Original Wordle app creator talks about donating unexpected earnings to Oakland nonprofit

ByMichelle Hong KGO logo
Wednesday, February 16, 2022
Wordle app creator talks about donating unexpected earnings to charity
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The developer of the app Wordle has donated money made from his game to charity after people downloaded it mistaking it for the viral web game.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A game app created 5 years ago for fun by then 18-year-old developer blew up in downloads recently, thanks to its namesake of the viral browser game Wordle. And as a result, children in Oakland are benefitting.

The creator behind the original Wordle app Steven Cravotta and Ty-licia Hooker, the executive director of Boost! joined "Getting Answers" on Tuesday to talk about a windfall of a turn of events that's now helping kids.

Cravotta says it all started when Wordle, the iOS app he created to brush up on his coding skills, started seeing light.

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"I was doing one two downloads a day and then all of a sudden a couple weeks ago, I checked my developer dashboard and the graph just went vertical and I was getting 50,000 downloads every day," Cravotta said. He thinks users probably wanted to play the web Wordle game, the smash hit by Josh Wardle which is a web browser board game.

Cravotta says he never wanted to profit off the fame. So when the earnings started to rack up, he reached out to Josh Wardle in hopes of donating the proceeds to charity. Together, both creators of Wordle chose to donate to Boost!, a Oakland-based nonprofit that provides tutoring and mentoring to kids in the city's vulnerable areas. Boost's executive director could not have been more thrilled.

"I was just super excited. I've actually played both games before. So I've been invested in this and all of our students and families and tutors are all excited and downloading the game. So we're all very, very happy," Hooker said. She says the donations would go towards maintaining their tutoring programs, providing items from backpacks to pillows for students in elementary to high schools.

So what's next for the young developer? Cravotta says his latest project is "Puff Count," a free app designed to help people quit vaping. Users can track their daily, weekly, and monthly nicotine intake and create their custom quit plan.

RELATED: The New York Times buys popular word game Wordle

To play Steven Cravotta's Wordle, you can download from the app store here.

To become a volunteer tutor with Boost!, you can visit the website here.