Actor LeVar Burton’s Kickstarter campaign to bring the nostalgic children’s learning show “Reading Rainbow” to more platforms and to thousands of classrooms for free closed last week, surpassing its goal of $5 million with total funding of over $5.4 million from more than 100,000 backers. That put Reading Rainbow’s crowdfunding campaign in the top five most successful Kickstarter projects of all time.
The project received a big boost from “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane who committed to donating $1 million. Burton also received additional support from several unexpected sources—the top four highest earning campaigns ever on the site: “Pebble,” “OUYA,” “Pono” and “Veronica Mars.” Each of the Kickstarter “All Stars” contributed a limited edition reward created specifically for the Reading Rainbow campaign. “This has been quite a journey for me. First, securing the rights to the brand and being in a position to determine the destiny of the brand is something I have wanted to do for a long time,” Burton told BlackEnterprise.com.
Originally, Burton had only announced plans to bring Reading Rainbow to the web, setting a fundraising goal of $1 million. Having hit the ambitious $5 million stretch mark, Burton’s company is now bringing Reading Rainbow to Android as well as the Xbox, PlayStation, Apple TV, and Roku. Some of the additional funding is also going toward giving schools free access to Reading Rainbow‘s website and apps. Burton plans to provide free access for a year to at least 7,500 classrooms in 2015.
Here are five of the most successful Crowdfunding campaigns to date: