The Internet is alight with the news that an intrepid potato salad enthusiast has broken new boundaries in the world of crowdfunding. A recent change to Kickstarter's rules made it so you can leverage the spending power of the Internet to fund pretty much anything. Zack Brown decided to ask for $10 to help him on his quest to make a decent bowl of potato salad. As of 1 pm PT on July 8, he's made more than $63,000.
People who are trying to raise money for somewhat more legitimate causes are not particularly amused by Brown's success. Kenya Tucker, a special needs educator in the metro Atlanta area, was using GoFundMe to raise enough money to buy three iPad Minis for her classroom. Her cousin, Danielle Lee, vented on Twitter about the difficulty she'd been having raising the funds. As of Monday, Tucker had only received $45.
Fortunately, another Internet phenomenon stepped in to help. Sarcastic Rover (@sarcasticrover)—a parody account of the Mars Curiosity Rover that has more than 120,000 followers on Twitter—took note and RT'd her. Moments later, donations began pouring in.
"My favorite robot on Mars told me about you! Go Sarcastic Rover!" commented one donor.
"Thanks to Sarcastic Rover for retweeting!" said another.
Within a couple of hours, Tucker had exceeded her fundraising goal. Lee, a biologist and outreach scientist who lives in Ithaca, New York, was overjoyed.
She told Fusion she'd been working all day and hadn't realized what had happened until she looked at the crowdfunding page after she got home.
"I came back from work and was like, wow, it got funded," Lee said. "I saw someone say 'Sarcastic Rover put you at the top' … I'm still kind of surprised."
Lee hasn't been able to catch up with her cousin yet—"I think she's still in class!"—but is sure the extra money will be put to good use in her classroom.
"I know she’s always doing programs with her kids. They just went on a field trip to the Civil Rights Institute in Alabama. She really enriches her classroom," Lee said. "She's always doing great stuff for her kids."
It's nice to see Internet memes using their power for good. Thanks, Sarcastic Rover!