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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: April 2017

New Venture Seeks $50k to Teach Coding to Adults on Autism Spectrum



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

Oliver Thornton says his Aspergers is his super power. His brother, who is also on the autism spectrum, serves as a role model. Because autism hits close to home, he wanted to do something to address the unemployment rate for those with autism, which approaches 85 percent, he says. So, he launched Coding Autism with Austen Weinhart.

The two visited with me about their plans. Watch the interview at the top of the article.

Oliver, who serves as the company’s CEO, says, “Although we are pre-revenue, we just recently launched our crowdfunding campaign with the goal of fundraising a minimum of $50,000 on StartSomeGood. If we are successful with fundraising $50,000 on that platform, we will be able to cover the minimum costs to make the Coding Autism ASPIRE program happen.”

The money they are raising will go to pay the instructor, an assistant instructor, an occupational therapist, a social skills intervention expert, a career counselor and to pay for the space where the intensive 15-week course will be taught. Those who complete the course are expected to have sufficient skills to be able to begin a career as a software developer.

Oliver adds, that if they exceed the $50,000 goal they will be able to discount the tuition to the first class of students. If they reach $120,000, they can waive tuition altogether.

As of now, Coding Autism has raised $18,815.

Oliver says mentorship is key to the program’s success, “Research has proven that adults with autism tend to do significantly better in their careers and live more fulfilling lives when they have mentors and advocates. Coding Autism has made it one of its cornerstones to provide ongoing advocacy and mentorship services to all Coding Autism students. Our Coding Autism mentors and advocates ensure that all Coding Autism students stay on track with their curriculum requirements, their personal goals, their employment goals, and more.”

Readers can learn more and contribute to the campaign by visiting StartSomeGood.

More about Coding Autism:

Twitter: @codingautism

Coding Autism is a full-service professional coaching and training company that trains adults on the autism spectrum in professional skills such as software engineering, quality assurance, and web development. We also assist our graduates in finding employment within the software and technology industries. We do so by providing services such as immersive programs and bootcamps, resume workshops, career counseling, interview preparation, and coaching/mentorship, all of which is designed around providing an environment where people on the spectrum can thrive.

Oliver Thornton, courtesy of Coding Autism

Oliver Thornton, courtesy of Coding Autism

Oliver’s bio:

When I was two years old, I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome shortly after my older brother was diagnosed with Autism. In 1994, the year of my diagnosis, having any variation of Autism was perceived as a horrific condition by society and experts in the medical field. In fact, doctors had told my parents that I would never develop adequate social skills and to not expect him to succeed independently in life.

Throughout my adolescent years, I struggled with my speech, making friends, and lacked self confidence in his intelligence and ability to succeed. One day, I had a realization. Through the motivational forces of autism influencers such as Temple Grandin, I transformed my mentality of what it truly meant to be an individual on the autism spectrum.

With this newly adopted mentality, I dove head on into my later years of college at California Lutheran University (CLU), where I was able to accomplish impressive feats such as obtaining my Real Estate Salesperson License, co-founding and spearheading CLU’s professional business fraternity Delta Sigma Pi, and winning CLU’s 2016 New Venture Competition.

Since my college graduation, I have devoted my waking hours to building my father’s real estate team/Real estate representation at Compass in Beverly Hills as well as building my start-up Coding Autism, which helps and trains autistic individuals in professional skills such as software engineering, website development, QA, etc as well as assists in finding and obtaining employment in the software and technology industries. In recent months, I have been slightly drifting away from real estate and moving towards working on Coding Autism full-time.

I am confident that my entrepreneurial mindset, my gift of Asperger’s syndrome, and my drive to succeed and make the autism community more progressive will allow me to satisfy my highest endeavors with Coding Autism and my future ventures. Eventually, I sees myself manifesting into one of the most influential advocates, thought leaders, and mentors of the autistic community in my generation.

Austen Weinhart, courtesy of Coding Autism

Austen Weinhart, courtesy of Coding Autism

Austen’s bio:

I come from a background of extensive experience in the technology space, performing roles in marketing, quality assurance, and web development. Early on as a student at UC Berkeley, I was the president of the public relations student group, PR @ Cal. After graduating from Berkeley, I worked on both technical and marketing projects for high-profile clients such as Adobe, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and others. I was drawn into Coding Autism both for my passion for autism advocacy and also as someone who is a product of a coding bootcamp education myself. I am eager to create an environment where others can turn their lives around by learning to code, just as I did.

