LeVar Burton Surpasses $1M Kickstarter Goal For ‘Reading Rainbow’ Project In 24 Hours

June 2, 2014  |  

Reading Rainbow, the PBS children’s program hosted by LeVar Burton that debuted in 1983 and went off the air in 2006,upset many with its departure. But Burton, who also executive produced the program, has managed to keep the project alive in some form or another in the time since. He launched the show as an app in 2012. And now his new venture is to take Reading Rainbow’s large digital library of books and videos to classrooms nationwide for free. But to do so Burton needs capital. So the Star Trek actor turned to Kickstarter to raise money. He launched his campaign last Wednesday to raise $1 million to launch his PBS children’s series online. Although Burton had allotted 35 days to raise the money, within 24 hours he had reached his goal.

“In fact, the Kickstarter page has surpassed the goal, with backers pledging more than $1.6 million to date,” reports The New York Daily News. Burton tweeted the good news with “#Grateful.” He also release a YouTube video showing him and his colleagues celebrating. “We just crossed the million-dollar threshold, it is our first day. I am overwhelmed. Thank you so much. This is going to enable us to really, really, really do a lot of good,” an emotional Burton said on the video.

Burton, whose work is clearly beloved by those who watched Reading RainbowStar Trek: The Next Generation or Roots, spoke with Entertainment Weekly about why this project is so important to him.

“America used to do an outstanding job of educating its populace. We used to be No. 1 in the world. Used to be, ” he said. “That is not true any longer. And if this nation wants to continue to consider itself the leader of the free world, then we need to do a much better job of educating our children. That’s just the truth. I’m going to call it like I see it.”

With so much time left for the campaign, Burton is now getting ambitious, sharing how the campaign would spend $5 million if it reached that dollar amount.

“We sat around last night and figured out that if we got to 5 million dollars — yesterday, at about this time, we got to 2.5 million dollars — if we could go twice as high and get to 5 million, that gets us, by anyone’s definition, universal access. Because that means Android, done. Mobile, done. So 5 million gets us all on those platforms, and it gives us the opportunity to give the school product to 7,500 classrooms. Free of charge,” he said.

So just because the goal has been reached doesn’t mean the job is done. If you’d like to contribute click here for the campaign.

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