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$1M for ‘Rainbow’ promises Seth MacFarlane

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Seth MacFarlane, the mastermind behind the animated series “Family Guy” and movie “Ted” has promised to match up to $1 million in pledges made on the Kickstarter website for “Reading Rainbow”, reported The Huffington Post on June 27, 2014. MacFarlane came to the rescue of friend LeVar Burton and his fundraising effort after hearing at least $5 million needed to be raised so a new “Reading Rainbow” format can be created for schools.

Reading Rainbow”, a beloved childhood staple for many, is an American children's television series that aired on PBS from June 6, 1983, until November 10, 2006, that encouraged children to read. So beloved, in fact, that it is the third-longest running children's series in PBS history, after the popular “Mister Rogers' Neighborhood” and “Sesame Street” series.

Each episode of “Reading Rainbow” centered on a theme from a book, or other children's literature, which was explored through a number of segments or stories. The show also recommended books for kids to look for when they went to the library. LeVar Burton, who was host of “Reading Rainbow” through 2009 said in a posting on Kickstarter, "It was my mother who taught me that, by picking up a book, I could 'go anywhere' and 'be anything.” It is obvious to “Reading Rainbow” viewers that Burton channeled this enthusiasm for reading to the show.

On June 20, 2012, the Reading Rainbow App was released for the iPad, which allows children to read unlimited books, explore video field trips starring Burton, and earn rewards for reading. But according to Time.com, as Burton notes on his Kickstarter page, tablets aren’t accessible to everyone. This is where the Kickstarter campaign comes in.

The soon-to-be educator-specific format of “Reading Rainbow” will be available for free to 1,500 of the neediest and underfunded classrooms with the first $1 million in donations, according to RRKidz, the for-profit company co-founded by Burton. This will all be possible now with the help of Seth MacFarlane, who Burton said he was left nearly speechless by the "extraordinary generosity" of his friend.

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