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The best source for news and information about crowdfunding for good.

Crowdfunding for Social Good

Devin D. Thorpe

Devin Thorpe

Monthly Archives: January 2015

Deal Makers Comment On Crowdfunding Platform Acquisition

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Last month, impact investing and crowdfunding platform Gate Global Impact was acquired by Investview, Inc. Vince Molinari, CEO of Gate Global Impact and Dr. Joseph Louro, CEO of Investview, will be joining me for a live discussion about the deal and its impact. Note that Gate Global Impact sponsored the Social Enterprise and Crowdfunding Conference, which I organized in September of 2014.

In a statement describing the transaction, Louro said, “There are three significant components of this monumental acquisition, first is the impact of the GATEWAY technology platform which provides in the electronic investing regulatory compliant marketplace. Secondarily the leadership of Vincent Molinari and Joseph Latona Jr. as demonstrated from congressional testimony on the Jobs act to developing technology which I believe is the ultimate compromise in the democratization of public and private capital formation by bringing all investor types from crowdfunding to accredited to institutional to governmental with a leading compliance infrastructure that offers investor protections and access to quality deal flow all meeting under one tree. Additionally this is evident by the incredible partnerships the GATEWAY platform has in their respective spaces such as The United Nations Global Compact, and being selected and an OPIC EDN originator.”

On Thursday, January 29, 2015 at 5:00 Eastern, Louro and Molinari will join me for a live discussion about the transaction and the combined business’s future plans.

More about Gate Global Impact:

GGI, Inc is a wholly owned subsidiary of Investview Inc that will operate the GATEWAY 2.0 electronic marketplace. GATEWAY is an impact investing-focused electronic regulatory compliant marketplace that provides market infrastructure and related services for the emerging Impact Investment industry public and private investments with a sustainable social and/or environmental component. Please visit www.gateglobalimpact.com

More about Investview, Inc.:

Investview, Inc. is a diversified Financial Services Company which includes a Registered Investment Advisory Firm and intends to utilize the Firm’s technology to generate recurring fees and commissions from potential Investview customers. Traditionally, Investview provides and delivers a comprehensive online program of investor education, offers proprietary investor search tools and trading indicators, distributes weekly newsletters and offers access to live weekly Trading Rooms Investview is continuing to emerge as a Financial Services Company seeking diversification of revenue. For more information on any of the Investview products, please visit: www.investview.com.

Dr. Joseph Louro

Dr. Joseph Louro

Louro’s bio:

Dr. Louro is a successful businessman who possesses the skills and capabilities to guide Investview through its development stage and prepare the company for growth. He has successfully operated companies in multiple business sectors and has been involved in educating through lecturing in the education space domestically and internationally.

Dr. Louro, from 2006 to 2011, served as the CEO and President of LDG-Louro Development Group, a business development company focused on real estate transactions, new construction and downtown development projects as well as foreclosure-bankruptcy turnaround solutions.

From 1981 to 2006, Dr. Louro acted as an international speaker for live seminar educational companies. Dr. Louro’s topics for physicians and businessmen included success principles, practice management skills and leadership skills. Dr. Louro also taught staff and employees how to enhance the customers overall experience through first class service.

Dr. Louro was licensed by the State of New Jersey in 1981 by the Board of Medical Examiners to practice as a Chiropractor and, has since demonstrated the ability to run multiple offices with an integrated staff of chiropractic, medical and osteopathic physicians while also teaching and consulting.

Vince Molinari

Vince Molinari

Molinari’s bio:

As founder and chief executive officer of GATE Technologies, Mr. Molinari has been the driving force behind GATE’s mission to create new market infrastructure that brings transparency, efficiency, and liquidity to the unstructured global alternative asset markets. He is responsible for GATE’s strategic planning and business initiatives, including corporate alliances and strategic partnerships. His vision is based on a core belief that “actionable knowledge” drives investments, and that technology can close the gap between traditional and emerging alternative markets. Vincent believes opening the private market for investment can spearhead economic growth and job creation. The company’s initiatives in Impact Investing reflect Vincent’s commitment to bringing positive change through financial innovation.

