TV)

Spencer will get "no fear" Shakespeare books for her class. "It puts the original version next to a modern day translation so that it makes the text more comprehensible for my students," she says.

It's not the first time they've posted requests on Donors Choose. Between them they've had nearly 60 projects funded. "I've gotten Donors Choose donations for bookshelves, tables, chairs, paper, printer ink," Spencer says.

In a world where public school teachers dig into their own pockets to buy supplies, this system fills a growing gap. "To make a difference in more than one student's life at a time, it's priceless," Spencer says. "It gives us the tools to do it. It gives us the tools to dream," adds Shull.

Now that the current project requests are covered, a new round of funding requests will begin to be posted on Donors Choose. And they'll be looking for donations to pay for those.

Best says teachers' classrooms dreams have come through in one fell swoop. That's evident in the jubilant comments on's Facebook page.

"We are getting flooded with the most heartfelt, inspiring and generous stories," he said. "It's like joy pouring forth."

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