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Devin is a journalist, author and crowdfunding speaker who calls himself a champion of social good. With a goal to help solve some of the world’s biggest problems by 2045, he focuses on telling the stories of those who are leading the way! Learn more at DevinThorpe.com!

 

7 Crowdfunding Keys For Social Entrepreneurs

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

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

Lots of people hold themselves out to be crowdfunding experts. I haven’t met anyone who has raised more money in on Kickstarter and Indiegogo than Funded Today’s Zach Smith. He reports raising over $110 million total over hundreds of campaigns.

Smith visited with me (watch the video recording of the interview above) to talk about how to apply his experience and insights for social entrepreneurs.

He thinks of himself as a social entrepreneur, helping other entrepreneurs to be successful. He is almost a prototypical entrepreneur. Young, confident—even brash—he has built his company to 50 employees and reports “eight figures plus” in revenue. Funded Today charges 25 to 35 percent of funds raised, so in its short three-year history, we’d expect it to have generated over $30 million in revenue.

Zach Smith

His reputation in the crowdfunding community is such that when Hiral Sanghavi, co-founder and CEO at BauBax had his crowdfunding campaign stall at around $4 million, he called on Smith to help. He says, “They reached out to a completely different audience and got another huge wave of traffic our way which helped us add another $4.5 million to our total in the last 3 weeks and our campaign closed at $9.19 million.”

“FT has got access to thousands of crowdfunding campaigns and they’ve built a community of early adopters out of it. They were able to get our campaign in front of the right audience who are mavens, early adopters of technology and innovative products. We couldn’t have done that using only Facebook ads,” Sanghavi says.

Paid media on social media sites, including Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, is a key tool that Funded Today uses to raise money for clients. Smith explains how you can do it on Facebook.

A good crowdfunding campaign begins with a crowd. A crowd is best represented by a list of email addresses. He suggests spending up to $5 per email address for people who are interested in your mission. Given that you’d like a list of 10,000 people and a list that long will cost up to $50,000 to build, he has another plan.

Ask, he says, someone in your mission space who has a list for a copy of the list specifically to use for building a Facebook audience. You should promise not to send email to the people on the list. Instead, you want to upload the list to Facebook for targeting advertising. Until Smith told me, I had no idea you could do this. Did you?

Not only can you use that audience as a target, Facebook will automatically offer to create a “lookalike” audience that is much bigger. For instance, I uploaded my mailing own mailing list following the instructions on Facebook and it instantly helped me create a list of more than 2 million people who are like the people on my list.

Smith also shared his “Seven Ps” for crowdfunding success:

  1. Product: The crowdfunding reward or product must be appealing; for nonprofits, Smith recommends identifying recognition that donors will appreciate.
  2. Platform: Not only do social entrepreneurs need to decide which platform to use, but whether or not their business is a good fit for crowdfunding. If a reward can’t be shipped or delivered digitally, it may not be, Smith says.
  3. Presentation: The way you pitch your offering on the crowdfunding page, including the video, represents the presentation—and he says it makes a big difference. Smith says he helped ShotBox raise over $184,000 primarily by changing the presentation after the original campaign raised only $7,000 and had to be canceled.
  4. Promotion: The three key parts to promotion are paid media, press and partnerships.
  5. Price: Smith cautions crowdfunders not to discount the price, noting that it is easier to drop the price later than to raise it.
  6. Probability: He says that backers need to believe you can and will do what you promise. In other words, you need to develop trust by proving you have the smarts and other resources to necessary to pull it off.
  7. People: Your team needs to have the right people on it; they must be confident of success and committed to doing the work required to achieve it.

Marina Prospero, CEO of Perfectore Corp, is crowdfunding with help from Funded Today now. She says, “We were watching some very successful 6 figure Kickstarter campaigns and they all had one thing in common, Funded Today was their marketing partner. Several of these campaigns were products that focused on back and neck treatment. We figured if they have already been successful marketing these campaigns then they will definitely know how to market ours.”

She’s glad she did. “They have performed beyond my expectation.” With Smith’s help, she’s raised over $585,000 with an original goal of just $5,000. “Frankly I am blown away at how good they are and I am anxious to work with them again on our next invention.”

Never miss another interview! Join Devin here!

Devin is a journalist, author and corporate social responsibility speaker who calls himself a champion of social good. With a goal to help solve some of the world’s biggest problems by 2045, he focuses on telling the stories of those who are leading the way! Learn more at DevinThorpe.com!