Vincent is also the founder of Global Access Holdings LLC, a financial media and analytics company, which identified a global trend line of illiquid securities and the potential market need for alternative asset trading platforms. Prior to Global Access Holdings, he was chairman & CEO of Burlington Capital Markets LLC, a financial services company specializing in institutional execution services and investment banking activities. In addition, he co-founded Inculab, a technology business incubator. Vincent began his career at Lehman Brothers Inc., and has also held senior positions at Janney Montgomery Scott Inc., and Ridgewood Capital Funding, LLC.

Vincent is a Founding Board Member and Co Chairman of the Crowdfund Intermediary Regulatory Advocates (CFIRA) which was established by the crowdfunding industry’s leading platforms and experts to work with the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), and other affected governmental and quasi-governmental entities on establishing industry standards and best practices. He is also a Co-Founder and Executive Committee Board Member of the Crowdfunding Professional Association (CfPA), a leading trade organization for the Crowdfund industry. Vincent was named as one of the Top 10 Most Influential People in Business Crowdfunding in Forbes.

Small Business Marketplace Lending Platform Bolstr Raises $1.7m in VC Funding

Deal upsized to $1.7 million from Montage Ventures, Kapor Capital, DRW Trading Group among others.

CHICAGO, Jan. 29, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Bolstr, a marketplace where emerging consumer, retail and manufacturing businesses can access growth capital from accredited investors, has raised $1.65 million in series seed funding, an amount that was recently upsized from the original $1.5 million target. Backers include Montage Ventures, Kapor Capital, DRW Trading Group, Merrick Ventures, and Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati.

Led by former investment bankers, Charlie Tribbett and Larry Baker, Bolstr aims to help emerging small businesses access capital from a pool of accredited investors utilizing an innovative revenue share structure. Through the platform, business owners are able to quickly raise capital to fuel growth while maintaining 100% equity ownership. Each monthly payment back to investors is sized by a set percentage of gross sales, providing investors with liquidity early and often. Businesses also benefit from flexibility in the repayment structure, since each payment is proportional to their gross sales volume.

Payments are made until investors make a set return back on their investment, so the time frame of each loan is variable, and there are no prepayment penalties. This provides protection for seasonal businesses that are investing in growth initiatives. This also provides investors with return upside as a business grows revenue, and repays investors back sooner than anticipated.

“Marketplace lending is a $1 trillion market (LendingClub, OnDeck Capital etc.), and specifically, the landscape for small business funding is quickly shifting away from traditional banks and more so to platforms like Bolstr,” said Charlie Tribbett, Co-Founder of Bolstr.

“Bolstr leverages technology and data science to approve and fund businesses up to $500,000 rapidly, with flexible deal terms, while giving accredited investors first time access to private, liquid investment opportunities,” adds Larry Baker, Co-Founder of Bolstr.

What makes investing on Bolstr attractive is their proprietary underwriting process, designed to efficiently and effectively evaluate and understand credit risk for each business. Metrics analyzed include traditional factors such as liquidity ratios and credit scores but also incorporates metrics such as Yelp ratings and reviews on social media.

Bolstr estimates that there are roughly 8 million potential accredited investors in the US who have yet to make private business investments due to lack of access to emerging opportunities, and a lack of understanding of the potential risk. To appeal to these accredited investors, who must verify with Bolstr before investing, each business on the platform goes through a detailed underwriting evaluation. This model allows investors to gain first-time access to private, liquid investment opportunities with higher returns than managed funds or traditional fixed income opportunities.

Thus far every business that has raised funding on Bolstr has reached its target within five days, there have been zero defaults, and 64% of the investors within any given deal have been new investors. Bolstr makes money by charging a flat fee to every business that is approved to list on the platform, and does not take transaction-based compensation.

About Bolstr

Based in Chicago and founded in 2011 by former investment bankers Charlie Tribbett and Larry Baker, Bolstr is a marketplace where emerging consumer, retail and manufacturing businesses can access growth capital from accredited investors. Every raise on Bolstr uses an innovative revenue share investment structure, where businesses can access $25,000 – $500,000 to invest in growth, retain 100% of their equity, and make flexible monthly payouts to investors, since they are sized proportionally to their revenue. Investors then receive revenue-based payouts until they make a multiple back on their investment. For more information, please visit bolstr.com, Facebook or Twitter or watch How it Works.

