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.
Reason to Bake’s business expansion
Elise Sampson and her daughter Carolyn say their cookie company’s mission is twofold: “The first goal is to provide gluten free cookies that are so good you will never miss the gluten,” reads their crowdfunding page. “The second is to allow Carolyn to achieve her dream of becoming a baker and to provide other intellectually disabled adults employment opportunities.” Carolyn, who has Down syndrome, was recently put on a gluten-free diet, which prompted her and her mother to improve the taste of commercially available gluten-free sweets. Operating in that niche, they’ve grown Reason to Bake’s distribution to include 14 retail outlets in Western North Carolina — a scope they hope to widen by switching to shipping-friendly packaging. This would allow for online sales, too, Elise points out. The Sampsons aim to raise $20,000 by Friday, Oct. 14, to purchase new packaging, which a group of Clemson University students has already designed for them, and to cover shipping fees for future orders.
A is for Awkward by Aryelle Jacobsen
Remember how awful those pre-teen years could get? It’s fresh in the mind of AC Reynolds High School student Aryelle Jacobsen, who hopes to do something supportive for youths wading through the maturation process. “I saw that in middle school, kids’ confidence levels were either made or broken,” she says in her crowdfunding video, noting the link between self-esteem and decision making. Jacobsen’s remedy for the lack of helpful resources is a compilation of practical advice from teens. In the book, each letter of the alphabet coincides to a key topic, which is elaborated on in an encouraging tone. The last page includes contact information for resources like suicide and eating disorder hotlines. The young author aims to raise $1,000 to pay for copy editing and publishing (with digital and physical copies), and eventually, she hopes to distribute the book among pediatricians’ offices and middle schools around the country.
The Vocabulary of Joy by Julie Parker
For Julie Parker, 2013 brought big changes: She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and underwent significant surgery as a result. “When they told me it was time for chemo, I told them ‘no, thank you,’ and began a journey of healing relying totally on the abundance of nature — and on my village, because I found it takes a village to heal from cancer.” The new perspectives Parker gained about healing during that transition are contained in her forthcoming book The Vocabulary of Joy: Celebrating the Blessings of Life with Cancer. She aims to raise $600, ideally by Monday, Oct. 3, to obtain an ISBN for the work and to pay for printing initial copies. The book launch, she hopes, will occur later in October.
Send your crowdsourcing campaign news to firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.