Faces in the crowd: WNC crowdfunding initiatives

ENGINEERING THE FUTURE: The Guzzoline Robotics team, which recently won a state-level competition, formed through local nonprofit Ashebots. A-B Tech provides a space for the youths of Ashebots to explore robotics concepts with guidance from adult mentors several times per week. Photo from Ashebots' campaign page

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.

Ashebots FTC 7300 advances in FIRST Tech Challenge

Ashebots is a local educational group that gives youths in middle school and high school the opportunity to learn about and compete in the rapidly developing field of robotics. Members meet year-round and participate in programs through international organization FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), including the FIRST Tech Challenge. During that recent competition, Asheville’s Guzzoline Robotics team (also known as Ashebots FTC 7300) placed first at the state level after being “challenged to design, build, program and operate robots to play a floor game in an alliance format,” according to FIRST’s website. The action continues Wednesday to Friday, March 9-11, as the team represents North Carolina at the Southern Regionals in San Antonio, Tex. “These honors bring us closer to our ultimate goal — qualifying for the World Championship,” the group writes on its campaign page. Ashebots FTC 7300 aims to raise $18,000 “to take our robot to the next level, purchase backup parts, fly to and house our team members in San Antonio and be ready for winning again and advancing to Worlds.”

Image from Ashebots FTC 7300 campaign page
Image from Ashebots FTC 7300 campaign page

Jason Chestnut’s To Live and Die in Avalon

Write a book, get it published, distribute to readers. Though drastically over-simplified, that’s the formerly accepted path to becoming a novelist. But publishing platform Inkshares is turning the order of operations on its head, inviting writers to market their story concepts to potential readers before earning editing services and publishing contracts based upon the number of pre-orders secured. Local author Jason Chestnut has entered his drafted manuscript To Live and Die in Avalon into just such a contest seeking space-themed adventures. He describes this debut novel as “a retro-futurist pulp space opera starring a daring female secret agent on a mission to save the galaxy — ’60s spy movies meets classic science fiction serials.” Chestnut aims to rise into the top three most pre-ordered submissions in Inkshare’s contest, which runs through Tuesday, March 15, in order to automatically qualify to be published. After that time period, he’ll need to amass 250 pre-orders to become published through the platform.

A.C. Reynolds High School’s marching band uniforms

The marching band at A.C. Reynolds High wants to look polished in addition to sounding great. And so the growing group of music lovers is crowdfunding its way toward 25 additional uniforms. “The kids in the ACRHS music department all have a great circle of friends, but marching band makes them an even more tight-knit group who ultimately become as close as family for a lifetime,” reads the campaign page. “If you have been a band student, been a part of a school music department, just love music or simply appreciate the amazing atmosphere the marching band creates at a Friday night football game, then please consider donating to this great need.” The band aims to raise $9,000 to buy a set of uniforms priced at $350 per person.

Image from AC Reynolds' campaign page
Image from AC Reynolds’ 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 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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