Funding Circle Launches Fractional Loan Marketplace So More Americans Can Invest In Successful Main St. Small Businesses

– Funding Circle now the only major P2P lender in the U.S. to offer qualified individual investors access to secured small business term loans, a traditionally hard-to-reach asset class –

Funding Circle, the global small business loan marketplace, has become the first and only major peer-to-peer lender in the U.S. to offer individual investors the opportunity to invest in secured small business loans with the launch of its new Fractional Loan Marketplace.

Through its affiliated broker-dealer, Funding Circle Securities, investors can now buy fractional pieces of secured small business loans ranging in size from $25,000 to $500,000 and in term from one to five years, with coupon rates of 5.99-20.99%.

Funding Circle co-founder and U.S. managing director Sam Hodges said the new marketplace opens the traditionally hard-to-reach asset class to more individual investors who can now build diversified portfolios with smaller amounts of capital by investing in portions of loans instead of whole loans.

“We’re excited to be the first major P2P lender in the U.S. to offer qualified individual investors unique access to a curated selection of true small business term loans underwritten by our seasoned credit professionals using robust data analytics,” he said. Our borrowers are high-quality businesses left behind by banks due to industry inefficiencies, tighter lending regulations and archaic underwriting models. These are established businesses that have assets and cash flow to secure loans, plus a legitimate plan for growth.”

Since Funding Circle was founded in 2010, 35,000 investors have lent more than $800 million to 7,000 small businesses globally.

“There is tremendous demand in the market for fast and affordable small business loans; we’re about to cross $1 billion in originations globally,” said Hodges. “With the launch of our Fractional Loan Marketplace, we expect it will be another good year to tap into investors seeking yield in a low rate environment and bring more capital into this attractive asset class.”

Investors can access Funding Circle’s Fractional Loan Marketplace with a minimum opening balance of $50,000 and a minimum investment per borrower-payment dependent note (BDN) of $1,000. Investors receive access to data from across the full Funding Circle loan book, and can either browse the marketplace and select individual investments or set criteria and invest automatically through an auto-bid function. Every loan on the marketplace is underwritten by Funding Circle’s experienced underwriting team and assigned a risk score ranging from A+ to C. Funding Circle is currently only accepting investment from individuals and entities who meet the SEC’s criteria for accredited investors.

For the nine million accredited investors in the U.S., Hodges offered his top tips for individuals considering investing in P2P loans:

  1. Do your research: Given the investor appetite for yield, there are a lot of new entrants into the P2P lending market, so make sure you are partnering with a well-established and respected originator. Look for a platform that is well capitalized with clear and transparent underwriting procedures, experience and proper infrastructure around servicing.
  2. Hold them in your IRA: Along with attractive yields and consistent returns, enjoy the tax benefits of holding P2P loans in an individual retirement account. If your current retirement account cannot accommodate P2P loans, consider opening an IRA through one of the major P2P lending platforms to access tax-free or tax-deferred income.
  3. Automate your investing: Save yourself hours of wading through hundreds of loans each week by working with a platform that offers an auto-bid function. Based on your investment goals and risk tolerance, simply set your investment criteria – such as preferred rate, term, risk level, industry sector or region – and then set it and forget it.
  4. Reinvest your gains: As you receive principle and interest payments, ensure they are automatically lent back out to new borrowers, so you can spread your money across even more loans and further diversify your portfolio. The last thing you want is cash sitting in your account earning no interest and bringing down your overall return.

About Funding Circle:

Funding Circle is the world’s leading online marketplace lender exclusively focused on small business. By combining cutting edge technology with industry-leading risk management models, Funding Circle provides small businesses with fast, fair and transparent finance and investors with access to attractive returns through an online marketplace. Since its foundation in 2010, Funding Circle has lent more than $800 million globally to help small business owners grow their businesses, create new jobs and ultimately accelerate economic growth. More information is available at www.fundingcircle.com/us

Indiegogo Co-Founder Introduces Us To Indiegogo Life

Danae Ringelmann, co-founder of Indiegogo, is one of the leading names in crowdfunding and she’ll be joining us live to discuss last month’s launch of Indiegogo Life.

Danae explained to me in advance, “Last month, we introduced Indiegogo Life, a new service that brings the power of Indiegogo to anyone running a fundraiser for emergencies, medical expenses, celebrations or other life events.”

