Faces in the crowd: WNC crowdfunding initiatives

The Appalachian Trail Game's special edition content has an even tighter focus on stewardship, according to founder and avid hiker Mark Hanf, who was inspired to create the first Thru Hike edition when he found a trashed campsite. He'll donate 5 percent of sales from the board game to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. Image from theatgame.com

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.

Thru Hike Appalachian Trail Game special edition

Last year, the makers of the Appalachian Trail Game raised $57,361 on Kickstarter to create and distribute their table-top board game, which educates players on all things backpacking — from safety tips to A.T.-related trivia. Since then, founder Mark Hanf has partnered with national game distributor Education Outdoors, Inc., and the film team behind A Walk in the Woods (based on the memoir of A.T. hiker Bill Bryson), allowing the nature enthusiast to purvey his team’s knowledge and appreciation of the trail to an even wider audience. Accordingly, he’s decided to pack as many stewardship lessons as possible into the 150 new cards comprising the second iteration. “As more people embark on their own A.T. adventures, trail management and resource protection becomes more important,” reads Hanf’s campaign page. “This year, in addition to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, we have partnered with Leave No Trace and the American Hiking Society to create the new content.” Hanf aims to raise $25,000 by Sunday, Sept. 27, to put out this special edition.

Orison Books’ new releases

“We at Orison Books believe that the best spiritual art and literature call us to meditate and contemplate, rather than asking us to adopt any ideology or set of propositions,” writes founder Luke Hankins on the nonprofit literary press’ campaign page. “We seek to publish non-fiction, fiction, and poetry that probe the nature and experience of being, that reach toward the subtler dimensions of perception, that engage the possibility of the divine, or that yearn with words toward the unsayable.” If that mission isn’t lofty enough, the organization is also dedicated to engaging its inquisitive readership in cultural dialogue by hosting classes and other events in-person. After securing nearly $5,000 in start-up capital through crowdfunding efforts last year, Orison released I Scrape the Window of Nothingness: New & Selected Poems by Stella Vinitchi Radulescu and Requiem for Used Ignition Cap by J. Scott Brownlee. Now the publisher aims to raise an additional $15,000 by Tuesday, Oct. 13, to design and print three more works: The Divine Magnet: Herman Melville’s Letters to Nathaniel Hawthorne, edited by Mark Niemeyer; Constellarium, the debut poetry collection by Jordan Rice; and The Orison Anthology, the first of a new series to consolidate each year’s best spiritual writings.

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 Western North Carolina projects here.


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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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