Comedian Stephen Colbert announced Thursday that he will be funding $800,000 in grants to public school teachers in his native South Carolina. The money will be used to fulfill all outstanding requests made by the state's teachers on the crowdfunding site DonorsChoose.org -- almost 1,000 projects in over 375 schools, Greenville Online reports.
On DonorsChoose.org, teachers list "projects" they'd like to have funded at their schools. They range from getting basic supplies in classrooms to more high-tech items such as laptops and iPads. In the requests Colbert has pledged to fund, teachers sought money for motivational posters, books with more diverse protagonists, tie-dye kits, musical instruments, gym equipment and, simply, pencils.
Colbert, who is on DonorsChoose.org's board of directors, partnered with Share Fair Nation and ScanSource to make the contributions. He raised the money by auctioning off set pieces from his former show, "The Colbert Report."
"I commend Stephen, Share Fair Nation, and Greenville's own ScanSource for the support that they have given the dedicated and hardworking teachers of South Carolina through this gracious gift. I know these teachers will use it in a way that improves the quality of education for South Carolina's students,” said Molly Spearman, state superintendent of education, according to WCBD News.
The announcement Thursday was a surprise. The comedian videoconferenced with Alexander Elementary School in Greenville to tell them the news. Nearly 100 percent of Alexander students qualify for free or reduced lunches. Colbert's funding will provide the school with books, bulletin boards, carpet, basic school supplies, and a trampoline and treadmill for sensory therapy.