“With Indiegogo Life, we are delivering the necessary tools for families, friends, and even strangers around the world to connect and support one another . We are committed to providing a personal and authentic service for our customers to help themselves or a loved one – both financially and emotionally,” she continued.

Danae says, the site is already getting traction and having impact, “Since launching Indiegogo Life, people have launched seen thousands of terrific fundraisers. Just last week, there was a fundraiser created by the man behind Humans of NY. He has raised over $850,000 to help an inspiring principal of an inner-city school in Brooklyn send her 6th grade students to Harvard.”

“Our goal with Indiegogo Life is to help as many people as possible. Whether it’s a $500 fundraiser to celebrate a birthday to a $5000 fundraiser to pay for a pup’s surgery, to a $50,000 or $500,000 fundraiser to cover medical bills or send kids to Harvard, Indiegogo’s goal is to help people achieve what they need. Its not a funding contest,” she concluded.

On Thursday, January 29, 2015 at 4:00 Eastern, Danae will join us right here for a live discussion about the new platform at Indieogogo. Tune in here then to watch the interview live.

You can download an audio podcast here or subscribe via iTunes.

More about Indiegogo:

Indiegogo empowers people around the world to fund what matters to them. As the largest global crowdfunding platform, campaigns have launched from almost every country around the world with millions of dollars being distributed every week due to contributions made by the Indiegogo community. At its core, Indiegogo is an open platform dedicated to democratizing the way people raise funds for any project – creative, entrepreneurial or cause-related. Indiegogo was founded in 2008 and is headquartered in San Francisco, with offices in Los Angeles and New York. In 2014, the company launched Indiegogo Life, a dedicated site that brings the power of Indiegogo to people running fundraisers for medical expenses, emergencies, memorials, celebrations and other life events.
For more information, visit www.indiegogo.com and follow us at www.twitter.com/indiegogo and www.facebook.com/indiegogo.

More about Indiegogo Life

Indiegogo Life is a service that brings the power of Indiegogo to anyone running a personal fundraiser for emergencies, medical expenses, celebrations or other life events.  For more information, visit life.indiegogo.com and follow us at www.twitter.com/indiegogolife and www.facebook.com/indiegogo.

Danae Ringelmann

Danae Ringelmann

Danae’s bio:

Danae Ringelmann co-founded Indiegogo in 2008 with a mission to democratize fundraising and has since helped to propel the company into the world’s largest funding platform. Today, as Indiegogo’s Chief Development Officer, Danae is focused on driving total customer satisfaction and steering the company’s employee culture and value initiatives.

Prior to Indiegogo, Danae was a securities analyst at Cowen & Co. where she covered publicly traded entertainment companies including Pixar, Lionsgate, Disney and Electronic Arts. Danae also focused on cable network, NFL, newspaper and hedge fund clientele while at JPMorgan’s Investment Bank and Private Bank.

Danae was listed on Fast Company’s “Top 50 Women Innovators in Technology” in 2011, and was named one of Fortune’s “40 Under 40” in September 2013 and featured in ELLE Magazine’s Top Women in Tech in 2014. Danae frequently speaks at conferences around the world,including TEDx, Le Web and CeBIT. Danae also testified before the United States House Small Business Subcommittee on Investigations, Oversight and Regulations on “Financing America’s Small Businesses: Innovative Ideas for Raising Capital” in June 2013.

Danae is a CFA charterholder and holds an MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley. Danae graduated with a B.A. in Humanities from UNC-Chapel Hill, where she was a Morehead Scholar and varsity rower. She currently resides in San Francisco.

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Devin D. Thorpe

New Platform Makes Donating Food As Easy As Giving Cash

Patrick O’Neill is completely changing the game in crowdfunding. By seeking to crowdsource goods rather money–with the ease of giving cash–Amp Your Good seeks to help nonprofits have more successful drives for goods like food, blankets and building materials.

Patrick explains, “Each year people donate somewhere between $50B to $100B worth of goods to various kinds of physical collection charity drives (food drives, blanket drives, etc.). More than 33% of donated goods are never used by the non-profit organization that receives them. That’s a lot of wasted good intentions.”