 

EPIcenter Hires International Fundraising Firm With A Track Record Of Partnering With Transformational Renovation Projects, Worldwide

Press Release – San Antonio, TX, April 4, 2017EPIcenter has hired CCS Fundraising (CCS) to design and implement a comprehensive fundraising campaign for the new $74.56 million energy innovation center planned for the historic Mission Road Power Plant. CCS is a New York-based fundraising consulting firm that for seven decades has helped organizations across the globe advance some of the most important causes in history.

Situated across the San Antonio River from the historic Lone Star Brewery and just upstream from the San Antonio River Foundation’s Confluence Park, EPIcenter is leading the way in transforming the Mission Road corridor.

Construction on the more than 80,000 square foot project is expected to take between 18 and 24 months and will begin as soon as a critical mass of funding is achieved.

To date, EPIcenter has received $21.2 million in cash and in-kind donations, including the property, from founding sponsors OCI Solar Power, Silver Spring Networks, Landis+Gyr and CPS Energy. An additional $53.36 million is to be raised.

In addition to its international clients, CCS has helped raise funds for a wide range of one-of-a-kind, groundbreaking building and renovation projects across the country, including the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, CA, the UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco, CA, and most recently, the brand-new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC.

“We are very pleased to work with CCS. The firm’s strategic approach to such an unusual and innovative project stood out. CCS quickly understood EPIcenter’s vision and the unique challenges and opportunities associated with a start-up non-profit. Its leaders have successfully completed several projects with these unique parameters.,” said Kimberly Britton, CEO for EPIcenter.

Groundwork for the campaign structure and organization is being laid now with an anticipated launch late spring.

“CCS is excited to be a part of this historic effort to create a hub for clean energy technology innovation, education, community engagement, and entrepreneurial incubation in San Antonio,” says Gary Hawkins, Senior Vice President, CCS. “Our firm has worked on a variety of campaigns supporting unique building and environmental projects across the globe, and we are honored to add EPICenter to that list of partners.”

Built in 1909, the Mission Road Power Plant housed one of the city’s first steam turbo generator units, using water from the San Antonio River to cool its operation. The historic structures, including its iconic smokestack, stand as testaments to the changes in the evolving energy industry and will serve as the foundation and framework for EPIcenter.

The project will include a new energy “co-op” where start-ups can incubate along existing companies; a think tank aimed at advancing the fundamentals of clean energy policy; a research and development fabrication laboratory to develop and test products, services, and technologies; exhibition space with interactive and structural artifacts; an auditorium and conference center; and outdoor venues with terraces, gardens, amenities and community spaces.

Occupation of the building is planned for 2021-2022.

Wefunder Launches Series of Themed, Local Funding Events For Small Businesses; First Will Focus on Women Founders

12-event series kicks off May 4 in Oakland; deadline for startups to apply is April 14

Press Release – San Francisco, Calif. – April 6, 2017Wefunder, the most popular platform for Regulation Crowdfunding, announced today that it is hosting a 12-city tour of live, in-person funding events for small businesses – much like the Demo Days hosted by accelerators. The objective is to help those small businesses connect with potential investors in their cities and within the broader Wefunder community – comprised of 90,000 individual investors around the world.

Regulation Crowdfunding, enabled by Title III of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, enables startups and small businesses to raise up to $1M from unaccredited investors. Since the legislation took effect in May 2016, companies have raised more than $23M under Reg CF, and approximately two-thirds of that was raised via the Wefunder portal.

“We’re finding that many of our portfolio companies are drawing most of their investment dollars locally – often, from people who are already customers or fans of the company,” said Nick Tommarello, co-founder and CEO of Wefunder. “So we decided to launch a series of in-person events designed to draw in local investors and expose them to startup investment opportunities right in their area.”

The first event, taking place in Oakland, Calif. on May 4, will focus on startups founded by women. The deadline for startups to apply for the Oakland event is April 14; the deadline to apply for the other events in events is May 5.

Other events/themes in the series will include in the coming weeks:

  • New York City – Immigrants
  • Los Angeles – Food
  • New Orleans – Nightlife
  • Napa – Wine
  • New York City – Fashion
  • Portland, OR – Breweries
  • Denver – B Corps
  • Washington, DC – Veteran founders
  • Detroit – Makers (manufacturing)
  • Austin, TX – Music
  • Boston – Health tech

To learn more about attending or pitching at any of the events, visit https://wefunder.com/live_events. To register as a potential investor at Wefunder, visit wefunder.com. The minimum investment is $100.

