Faces in the crowd: WNC crowdfunding initiatives

CHEERS TO THAT: "Ms. Earle coaches cheerleading [for the Asheville Youth Football and Cheerleading League], but she is also really a life coach and mentor for these girls," says Asheville City Schools Foundation executive director Kate Pett. "She tutors many of them, visits their teachers and communicates with their families regularly. She is really a life mentor and cheerleading is just the vehicle that engages these girls who really need someone just like her."

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.

Ms. Elinor Earle’s cheerleading team

Asheville City Schools Foundation executive director Kate Pett offers a glowing performance review of local cheerleading coach Elinor Earle before inviting donations for the youth squad. “For more than 20 years, she has helped girls experiencing poverty find self-worth through love, laughter and rigorous training,” Pett writes on her crowdfunding page. “She coaches girls to be great cheerleaders and strong young women. Ms. Earle is building self-esteem with every session.” This year the longtime mentor has 43 kids from five to 12 years old under her guidance, and each is responsible for contributing to the group’s fundraising goals. Pett aims to boost the young ladies efforts by raising $4,000 online by January 2016. Donations will be used for uniforms, travel costs, lodging and snacks.

48 Day Film Project

Five teams from five different continents — South America, Asia, Europe, Africa and North America — will co-create a full feature film in just 48 days, and among the contributors is local film collective Artivational. After winning several awards at Asheville’s 48 Hour Film Project for its eight-minute comedy Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow, the Artivational crew was invited by the competition’s executive producer Mark Ruppert to represent North America in his 48 Day Film Project. “We don’t know the story yet,” reads the global team’s crowdfunding page. “What we do know: We will tell a story that crosses borders, crosses continents, connects people, connects cultures. Our story will be a narrative celebration of people living together on a small planet.” Artivational member Julie Whitis further explains the process: “A collaborated effort will take place Oct. 9, through Nov. 26 [as five teams] join together in all pre-production through post production. … This is truly an amazing honor and opportunity for our team, our community, our state and our country.” Whitis and her internationally-based colleagues aim to raise $4,848 by Tuesday, Oct. 27, to pay for film and lighting equipment and “to buy some sandwiches for our fabulous, [all-volunteer] cast and crew.”

A new swingset for Oakley Elementary

“Early in 2015, Oakley Elementary school won a playground grant to build a much needed new playground,” explains local parent Stephen Janes. “But in the process, due to grant stipulations, the big swing had to be removed.” Janes says Oakley Elementary was a great school for his children’s studies for six years in addition to providing a venue for his own participation in the community. In gratitude, he’s setting out to raise the money needed to purchase and install another swingset to replace the one that was taken down. Janes is seeking $10,000 to complete the project, $5,000 of which covers safety compliance including the mulch base and border.

Image courtesy of Janes
Image courtesy of Janes

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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