In contrast, Patrick says, “100% of the goods raised through our platform are used by the non-profit that receives them.”

Patrick describes the difference this way, “Our platform eliminates some of the challenges faced by physical drives. We remove time and distance as barriers to participate which increases the amount of donations. We make donating goods as easy as donating money and enable people to better understand the impact of their donation more clearly than a monetary donation.”

“We’re super motivated to change food drives. Our vision is to turn the billions of canned goods donated to food drives each year into billions of apples, oranges, sweet potatoes and other healthy food items,” Patrick says.

On Thursday, January 29, 2015 at 1:00 Eastern, Patrick will join me for a live discussion about his innovative approach to crowdfunding. Tune in here then to watch the interview live.

You can download an audio podcast here or subscribe via iTunes.

More about Amp Your Good:

Amp Your Good has a platform that brings crowd-funding to goods based giving. Our platform hosts charity drives that are designed to raise goods rather than money. When people want to support a drive on our platform, rather than donating money, they purchase the item(s) at our site through a standard e-commerce transaction to make a donation to the drive. We deliver all of the donated items to the non-profit organization once the drive is over. We currently are able to host food drives, building material drives and drives to support animal shelters.

Patrick O'Neill

Patrick O’Neill

Patrick’s bio:

Patrick O’Neill is the Founder and CEO of Amp Your Good. After graduating from West Point and serving on active duty in the US Army, he began a private sector career centered upon real estate, energy, technology and social enterprise. He has founded, co-founded and led several companies and has served on the board of for profit, not for profit, public and private companies. He is married and has four children. He enjoys skiing, science fiction, youth sports and cooking.

Remember to “join the cavalry” by subscribing to our content here.

Devin D. Thorpe

give2gether Adds Gamification to Platform to Maximize Younger Donor Participation

2015 is the year that give2gether puts the “FUN” back in “FUNd” raising

New Yorkgive2gether, the online fundraising platform for nonprofits, has added gamification and rewards to its already successful platform in order to help nonprofits further engage gen-x and gen-y.

give2gether already makes raising money a lot faster and easier thanks to ten years of research on the science behind what makes people give online. Through thousands of hours at UC Berkeley X-Labs, validated by hundreds of thousands of live donor transactions, give2gether has cracked the code to intelligent fundraising!

Now they are making raising money more fun by adding gamification.

Gen-x and gen-y’ers love games like Candy Crush and Temple Run simply due to their competitive nature. Unlocking challenges, getting badges, and getting high scores on leaderboards make it fun to compete. While scoring more points gets you to the next level in such popular games, when gamification is incorporated into fundraising and crowdfunding, nonprofits can expect greater participation and stronger involvement among their challenging-to-engage younger audience.

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Motivational badges and rewards from Sponsors based on champion activities/interaction/social impact

Motivational badges and rewards from Sponsors based on champion activities/interaction/social impact

After two years of testing, it became clear that adding game mechanics and rewards increases younger donor participation. give2gether has integrated these mechanisms into their platform and they are currently being tested with UJA Federation of Toronto and Save a Child’s Heart.

give2gether’s platform streamlines social fundraising in order to substantially improve donor participation rates and the total amount raised. Nonprofits using give2gether incorporate several steps of engagement:

  • Unique insights from give2gether’s research help the nonprofit setup optimized donor landing pages and, thus, increases the probability of donation.
  • After a campaign launch, it’s all about generating 5-6 weeks of traffic:  emails, posts on Facebook , and digital PR are the fuel for modern fundraising campaigns.
  • Rather than just asking for a gift, donors can “play” with how much they could raise by inviting their friends, family and network in order to increase their “Personal Social Impact”. This simple interaction turns more donors into fundraisers.
  • Fundraisers track their progress , and see how many friends visited and donated  through their page and thank them personally for their support.

give2gether’s clients have seen their donor conversion rates double due to the implementation of these techniques. Donors who feel they have an impact on a particular project/cause get an inherent pleasure (the so-called ‘warm-glow’) for being pivotal in the project’s success.

Ticket Badges earned to Linkin Park secret Show for Japan to any fundraiser who raised $500 or more

Ticket Badges earned to Linkin Park secret Show for Japan to any fundraiser who raised $500 or more

Personal Dashboard for Champions to follow their progress and see what other badges they can still earn

Personal Dashboard for Champions to follow their progress and see what other badges they can still earn

With the addition of gamificaiton, give2gether expects conversion rates to rise even higher within younger donors

How does gamification in online fundraising work?