About Wefunder

Wefunder helps anyone invest as little as $100 in startups you love, and is the most popular platform for Regulation Crowdfunding. Its vision is to build a new type of stock market (“a NASDAQ for riskier ventures”) that lets the public allocate capital to a wider range of businesses, more broadly and efficiently than banks or venture capitalists. Investors on Wefunder have invested more than $34 million into 150+ companies since 2013, including Zenefits, Checkr and Casetext. Learn more about Wefunder’s story at wefunder.com/wefunder or follow us @wefunder.

New York Common Pantry Named A Finalist For The 7th Annual Classy Awards

Press Release – New York ­- We are excited to announce that New York Common Pantry has been named a top 100 finalist for the 7th Annual Classy Awards. The ten 2017 winners will be announced at an Awards Ceremony during The Collaborative, a unique three-day experience that brings together top social innovators from around the world to share solutions and inspire change, this June 13-15, 2017.

“The Classy Awards has become one of the top forums for recognizing global social innovation,” said Pat Walsh, Co-Founder and Chief Impact Officer of Classy. “Classy Awards Finalists are pioneering innovative ideas and technologies addressing some of our greatest social problems, and we’re honored to play a role in recognizing their incredible accomplishments.”

Finalists were selected based on scale and scope of the problem, innovative approach, ability to solve the problem, and organizational effectiveness. From here, 10 winners from the 100 finalists will be chosen by the Leadership Council and announced on stage at the awards ceremony in June. Classy, the world¹s leading online fundraising platform for social enterprises, has hosted this event and award ceremony for years in San Diego and has recently expanded the footprint into Boston¹s Innovation District for the last two years.

New York Common Pantry (NYCP) is dedicated to reducing hunger throughout New York City, while promoting dignity and self-sufficiency. NYCP works toward the reduction of hunger and food insecurity through an array of programs that help establish long-term independence for those it serves. Since opening in 1980, as a small neighborhood pantry serving 30 families, NYCP has become one of New York City¹s most innovative emergency food providers, offering meals and support services to over 300,000 individuals a year. Every week, NYCP’s Choice Pantry serves approximately 1,500 families and redistributes thousands of pounds of produce. NYCP served over 3,000,000 meals in 2016.

New York Common Pantry was one of several hundred programs nominated to this year’s Classy Awards and then went on to complete a comprehensive program application. “New York Common Pantry is honored to have been selected as a top 100 finalist for the 7th Annual Classy Awards in recognition of our commitment to innovation, problem-solving, and effectiveness,” says Stephen Grimaldi, New York Common Pantry¹s Executive Director. “We are proud to be positioned alongside many esteemed global organizations as we work to increase access to vital resources for New Yorkers in need.”

The Collaborative is presented by Classy, Southwest Airlines, Fluxx, Plenty Consulting and The Boston Foundation, alongside Salesforce and Guidestar. For more information on the Collaborative and the Classy Awards, visit www.classy.org/collaborative.

Leverage PR Sells to Caliber Corporate Advisers

Thought Leader Schoffler to Remain Active in Business Development and Client Strategy for Newly Merged Agency

Press Release – AUSTIN, Texas – April 4, 2017Leverage PR, an Austin-based marketing and public relations firm specializing in the financial services, technology and real estate sectors founded by Joy Schoffler in 2010, has been acquired by leading strategic marketing and public relations firm Caliber Corporate Advisers.

“I am incredibly proud of everyone who has been a part of the Leverage PR team over the years. It was their hard work and dedication that propelled Leverage and its clients to the forefront of the financial services, technology and real estate communities,” said Schoffler, Principal, Leverage PR. “This is definitely a testament to Leverage’s reputation and success in the industry.”

Leverage PR is an award-winning agency that has served over one hundred brands throughout the years. The company partners and provides support for several well-known financial services, technology, and real estate companies and industry events around the globe, including Finovate, Empire Startups, and South by Southwest® Interactive.

Caliber Corporate Advisers was founded seven years ago and has served more than one hundred clients globally, providing strategic marketing advisory, public relations, and content marketing services that support clients’ specific business goals.

“By combining Caliber’s extensive industry experience across the financial services, technology and professional services’ sectors with Leverage’s proven track record in similar spaces, we’re able to provide clients with a deeper bench of industry experts under one umbrella,” said Harvey Hudes, Founder and CEO, Caliber Corporate Advisers. “This is a true example of building strength upon strength.”

As Leverage PR’s principal, Schoffler will continue to represent the agency and remain actively involved in business development and client strategy, as well as continuing her many leadership roles in the FinTech community.

Schoffler currently serves as the Executive Chair of the FinTech Professionals Association, as well as serving as an advisory board member for SXSWs Accelerator Pitch Event, AARP’s FinTech Advisory board, and Yodlee’s FinTech incubator.

