As teachers in Oklahoma struggle to provide the bare minimum of supplies, like books and chairs, amid a budget shortfall for the state’s education, other educators across the country just got a major boost of funding from an unexpected source. 

Last week Ripple, a virtual currency company, invested an enormous sum of money — $29 million — to fully fund tens of thousands of teacher projects posted to the crowdfunding site, the New York Times reports.

The donation will provide everything from laptops to learning trips, and is expected to affect as many as 1 million low-income students in 16,500 public schools across the US, according to Charles Best, chief executive of Donors Choose. 

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“A million students, overwhelmingly in low-income communities, are going to feel the impact of this gift within the next few weeks,” Best said in a statement

Donors Choose will receive the money and send the materials directly to the teachers that requested them. 

Ripple’s investment easily topped Donors Choose’s previous record of $9 million, according to the New York Times. In 2010, an investment of $1.3 million was enough to cover 2,233 projects across the state of California

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Ripple, a cryptocurrency similar to Bitcoin, plans to continue to fund education projects of this nature. 

And in an era where virtual currencies are polluting the environment and messing with the global economy, Ripple is showing cryptocurrencies’ potential for good. 

“Education is definitely an area we really care about, and you can expect from us further investment there,” Ripple’s senior vice president of marketing, Monica Long, said.

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For teachers like Sarah Moulder at Ravenswood Middle School in East Palo Alto, the funding will allow her to create experiences for her students that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise — such as providing musical equipment to students who are experiencing homelessness, the San Francisco Chronicle reported

“The kids come from very, very, very poor homes,” she told the Chronicle. “I want them to have equal footing.”

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Defeat Poverty

A $29 Million Donation Helped Fund 35,000 Projects for Teachers Across the US

By Phineas Rueckert