While participating in a nonprofit’s online fundraising project, constituents can earn various types of badges and rewards; incentivizing “champions” to invite more friends to support their personal fundraising goal. Points are given for posting on Facebook, recording a personal video appeal, and for inviting your social connections. Reaching the next social impact badge makes getting to the next fundraising level a lot more FUN.

give2gether’s innovation is helping many nonprofits modernize their online fundraising.

“By integrating gamificaiton, we’re continuing to disrupt crowdfunding for nonprofits,” give2gether’s CEO, Arnon Shafir, explains. “Gamificaiton, crowdfunding, and behavioral economics will be the three key elements for increasing hard-to-reach, younger donors engagement in 2015 . We expect to see more nonprofits adopting this model. “The young and the generous” generation are always ready for challenges, and virtual rewarding them for their participation satisfies their built-in passion to compete. These great characteristics of our generation can now be leveraged to raise more money for good causes.”

Local Businesses Support Community Land Project on Arran

A community group on the Isle of Arran will today launch a crowdfunding campaign to help raise vital cash needed to run an ambitious farmland project.

Arran Community Land Initiative, a registered charity, bought the 80 acres of disused farmland in December 2014 for a range of community projects including a community garden and nature trails.

The group plans to benefit the whole community by transforming the land, and already has the backing of a number of island businesses including a generous pledge from one of the island’s most popular attractions, the Arran Distillery, who are pleased to be kickstarting the campaign and hope their generosity will encourage other businesses and private donations.

The campaign is part of a pilot initiative by Highlands and Islands Enterprise to explore the use of crowdfunding by community groups in order to secure match funding or to fund individual projects entirely.

Arran produce is of world-renown with multi-award winning whisky, ale, cheese, icecream, chocolate, fudge, chutneys and oatcakes. Arran Community Land Initiative treasurer Juliette Walsh says:

“It would be wonderful to expand the fantastic produce here on Arran with further fresh home-grown produce. By introducing crops, orchards, allotments and community growing spaces to these fields the group hopes to help the island become more self-sufficient and give locals and visitors the chance to consume more fresh rather than imported fruit and vegetables.”

The group was recently awarded £181,500 funding from the Scottish Land Fund to enable them to buy the land. The crowdfunding campaign launches today on the popular crowdfunding platform Indiegogo, with a target to raise £6,000 to cover the costs of developing the land.

A number of individuals and island businesses have already chipped in to contribute perks such as hotel nights, adventure activities, sponsored trees, and photography in return for donations to the campaign. Contributors include The Douglas Hotel, The Altachorvie Hotel, Arran Outdoor Education Centre, Arran Graphics, Mark Bunyan Bushcraft expert, Andy Surridge photo prints, Henry Murdo native tree expert, Roots of Arran Forest School Leaders, the Arran Bike Club, the Community of Arran Seabed Trust and the Brodick Castle Ranger Service.

The planned recreational facilities include nature walks, camping pods and mountain bike trails as well as community gardens. The land will also be used for delivering a variety of education courses including qualifications in land-based skills such as horticulture and as a space for outdoor learning for Arran schoolchildren and visiting groups.

Highlands & Islands Enterprise have contracted Scottish company Hot Tap Media Ltd to offer consultation and support to between three and four community groups in the region.

Members of the public can get involved and offer their support by contributing to the campaign. The wide range of perks on offer to tempt contributors range from planting of the famous endangered Arran White beam tree to nature walks, family adventure activities and holidays as well as guided walks and cycles, with something for every taste and budget.

The trustees envisage the generation of further volunteering and job opportunities and the group is to shortly advertise a part-time position for a Development Officer to work with the board of trustees, members and volunteers to attract additional grants and help ensure the long-term success of the project.

For more information visit: www.arranland.org and visit their campaign on Indiegogo: igg.me/at/arranland

DCA Fine Art/National Museum of Animals and Society

Los Angeles, CA – A museum for animal lovers of all ages, the new National Museum of Animals and Society (NMAS) opens Fall 2015 near LA’s Museum Row and need the public’s support to help make it happen.