Regarding her reasons for the transaction, Schoffler stated, “Partnering with a team with an East Coast presence was a natural transition to offering our clients even more value and resources,” said Schoffler. “Knowing Harvey and I were aligned in our passion for creating a best in class agency that allowed room for growth for employees, access to more resources and an expansive network for our clients won me over, and I am excited for all the opportunities to come.”

Leverage will operate as “Leverage PR, A Caliber Corporate Advisers Company” and will continue to hold offices in Austin.

“Having worked closely with both Leverage and Caliber, we see this combination creating a powerhouse in the FinTech world and beyond,” said Jason Henrichs, Managing Director at FinTech Forge. “The combined capabilities and experience are unparalleled. Clients will get the benefit of a PR firm that understands the nuances of fintech and the ability to execute.”

The acquisition of Leverage PR by Caliber Corporate Advisers was facilitated by the expert legal team at Spiro Harrison and the counsel of Gould+Partners.

About Caliber Corporate Advisers

Caliber Corporate Advisers is a strategic marketing advisory firm that helps companies tell their story and connect with key stakeholders. Caliber is a trusted partner focused on driving growth of organizations within the financial services, technology (FinTech, LegalTech, MarTech) and professional services sectors. We provide best-in-class strategy and tactical execution of public relations and content marketing initiatives, as well as contacts’ database research. To find out more, visit www.calibercorporate.com.

About Leverage PR

Leverage PR is a full-service marketing and public relations firm delivering strategic planning, media relations and communications services within the financial services, technology, and real estate sectors. With extensive experience in internal and external communications and media relations, Leverage PR’s team possesses a deep understanding of opportunities and challenges facing innovators. For more information, visit www.leverage-pr.com.

Support the Web Development Training Program for Adults with Autism

Coding Autism will launch the first full-time web development training program specifically designed for adults on the autism spectrum. They are raising money on StartSomeGood. Recently I caught up with Oliver Thornton to learn more about the effort; here’s what he told me:

What is the social benefit you hope to achieve with or through your crowdfunding campaign?

It is completely unacceptable that our autistic community is experiencing an over 80% unemployment and underemployment rate. As passionate advocates who have either been diagnosed with autism ourselves or have family members affected with autism, we understand that with the right resources, training, coaching, and environment that individuals with autism can thrive in the workforce.

By contributing towards our campaign, contributors are contributing to the development of Coding Autism’s first web development bootcamp, the ASPIRE Web Development Immersive. This is a 15-week, full-time course where students will be learning the fundamental skills necessary to secure an entry-level web developer job. We cover both front-end and back-end skills, along with Quality Assurance and SCRUM principles. By the end of the course, students will walk away with a portfolio of full-stack web applications which they can use when applying to their first developer jobs.

This program would create the societal benefit of slashing the 80% autistic un/underemployment statistic that exists in our society and in turn creating highly qualified, skilled, and eager to work autistic employees to fill job vacancies in the tech industry.

How much money are you hoping to raise and why? How much have you raised so far?

Through out crowdfunding campaign, we are hoping to raise $50,000 as our tipping point goal. If we reach our tipping point we can cover the minimum costs to make the Coding Autism ASPIRE program happen. This includes providing the salary for the primary Coding Autism immersive instructor, an assistant instructor, an occupational therapist, a social skills intervention expert, a career counselor, the location that we will be hosting our program, the development of our curriculum, and marketing expenses to help promote our program and acquire qualified autistic students for our program.

If we reach our stretch goal of $120,000, we would be able to not only finance its first program, but we would also be able to 100% subsidize the enrollment fees for our first round of students, which is up to 15 in total.

As of day 2 of our crowdfunding campaign, we have raised $13,310, which is about 26% of our tipping point goal. We are hoping to use this momentum to not only surpass our tipping point goal, but to also surpass our stretch goal.

Whom are you trying to help with your project and why?

Through out company and our crowdfunding campaign efforts, we will and forever always will focus solely on helping individuals on the autism spectrum succeed. As we are a start-up, we want to tackle the issue of autistic un/underemployment first with our offerings before moving towards other demographics within the autism spectrum such as children and teenagers on the autism spectrum as well as non-verbal autistic individuals.

As mentioned in the previous responses, autistic adults deal with the egregious reality that 80% of all adults with autism are either unemployed or underemployed. With our program offerings through Coding Autism, we are creating opportunities for adults with autism to utilize the strengths of being on the autism spectrum to develop them into very highly skilled and desirable employees within the technology industry, an industry that has the highest amount of job vacancies in the US as well as pay an average salary of $40k+ a year.

