Faces in the crowd: WNC crowdfunding initiatives

SIDEWALK STANZAS: Nomadic poet Phil Krell is working on self-publishing his first book following a year on the road. Photo courtesy of Krell

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.

Phil Krell’s debut poetry book

For the past year, literary busker Phil Krell has traveled the country, funding his ventures by providing poetry-on-demand on city streets. “Using my way with words, life experience and connections formed in short conversations, I have been able to illuminate situations in the lives of new friends,” he says. “Happily, I can say that, across the U.S., my poems are framed on new friends’ walls — in an exalted place of honor.” But Krell has different plans for some of his more recent writings. He’s working to aggregate and format them into a self-published collection. “I will be touching on the call of the road, the different landscapes I have hiked through and most importantly, the beautiful people I have [written] these poems for,” he says of the project’s themes. The young writer aims to raise $750 by Friday, Sept. 9, to cover the cost of printing his roughly 45-page debut book.

Phil Krell
Photo courtesy of Krell

All Terrain Electric Fat Bike

From the makers of the lightweight All-Go bike comes a heftier set of wheels: the All Terrain Electric Fat Bike. This wide-wheeled (4.5 inches) mode of alternative transportation makes riding feasible under various conditions, “from deep snow to soft sand to city streets,” according to its crowdfunding page. A battery-powered motor can get users up to a speed of 20 miles per hour or provide a boost of assistance on inclines. M2S Bikes has already surpassed its $12,500 goal, but the local business will continue to administer presales through the campaign deadline on Friday, Sept. 9.

Halting development near Lake Louise

“It’s time we all pushed back against the developers and not just give in,” reads a Facebook post by the Lake Louise Preservation Association. “The Appalachians are beautiful and irreplaceable, as are their historic small towns.” The LLPA has been actively opposing a proposed 21-unit housing development aside Weaverville’s Lake Louise. So far, the outcry has resulted in mandated project delays, but a public hearing hosted by The Town of Weaverville Zoning Board of Adjustment on Monday, Sept. 12, will determine further action. LLPA aims to raise $7,500 through crowdfunding to pay for legal fees already incurred and those that may arise through further protest.

Lake Louise
Image from LLPA’s campaign page

Brother Wolf Animal Rescue’s flood relief efforts

Brother Wolf Animal Rescue is just one of the Asheville organizations that sent aid to Louisiana following recent heavy flooding in the state. The organization’s volunteers and staff members are conducting search and rescue operations for pets and strays left behind. “We are still finding so many animals in the field in desperate need of help,” reads a Sept. 1, Facebook post by Brother Wolf. “We can not in good faith leave these animals without any help. We are told, over and over again, that there was a huge stray animal problem before the flood, and we get that. But now there are no humans left in these neighborhoods to toss out a bone every now and then or leave some cats a bowl of food.” The nonprofit is still sending waves of volunteers to Louisiana, seeking warehouse space for animal rehabilitation in the Livingston Parish area. Brother Wolf is accepting donations to fund these efforts.

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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