Media Industries, Ethics, and Digital Society
Edited By Lucy Bennett, Bertha Chin and Bethan Jones
Afterword: The Future of Crowdfunding
On 29 May 2014 my social mediasphere exploded with news that LeVar Burton’s Kickstarter campaign for a classroom app, based on his Reading Rainbow children’s television series, had made its one million dollar goal in less than 24 hours. Reading Rainbow had been a children’s public television series focusing on the importance of reading. The campaign, which aimed to bring an educational app based on the show into classrooms across the world, continued to generate momentum over the next month until it finally made over five million dollars by 2 July. In total over 105,000 people donated to the campaign (full disclosure, I am one of them), many of whom, I’m sure, were swayed to donate by their own special memories of watching Burton on Reading Rainbow or as Geordi La Forge on Star Trek: The Next Generation (full disclosure, I fall into both of those categories too). Those who donated to this Kickstarter campaign received special incentive awards, from a basic five dollar donation (“You’ll have LeVar’s gratitude AND make a difference!” which almost 20,000 people received) to the $10,000 donation (“the ULTIMATE STAR TREK ‘VISOR’ Package”). This single donor became the private guest of Burton and fellow Star Trek alum Brent Spiner (Data) at dinner in Los Angeles, got to wear the original VISOR that Burton wore as Geordi in Star Trek, and won free passes to a fan convention with autographed photos of Burton.
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