What rewards, if any, are you offering to your supporters?

Personal Thank You Email: $10

The Coding Autism team is beyond grateful for any contribution that we receive. Each contribution is one step closer to accomplishing our goal of funding our first web-development immersive for adults on the autism spectrum. To show our gratitude, the co-founders will write you a personal thank you email for your contribution!

Social Media Shout Out & Personal Email From Co-Founders: $20

By providing a $20 contribution, you are moving us even closer to successfully funding our first program. To express our gratitude, we will shout you out on Facebook and Twitter as well as send you a personalized thank you email!

Early Bird: Coding Autism Shirt & Sticker: $40

The brackets in our logo represent open arms embracing people on the spectrum into the workforce. Show off your open arms (literally) with your own Coding Autism t-shirt! With this contribution reward, you will receive a Coding Autism shirt as well as a Coding Autism sticker that you can put on your laptop, your school binder, or anywhere else you would like! Early bird price is applicable until 4/04/2017, where this prize will jump up to $50.

Early Bird: Coding Autism Snapback Hat: $65

Are you a hat person? Or simply would like to rock one of Coding Autism’s snapback hats when you are out and about in town to show off how you contributed to and supported our campaign? With this reward, you are able to choose either a black or white Coding Autism snapback hat that you can show off to your friends and family! Early bird price is applicable until 4/04/2017, where this prize will jump up to $75.

Name Featured on Coding Autism Website: $100

How cool would it be to be forever remembered for providing the opportunity for people to achieve their dream jobs? With this contribution you name or company will be memorialized on our website on our contributors wall. This is a fantastic was to show the world your passion for the cause, and be recognized for your role in changing people’s lives.

Skype with the Founders: $250

Would you like to have a personal conversation with the people behind Coding Autism? With this reward, you will have the ability to have a 30 minute Skype conversation with both co-founders of Coding Autism, where you can ask them questions about how they got involved with starting Coding Autism, what there plans are for Coding Autism in the future or anything that is on your mind! This is a great way to share you input on where you would like to see Coding Autism go.

Early Bird: Custom Coding Autism Shoes: $400

Not only are these shoes insanely cool, but they are custom made specifically for this campaign. With this reward, you will receive a pair of Coding Autism’s customized “autism-blue” athletic shoes which you can rock at the gym, as street wear, or around the house! Early bird price is applicable until 4/04/2017, where this prize will jump up to $500.

Early Bird: Framed Poster of First Cohort: $750

As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words… or a thousand dollars! The contributor for this award will received a framed poster of the first Coding Autism ASPIRE program signed by each student, founder, and employee involved! Early bird price is applicable until 4/04/2017, where this prize will jump up to $1000.

Meet the Founders: $2,500

If a Skype meeting is not enough, you have the ability to meet the founders in person! With the reward, you will have the opportunity to meet the co-founders of Coding Autism in person where you will grab dinner and have a night on the town! If you are from the United States, the Coding Autism co-founders will either fly you out to them or they will fly out to you. If you are from outside the United States, the co-founders will provide up to $750 towards travel expenses.

Sponsorship for Coding Autism Student Enrollment: $10,000

This award sponsors a student selected by Coding Autism for a guaranteed slot in their program. The sponsored student would provide the following responsibilities for the contributor. 1.) Skype call with the donor 2.) Personal hand-written thank you note 3.) Progress report on their learnings in course and plans after course completion 4.) The opportunity to meet the student in person (we will fly you out to them) 5.) Sponsorship named after the contributing individual or company. The contributor would also receive all of the rewards previous to this reward and the $10,000 voucher award.

Voucher for Student Enrollment in First Coding Autism Cohort: $10,000

This award provides the contributor 1 voucher, which claims a guaranteed slot for an adult with autism (their son, family member, recommendation, etc.) to enroll into Coding Autism’s first program. The contributor would also receive all of the rewards previous to this reward and the $10,000 Sponsorship reward.

Check out the campaign:

Visit the website.
Follow on Facebook.
Follow on Twitter at @codingautism

Support Mile High WorkShop to Rebuild the lives of Addicted and Homeless People through Jobs

The Mile High WorkShop is a social enterprise contract and goods manufacturer. They are raising money here. Recently I caught up with Andy Magel to learn more about the effort; here’s what he told me:

What is the social benefit you hope to achieve with or through your crowdfunding campaign?

