Crowdfunding platforms make it possible for individuals and organizations of any size to harness social networks and raise start-up capital for projects that might otherwise fail due to lack of funding. Each week, Xpress highlights notable Western North Carolina crowdsourcing initiatives that may inspire readers to become new faces in the crowd.
Women Who Made Music History concert series
For about a decade, local singers Paula Hanke and Peggy Ratusz have performed live tributes to their iconic predecessors like Etta James and Bonnie Raitt. So, their latest idea — a multi-artist tribute series backed by a professional marketing campaign and strategically performed in front of music industry professionals — was a natural next step. They’ve already booked a Linda Ronstadt-inspired concert at the Tryon Performing Arts Center for Sunday, Aug. 13.
The two say they created the Women Who Made Music History concept “because we are passionate about singing and performing, and we are dedicated to sharing this meaningful project as our personal and primary musical commitment as we move forward. … We see the importance in continuing to bring women to the forefront, as their greatness is often muted or dimmed. We also feel a sense of responsibility to share with our young and upcoming sisters about the courageous souls who have preceded them — and to empower and encourage them and bring more love and connection to this planet in our own way.” The duo aims to raise $20,000 to pay for a variety of expenses, including studio recordings, promotional videos, song licensing, photo shoots, industry conference fees, lawyer and accountant fees, graphic design, advertisements, costumes, accommodations, merchandise and more.
Eliminating shame and debt from school lunch
“What started out as a desire to pay other children’s lunch debt at my son’s school — so no child would be excluded from field day — has morphed into an effort to assist all 44 Buncombe County schools,” Karina Barnes writes on her crowdfunding page. The concerned parent clarifies that guardians who are able to pay their kids’ lunch balance are still encouraged to do so, but her campaign exists to help those who simply do not have the funds. Upon researching the issue, Barnes found that schools in other states have addressed the same problem. For example, New Mexico recently passed a law barring tactics that shame children to coerce payment by their parents. “We are not trying to demonize any individual administrators, but [we are] outraged at the tactic being used to collect student debt by some Buncombe County schools,” she concludes. Barnes aims to raise $10,000 to repay lunch debts countywide. Concerned individuals can also contact her about getting further involved in the issue.
Erwin High School students compete in national race
A group of female students from Erwin High School has qualified to participate in the 27th New Balance Nationals Outdoor. The event takes place in Greensboro in mid-June, drawing thousands of athletes from across the country to compete in track and field disciplines. “These girls have worked so hard for this,” writes the group’s leader Melissa Borum. “Even though they qualified as a team with the school, the school can’t help them get there because nationals is not considered a school-sponsored event.” With Borum’s crowdfunding assistance, the team has already surpassed its $1,000 goal to pay for registration, USA Track & Field memberships, hotel stays and other travel expenses.
Send your crowdsourcing campaign news to firstname.lastname@example.org. A limited number of campaigns will be highlighted each week, at Xpress’ discretion. Campaigns must be locally based and should represent a current project with an achievable goal. Conditions are subject to change. Read about more Western North Carolina projects here.