Faces in the crowd: WNC crowdfunding initiatives

"It's a long and wonderful journey that requires many hands on deck," says Rising Appalachia of their sixth, self-produced studio album. Image of Rising Appalachia by Honk-Honk Photography

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.


“We are moving in wider circles. We are opening our circles,” sing sisters Leah and Chloe Smith on the title track from their upcoming album Wider Circles. Perhaps the two, frontwomen of the soulful folk quartet Rising Appalachia, are referring to the increasingly interactive support system surrounding their music making — a collaborative infrastructure that involves the sisters reaching out to fans more often. “This new album funding platform is just another way that we can make sure our project stays grassroots and in our own hands,” they say. “We’re learning the power of asking, the give and take, the power of connection and collaboration and unity.” Rising Appalachia is recording Wider Circles, the band’s sixth studio album in eight years, with an intentionally slower-than-usual pace at Echo Mountain Recording Studio this winter. They aim to raise $30,000 by Monday, Jan. 26, to tour more sustainably and record the album, which will then be used as “a tool for empowerment” in the siblings’ activist projects like mountaintop conservation, indigenous land and language preservation and other nonprofit outreach.


“Our village needs an inclusive playground — a place where children of all developmental stages can cultivate independence and social interaction through play,” reads the campaign page of the Hendersonville Inclusive Playground Project (HIPP). An existing playground at Hendersonville Elementary School “precludes children with disabilities from fully participating, restricting their opportunity for physical and social development.” This separation, the HIPP team says, could be transformed into a fully inclusive community playground, complete with a handicap-accessible ramp, new ground-covering materials and upgraded equipment. For this, HIPP leaders aim to raise $175,000 by early 2015.

Image from HIPP campaign page
Image from HIPP campaign page

Send your crowdsourcing campaign news to kmcreynolds@mountainx.com. 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 WNC projects here.

About Kat McReynolds
Kat studied entrepreneurship and music business at the University of Miami and earned her MBA at Appalachian State University. Follow me @katmAVL

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