Imagine what it would be like if you made a mistake, and nobody would give you a second chance. For many of the employees at Mile High WorkShop, society has turned its back on them, despite their best efforts to turn their lives around. Colorado has one of the worst recidivism rates in the country, but a good job can make all the difference. At the Mile High WorkShop, we believe in giving people a second chance, and everyone is welcome here.

The Mile High WorkShop is a social enterprise contract and goods manufacturer. We partner with businesses who need help producing and manufacturing their woodworking and sewn goods, and produce the goods for them in our workshop, right here in the Denver area. We also work on packaging and fulfillment, making sure that people get their orders in a timely fashion. Why do we run this business? Well, we love Denver, and we love the local manufacturing movement. But most of all, we love being able to employ people who need a second chance. Every contract we get means more jobs for the people who need them.

How much money are you hoping to raise and why? How much have you raised so far?

We’re aiming to raise $50,000 to help us do the following:

The first $10,000 will purchase a lift which will enable us to increase the production capacity of our workshop by making it easier and faster to move large pallets and also add to the skills we’re able to teach

After the initial $10,000 is raised, $40,000 in additional funds will go towards ensuring that we are able to provide training and support to our employees so they succeed long term. Because we have a social mission to help people out of poverty, we incur more costs than your typical business, such as individual case management, group training and helping to provide transportation to our employees.

So far we’ve raised $600.

Whom are you trying to help with your project and why?

Mile High Workshop is a non-profit manufacturer that employs Colorado’s former homeless, drug addicted and people with histories of incarceration, and trains these folks in woodworking, laser engraving, packaging and assembly services. Mile High offers high-quality, small-scale manufacturing, filling a key business need with both non-profit and for-profit businesses. Small-scale manufacturing allows employees to learn specialized skills, and we hope, potential for career and wage progression once they leave social enterprise employment for competitive employment.

What rewards, if any, are you offering to your supporters?

** Every gift over $100 will receive an awesome UpCycled Banner Bag sewn by members of our training program as a thank you for your generosity. **

** Every gift over $250 will receive a beautiful WorkShop cutting board crafted by members of our training program as a thank you for your generosity. **

** Can you help us purchase a pallet stacker with your gift of $10,000? We’d love to say thank you with a custom built dining table from the shop **

Check out the campaign:

Visit the website.
Follow on Facebook.
Follow on Twitter at @MH_WorkShop

 

The Public Can Now Invest in Cornerstone Kids, the First Truly Eco-Friendly Childcare Center

Press Release – AIKEN, S.C., March 30, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Cornerstone Kids is pleased to announce that it has launched an equity crowdfunding campaign, making investments in the company available to the general public. Terms of the offering can be found at: https://jumpstartmicro.com

Investing in a venture isn’t just for the wealthy anymore. Now is your chance to invest in a socially significant company setting out to change the childcare industry from the ground up. Cornerstone Kids is raising money to begin construction of its first green energy facility and has plans to nationally franchise. “I’ve been in the childcare industry for more than 25 years. This new facility we are constructing is totally eco-friendly, runs on green energy, built to reduce germs in the air and physical environment with a focus on early childhood education with all of the tools a child needs to start off right,” said Lynne Fleming, CEO.

The Company’s vision is a physical environment designed from the ground up to significantly reduce bacterium, viruses, and other microorganisms as small and viscous as the flu virus. It will also run using green energy and clean-air systems. To accomplish this they have partnered with Insulsteel™, Inc., which is uniquely qualified to build these facilities using their patented EcoShell™ designs.

For early childhood education, the center will provide programs for all pre-school levels with advanced learning through Khan Academy as well as after school programs like karate, dance, and music. So, in addition to being designed to keep kids healthy, these facilities will also foster early childhood development.

“We are excited to be partnering with Lynne and her team at Cornerstone Kids to build what we believe will be a totally new eco-friendly concept for this industry. Before getting involved we commissioned an environmental study, which can be found on the Jumpstart Micro site,” said Steve Bostic, CEO of Insulsteel.

