This story originally appeared on NBC News
Comedian and talk show host Stephen Colbert on Thursday announced he is giving back to schools in his home state of South Carolina — funding some 1,000 grants made by public school teachers on education crowdfunding site DonorsChoose.
Colbert announced at a teacher’s panel in Greenville Thursday morning that he, along with organizations Share Fair Nation and ScanSource, are donating $800,000 to fund every one of the classroom projects listed by the site.
"Excuse me. Excuse me," Colbert said in a video made by DonorsChoose.org, interrupting the panel. "Did I just hear that South Carolina has never been flash-funded? … I am shocked." The comedian, who attended South Carolina public schools, then said he would be using the proceeds from the auction of his old “Colbert Report” set to fund the grants, along with matching funds by his partnering organizations. Colbert is a member of the board of directors at DonorsChoose.org, according to the organization.
Christopher Pearsall, a spokesman for DonorsChoose.org, told NBC News the announcement took place during their annual partner's summit and they used the occasion to surprise South Carolina elementary school teacher Damon Qualls, who participated in the panel at Alexander Elementary School."Everyone was really shocked and excited to see how this will impact individual classrooms in the state," Pearsall said.
Qualls, who will have five projects funded from Colbert’s announcement, said he was "speechless" following the news."We are so grateful," Qualls said in the video. "I’m actually speechless. This is unbelievable."The donations will fund grants requested for more than 800 teachers at roughly 375 schools, Pearsall said, with projects ranging from paying for books and paintbrushes, to field trips and technology for classrooms.