Founded in 2010 by nonprofit executive, Carolyn Merino Mullin, this first of its kind museum is dedicated to enriching the lives of animals and people by exploring our shared experience. In their collection, exhibitions, public programming, and educational efforts, the museum centers on animal studies (our relationships with, and perceptions of other animals), the history of animal protection, and the importance of humane education.

NMAS opened its first gallery space in 2013 in Hollywood and presented landmark exhibitions such as “My Dog is My Home: The Experience of Human-Animal Homelessness,” which profiled the lives of four homeless families and their animal companions from across LA. Some of their guest speakers and supporters include: actresses Tippi Hedren, Elaine Hendrix, and Alexandra Paul, DJ Moby, Black Sabbath’s Geezer Butler, author Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson (“When Elephants Weep” author), ethologist Marc Bekoff, songwriter Diane Warren, among other legendary writers, filmmakers, and celebrities.

Underway is a capital campaign to move the museum to a larger, more permanent space near LACMA and the Tar Pits, which will enable the museum to continue presenting innovative exhibitions of historical, artistic, or interdisciplinary themes and hosting inspirational programming for a wider audience, such as film screenings, lectures, classes, and animal adoptions.

On their agenda for the new space is to tackle important global issues as pet overpopulation and wildlife conservation in a permanent exhibition on animal protection. Debuting in the new building is the museum’s much-anticipated ‘Crazy Cat Ladies’ exhibit.

The public is encouraged to support the museum’s fundraising efforts by sharing the Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign with friends and making a generous donation. The museum is just $20,000 shy of its $100,000 goal towards its expansion project.

In other fundraising initiatives, LA’s foremost art critic, Peter Frank, will be curating an art exhibition on all things rabbits – BUNNYMANIA – with Delia Cabral. The exhibit opens March 27 at Chungking Studios in Chinatown and will feature a weekend of rabbit-inspired talks and bunny adoptions.

To watch the heartwarming campaign video and to make your donation, visit museumofanimals.org or igg.me/at/animalmuseum.

Oldest Crowdfunding Site For Nonprofits Looks To Future

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

GlobalGiving is one of the oldest crowdfunding sites on the web, having been launched half a decade ahead of industry giants Kickstarter and Indiegogo. GlobalGiving is a highly curated platform–an application process is used to screen fundraisers–that services only nonprofit organizations.

CEO and co-founder, Mari Kuraishi, explains its vision, ”The whole reason the GlobalGiving community exists is not only to connect local world-changers to people around the world who have funding to support them, but also to provide access to information, ideas, and tools so that nonprofits can use their funding more effectively. We’re so glad that the GlobalGiving network is becoming so valuable for vital organizations that would otherwise not have access to corporate or foundation funding, or resources like donated smartphones and a custom-made app.”

“The full promise of crowdfunding lies in the crowd, not the funding. Mission-driven crowdfunding platforms have the ability to leverage the deep networks they’ve created to crowdsource not just money, but also world-saving information, ideas and connections,” she adds.

Kuraishi is working to increase her platform’s impact on the nonprofits it serves. “The next decade at GlobalGiving will be about helping every single organization on our crowdfunding platform by providing the tools they need to work smarter. Every week, some 40 percent of the partners we work with log into our system – think of us as a laboratory where thousands of non-profits worldwide can come and test new tools to improve their effectiveness. And like a real behavioral lab, we can offer incentives in the form of access to different funding streams. This combination of performance improvement with funds offers us an opportunity to engage non-profits to learn with us.”

On Friday, January 23, 2015 at 1:00 PM, Kuraishi will join me for a live discussion about GlobalGiving’s impact on the world. Tune in here then to watch the interview live.

More about Global Giving:

GlobalGiving is the first and largest global crowdfunding community for nonprofits. GlobalGiving’s mission is to catalyze a global market for ideas, information and money that democratizes aid and philanthropy. Since 2002, GlobalGiving has helped raise more than $163 million from more than 421,000 donors for more than 11,600 projects in more than 160 countries through GlobalGiving.org and GlobalGiving.co.uk. Each of the nonprofits on GlobalGiving.org has been vetted, and has committed to providing donors regular updates about how donations are put to work.