Investors receive stock and profit sharing for investments as low as $500 through regulation crowdfunding which allows nearly anyone to make investments in startup ventures. SEC regulations prohibit us from providing more information about our offering here. To get more information and learn how you can become an investor, visit: https://jumpstartmicro.com/deal-show/id-241.html

About Cornerstone Kids

Cornerstone Kids is located in Aiken, South Carolina. The founders have been operating successful childcare services for over 25 years. Cornerstone Kids, Inc. is a newly formed entity to develop a new brand of eco-friendly childcare facilities. http://www.aikencornerstonekids.com

About Insulsteel

Insulsteel™ building enclosures offers the EcoShell™, which is an innovative building enclosure system that withstands hurricane winds up to 200 MPH, and provides thermal insulation values 4-times greater than traditional wood framing. www.insulsteel.com

About Crowd Smart Marketing

Crowd marketing agency provides marketing strategic crowd marketing services. http://www.crowdsmartmarketing.com

About Jumpstart Micro

Jumpstart Micro™, is a Registered Funding Portal under SEC regulation Crowdfunding 4(6)(a) and a member of FINRA. Jumpstart Micro does not provide investment advice. Please see investor disclosure and risk statement at https://www.jumpstartmicro.com

To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/the-public-can-now-invest-in-cornerstone-kids-the-first-truly-eco-friendly-childcare-center-300431759.html

Coding Autism Begins Crowdfunding To Develop Career Transitioning Program For Adults With Autism

Press Release – LOS ANGELES (March 31, 2017) – Coding Autism, a Los Angeles-based startup providing career transitioning programs for adults on the autism spectrum, starts their crowdfunding campaign today. The funds from this campaign will be used to finance their first class in the Greater Los Angeles area, the ASPIRE Web Development Immersive. The ASPIRE Web Development Immersive is a 15-week, full-time course where students will be learning the fundamental skills necessary to secure an entry-level web developer job. It covers both front-end and back-end skills, along with Quality Assurance and SCRUM principles. By the end of the course, students will walk away with a portfolio of full-stack web applications which they can use when applying to their first developer jobs.

Coding Autism is looking to raise a minimum of $50,000 on through its rewards-based campaign, and another $50,000 through its equity campaign. To help support this cause, people can donate at Coding Autism’s Start Some Good page here: https://startsomegood.com/projects/coding-autism-training-adults-with-autism-in-code/. Accredited investors can contribute to Coding Autism’s Crowdfunder equity campaign here: https://www.crowdfunder.com/coding-autism.

To better cater to the specialized needs of autistic learners, classes are kept small (15 students maximum) and an on-site occupational therapist will be present to tailor each class to the unique needs of each group. According to Evelyn Peña, director of the Cal Lutheran Univeristy Autism and Communication Center, “We see a natural fit for people on the spectrum and jobs in the tech space. Oftentimes it isn’t the abilities or knowledge that creates the greatest barrier, but soft skills like eye contact and communication that prevent them from even being considered for a role they may otherwise be qualified for. For that reason, we place an emphasis on these skills that would otherwise be skipped by similar programs.”

CEO and co-founder, Oliver Thornton, having been diagnosed with a form of ASD himself. Having two brothers that are also on the spectrum, he experienced firsthand the challenges people like him and his brothers face integrating into the professional world. With statistics as high as 80% un/underemployment among adults on the spectrum, and with 1 in 68 children in the US being diagnosed with ASD, he saw an urgent need to find a way to integrate this ever-growing demographic into the workplace, and alleviate fears about self-sufficiency held by both people with autism and their families.

When asked why employers should consider hiring more employees on the autism spectrum, Thornton had this to say: “Adults with autism tend to be very engaged and dedicated employees who contain intrinsic characteristics such as attention to detail, fascination for repetitive tasks, and introversion. In recent years, there has been an influx of research proving that adults with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome tend to thrive at software development related professions. As a result many technology companies such as Microsoft and SAP have implemented autism hiring initiatives to hire experienced software developers on the autism spectrum. By training adults with autism through our autism specialized coding immersive program, we are opening doors for companies to diversity their work forces, broaden the culture of their company and teams, and drive innovation within their operations.”

About Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD):

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a range of neurodevelopmental conditions characterized by impaired social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication, and restricted and repetitive behavior. Globally, autism is estimated to affect 21.7 million people as of 2013. As of 2010, the number of people affected is estimated at about 1–2 per 1,000 worldwide. About 1.5% of children in the United States (one in 68) are diagnosed with ASD as of 2014, a 30% increase from one in 88 in 2012. The number of people diagnosed has been increasing dramatically since the 1980s, partly due to changes in diagnostic practice.

About Coding Autism:

Coding Autism is a full-service professional coaching and training company that trains adults on the autism spectrum in professional skills such as software engineering, quality assurance, and web development. They also assist our graduates in finding employment within the software and technology industries. Coding Autism does so by providing services such as immersive programs and bootcamps, resume workshops, career counseling, interview preparation, and coaching/mentorship, all of which is designed around providing an environment where people on the spectrum can thrive.

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