People Helping People Through Local Crowdfunding Efforts

By: Scott Davis | August 25, 2014

One thing that is certain about the people of Detroit and all of southeast Michigan is that we are an extremely creative bunch. From startup businesses to art festivals and everything in between, there is always something going on in our area. These things don’t just magically appear. There are great, creative minds behind it all. The next great idea is out there, but it may not have funding or the proper resources yet. “Crowdfunding” and “crowdsourcing” have become something of a new phenomenon and have helped fund hundreds of thousands of projects over the past few years.

Sources like KickstarterGoFundMeIndiegogo and CrowdRise have been helping projects and ideas take off. Some are for an individual purpose (nothing wrong with that), but others are looking to help a community, city or something even larger. There are several projects around Detroit with the hopes of bettering the city.

Last month, I wrote a story about Forgotten Harvest’s effort to raise money for a new truck.The charity needed a new truck to rescue food surpluses and deliver the food to the needy (P.S.: Ninety-six percent of the goal has been reached, there is still time to donate until Aug. 31). Efforts like this had me wondering—what other cool projects benefiting Detroit are out there?

For instance, this project on Kickstarter wants to turn abandoned lots into scenic community gardens. The people of the Latin Americans for Social and Economic Development organization are the pioneers of this idea.This project aims to build a more beautiful Detroit. It has a goal of $2,000. Kickstarters are all or nothing, so help them reach that mark! You can also help by donating tools or volunteering!

Another intriguing campaign I’ve recently come across is the Rock Detroit Challenge on CrowdRise, which is challenging everyone in the Detroit area to raise awareness and money for a local Detroit charity of his or her choice. You can either start your own team, or join an existing one and start spreading the word. There are even prizes you can win! We’ve all seen how effective awareness campaigns can be through the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that has swarmed your social media feed lately (yes, I did pour a bucket of ice water on my head, as well as donate to the ALS Foundation). Perhaps this campaign might have the same effect.

An innovative crowdfunding campaign comes to us via a partnership from Patronicity (another crowdfunding source) and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation through CrowdfundingMI.com. The MEDC will match funds raised dollar for dollar up to $100,000 for the project that will transform abandoned parts of the city into bike paths, “pocket” parks, public sculpture projects, farmers markets, plazas and much more! If you would like to donate to the cause, apply today!

Detroit Soup is a monthly dinner that helps fund creative projects by way of “micro-grants.” You can call it a crowdfunding potluck. How it works is everybody who attends the event donates $5 at the door, which gets you soup, salad and bread. Attendees then hear pitches from four presenters who have a dream of starting a creative project—anything from starting a recreational sports league to cleaning up parks and streets. After each presenter has pitched his or her idea, it is then voted on by the attendees. Whoever received the most votes takes home all of the money that day to use toward his or her project. Such an awesome idea!

As you can see, there are many ideas just waiting to happen around Detroit. There are also many ways to help—by donating money, tools or your time. If you have your own idea or project and need help with funds and resources, then crowdfunding is the perfect medium to do so. Just know some of the platforms charge a percentage of your funds and some platforms are all or nothing—you must raise all funds in order to walk away with any money.

If you do have a project in mind, or would like to help somebody with their dream, please visit any of the crowdfunding mediums mentioned above. Go do something great!