Faces in the crowd: WNC crowdfunding initiatives

IT TAKES A VILLAGE: David Lamotte's forthcoming album The Other Way Around calls on many artistic contributors like producers Chris Rosser, left, and Tom Prasada-Rao, right. Other guest players include Ed King of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Graham Sharp and Nicky Sanders from Steep Canyon Rangers, Tim O'Brien,David Holt and David Wilcox. Still frame from Lamotte's campaign video

Crowdfunding platforms make it possible for individuals and organizations of any size to harness social networks and raise startup 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.

David LaMotte’s twelfth album

Singer/songwriter David LaMotte cranked out 10 albums in the first 15 years of his music career (plus a retrospective compilation). And though he’s continued to write and perform for the past decade, his recent music has gone unrecorded. “I was doing a few things in those 10 years,” he explains, but that’s putting it mildly. LaMotte completed a master’s degree in international studies, peace and conflict resolution in Australia; wrote and released two books — Worldchanging 101: Challenging the Myth of Powerlessness and White Flour; served on the American Friends Service Committee Nobel Peace Prize Nominating Committee; traveled to India and through Africa and the Middle East; founded a nonprofit to support education in Guatemala; and became a dad. “Now I’m back in the studio trying to put all that story into song and capture these stories in one album,” he says. To that end, he’s recruited guests artists from every continent to play traditional instruments and “every kind of guitar-shaped-thing you can imagine” on The Other Way Around. Some of those contributors will rejoin LaMotte at his album release show at Diana Wortham Theatre on Friday, Sept. 2, but first, he aims to raise $36,300 by Thursday, June 9, to pay for recording and musician fees plus design, manufacturing and photography costs.

The Foundation Spot gets legitimate

The Foundation Spot began its transformation from abandoned building site to skateboarding hub around 2008, as volunteers upgraded — and, of course, tagged — the site’s terrain without permission for years. “The threat of bulldozer and jackhammer destroying our dreamy wasteland was always a real concern,” reads a crowdfunding page for the DIY haven, “but in 2015 the property sold and the new owners recognized the cultural landmark the community had created. Amazingly, they want us to keep building and are leasing the skate park to us for next to nothing.” Still, every ollie and boardslide comes with liability, so the owners are requiring The Foundation’s leadership to acquire insurance. The group, which is in the process of becoming a nonprofit called Asheville Skate Foundation, aims to raise $6,000 toward a policy, and excess funds will be used to add physical features to the beloved slab of concrete.

Santosha Chocolates’ expansion

“We stone-grind our cacao beans for two days with just one grinder running 24/7,” says local chocolatier Don Rowe. “Our lonely grinder desperately needs a partner.” In the three years since Rowe started Santosha Chocolates, he’s expanded to supply 200 stores in 42 states. A second grinder, he says, would allow the company to double its production of raw, vegan, organic, paleo chocolate bars, which are made with medicinal herbs and superfoods. The health-conscious entrepreneur aims to raise $9,987 to purchase the second grinder and increase production to 14,000 bars per month.

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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