Mari Kuraishi

Mari Kuraishi

Kuraishi’s bio:

Mari co-founded GlobalGiving with Dennis Whittle, and currently leads the organization. In 2011, Mari was named one of Foreign Policy’s top 100 Global Thinkers for “crowdsourcing worldsaving.” Before GlobalGiving, she worked at the World Bank where she managed and created some of the Bank’s most innovative projects including the first ever Innovation and Development Marketplaces, and the first series of strategic forums with the World Bank’s president and senior management. Mari also designed a range of investment projects in the Russia reform program, including a residential energy efficiency project, structural adjustment loans, and legal reform project. She currently serves as chair of the board of Guidestar US as well as of the Global Business School Network. She also serves on the board of Benevolent and DataKind. In addition to her native Japanese, Mari also speaks Russian, Italian, and French. She has an undergraduate degree in history from Harvard University and did graduate work in Russian and Japanese history and politics at Harvard and Georgetown Universities. Mari also completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School.

American Homeowner Preservation Launches $30 Million Crowdfunding Campaign

American Homeowner Preservation today launched one of the largest crowdfunding campaigns to date, planning to raise $30 million for opportunity 2014B. Funds raised will be utilized to purchase non-performing mortgages at substantial discounts.

Chicago, IL (PRWEB) January 21, 2015American Homeowner Preservation (“AHP”) today launched one of the largest crowdfunding campaigns to date, planning to raise $30 million for opportunity 2014B. Funds raised will be utilized to purchase non-performing mortgages at substantial discounts from banks and other lenders. Borrowers are then offered sustainable solutions to stay in their homes with affordable payments and reduced principal balances. Accredited investors can earn annual returns of 9 – 12%* by participating for terms of one to five years.

AHP is a socially-responsible for-profit investment fund manager, but started in 2008 as a 501c3 nonprofit organization. By executing consensual borrower-friendly strategies which avoid the time and expense of protracted legal fights, AHP generates above-market returns for investors while helping struggling families. Delinquent mortgages are often purchased at discounts greater than 50% of current property values, and sharing these discounts enables AHP to deliver financially transformative results for borrowers and investors alike.

To maximize the results of outreach efforts, AHP houses a branch office of Security National Servicing Corporation to effectively and efficiently communicate with borrowers nationwide. Furthermore, AHP features an in-house litigation team to rapidly resolve litigation. If properties are acquired vacant or are foreclosed upon, AHP’s asset management team works with real estate agents to market and coordinate the sales of vacant properties.

AHP’s latest investment offering comes on the heels of its latest investment closing, Opportunity 2014A. AHP raised $2.5 million in funding the purchase of over 325 mortgages with an estimated collateral value of more than $8 million. After launching its online crowdfunding platform in October 2013, AHP has successfully crowdfunded three pools of distressed mortgages and raised more than $8 million from accredited investors.

2014B is the first offering spawned from AHP’s new relationship with WealthForge, an SEC/FINRA registered broker-dealer. As regulation of the equity crowdfunding industry continues to evolve, AHP aims to maintain up-to-date SEC compliance in teaming with WealthForge.

“We are excited by the prospects of our new alliance with such a well-regarded broker-dealer,” said Jorge Newbery, AHP’s founder and CEO. “WealthForge will help us maximize compliance in an ever-evolving regulatory landscape. These are big steps forward in legitimizing AHP and other real estate crowdfunding platforms which are joining the FinTech asset class pioneered by Lending Club and Prosper.”

“In my opinion, his (Newbery’s) approach is similar to finding great ‘closeouts’ in any business,” said Arthur Weissman, WealthForge’s head of sales and marketing. “He invests the time and effort to identify significantly undervalued assets and his team is relentless at bringing those assets back to performing levels.”

American Homeowner Preservation is a socially responsible investment fund manager which empowers accredited investors to purchase equity in pools of distressed mortgages and earn returns of 9-12%*. For further information or inquiries please visit https://ahpinvest.com or call 800-555-1055.

*Past performance is no guarantee of profits or gains. Equity securities are offered through WealthForge, LLC, a Virginia limited liability company (“WealthForge”), which is a securities broker/dealer registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. WealthForge is located at 6800 Paragon Place, Suite 237, Richmond, VA 23230, tel: (804) 308-0431.

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