LOS ANGELES (AP) — LeVar Burton’s “Reading Rainbow” fundraising effort is getting a boost from a generous pal, Seth MacFarlane.
MacFarlane has promised to match up to $1 million in pledges made on the Kickstarter website, Burton said in a statement Thursday. MacFarlane’s offer is in effect through 3 p.m. EDT on July 2, when the online fundraiser is to conclude.
Burton said he was left nearly speechless by the “extraordinary generosity” of his friend, the TV and movie writer-producer-actor whose credits include “Ted” and “Family Guy.” MacFarlane’s spokeswoman confirmed the offer.
MacFarlane jumped in after hearing that “Reading Rainbow” needed to raise at least $5 million, Burton said. The Kickstarter campaign’s initial goal was $1 million.
More than $4 million had been pledged by 83,000-plus contributors as of Thursday afternoon.
Burton, star of “Roots and “Star Trek: Next Generation,” was host of the children’s literacy program that aired on public television through 2009. “Reading Rainbow” was launched as a best-selling tablet app in 2012, and aims to expand its reach with a $5 monthly online version.
An educator-specific format will be created for schools and made available free to at least 1,500 of the neediest classrooms, according to RRKidz, the for-profit company co-founded by Burton.
“It was my mother who taught me that, by picking up a book, I could ‘go anywhere’ and ‘be anything,'” Burton said in a posting on Kickstarter.
Contributors can claim rewards ranging from autographed memorabilia to a private dinner with Burton to a chance to put on the visor that the actor wore on “Star Trek.”