Faces in the crowd: WNC crowdfunding initiatives

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 will highlight notable WNC crowdsourcing initiatives that may inspire readers to become new faces in the crowd.


Luke Hankins, published writer and senior editor at Asheville Poetry Review, started nonprofit Orison Books to address a void in the content presented by publishing companies. According to Hankins, literary publishers rarely emphasize “books of spiritual depth,” while religious publishers narrowly target readers with specific ideological backgrounds. The mission of Orison Books is to publish poetry, fiction and nonfiction content that contributes to open-ended contemplation of spiritual topics, and the company also aims to engage readers through community events. Hankins has already raised $6,500 offline to establish his nonprofit. His additional goal of $40,000 by Sept. 13, will fund publishing books by early 2015.


Arty Lila, an aptly named Asheville-area teen, recently completed her first year at Arthur Morgan School, a Quaker boarding school just north of Asheville that emphasizes hands-on learning, creative self-expression and inquisitive thinking. In her campaign video, the theatrical youth details valuable life skills she’s learned at AMS (including carp fishing) and explains how the school’s sense of community has become a much-needed support system. Ninth grade will be the last year that this ambitious young woman can attend AMS, so she aims to raise $9,900 (in addition to what she’s raised offline) by Sept. 12, to cover tuition.

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.


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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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2 thoughts on “Faces in the crowd: WNC crowdfunding initiatives

  1. Justin Crowder

    The Orison project is intriguing for people who like to read, and are spiritually minded. Many protestant publishers disappoint people who want above all an interesting experience with a book, but also concur with (for example) the spiritual perspective of the New Testament. Like the ghetto of Christian music, Christian authors are either liberal pricks or boring didactic conservatives (it seems). At least that’s what I think, and what I generally feel, while I should admit to being not a particularly close observer of religious book publishing.

  2. Kat McReynolds

    Justin — Neither am I a close observer of religious publishing, so it’s hard to comment on your assessment of the publishing industry as it relates to spiritual and religious material. I am, however, glad that you came across this article and that you’ve taken an interest in the Orison project. Here’s hoping it will provide readers (including yourself) with the “interesting experience” you mention.

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