DonorsChoose.org announced yesterday that San Francisco-based Ripple have donated $29 million, funding every single classroom project request on the nonprofit’s website. The donation — which is largest cryptocurrency donation ever — fulfilled 35,647 requests from 28,210 public school teachers in every state. In all, 16,561 public schools — or 1 in 6 of all the public schools in America — will receive much needed resources, from “colored pencils and books, to butterfly cocoons and robotics kits,” vital for learning.
Charles Best, Founder and CEO of DonorsChoose.org, said he approached Ripple based on CEO Brad Garlinghouse’s previous involvement with the foundation. Garlinghouse has been a supporter of the nonprofit for years thanks to the involvement of his sister, Meg Garlinghouse, who has worked with the charity from the start when it was operating out of Best’s classroom in the Bronx, New York. Best sent Ripple executives an email laying out the possible impact of fulfilling the teachers’ requests:
“To my own shock, they said yes,” said Best, who founded the charity 18 years ago. “It was mind-blowing that it would be the largest donation of cryptocurrency.”
Ripple is a startup developing a network for faster global financial payments; XRP is the name of the digital token that financial institutions on the network can use to transact quickly. This is the biggest effort so far by the company to formalize a social good program, according to Monica Long, Senior Vice President of Marketing. And Ripple isn’t finished: Long said to expect more education-focused philanthropy in the future from the fintech company.
“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,” said Long. “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.”
DonorsChoose.org agreed to liquidate the cryptocurrency into U.S. dollars over a two week period, according to Long, in attempts to avoid affecting its market price. Under normal circumstances the charity’s policy, which also applies to donated shares of a company, is to sell right away.
Ripple executives are not the first in the crypto community to use digital currency for philanthropy — just today it was announced that startup OmiseGo, in collaboration with Ethereum co-founder, Vitalik Buterin, donated $1 million in cryptocurrency to an East Africa-based charity called GiveDirectly.
“We are awestruck by the generosity of the Ripple team. Their gift will provide learning materials and experiences to more than a million students, overwhelmingly in low-income communities,” said Best. “I doubt that there has ever been a day when more classroom dreams came true.”