Education

Why teachers on the Coast got awesome news from Stephen Colbert

Brittany Holifield, left, and Lindsey Bounds were among the 28,210 public school teachers nationally who had their projects funded on DonorsChoose.org, thanks to a $29 million donation from Ripple.
Brittany Holifield, left, and Lindsey Bounds were among the 28,210 public school teachers nationally who had their projects funded on DonorsChoose.org, thanks to a $29 million donation from Ripple. Lindsey Bounds

Lindsey Bounds' phone buzzed several times before she awoke on Wednesday, asking about the good news.

Was she among the thousands of teachers on Donorschoose.org who had projects fully funded by a $29 million donation from Ripple?

Bounds, a third-grade teacher at West Hancock Elementary School, had a hunch Tuesday that her class might be looking at a sizable donation when she received an email from the crowd-sourcing website that suggested she watch "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert."

"I knew something was up," Bounds said Wednesday after school.

As it turns out, Ripple, which deals in digital currency, "shut down" Donors Choose by donating $29 million. The money ultimately fulfilled 35,647 requests from 28,210 public school teachers across the country — including a joint effort from Bounds and co-worker Brittany Holifield, along with countless others across the Coast.

Combined, Holifield and Bounds asked for four sets of chapter books — so 150 total, including a supplement book — worth more than $1,100.

"One of the books we put on there is a book our library has but they're basically falling apart," Bounds said. "We're like kids on Christmas morning.

"It's super exciting."

Considering teachers get a limited amount of money from the state at the start of each year and then must dip into their own pockets to buy hundreds of dollars' worth of necessary supplies for the school year, Wednesday's good news was emotionally moving.

"It was awesome to realize that not only are there still good people out there, but there are people who care just as much about the education system as we do," Bounds said. "We're not in it for the money.

"It just validates what you're doing and helps you know you're not alone. It gives you hope."

Patrick Ochs, 228-896-2326, @PatrickOchs
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