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

Crowdfunding for Social Good

Devin D. Thorpe

Devin Thorpe

Rewards Campaigns

Stories about rewards-based crowdfunding campaigns.

Miracle Foundation Launches Unique Mother’s Day Campaign to Benefit Orphaned Children

Non-Profit Hopes to Raise Money to Support Children Who Don’t Have a Mom

Press Release – AUSTIN, TX – There are millions of orphaned children in the developing world, many of whom languish in sub-standard institutions with deplorable conditions, where even their most basic needs are not met. That’s why Miracle Foundation, a non-profit organization that empowers orphans to reach their full potential, is launching its unique Mother’s Day campaign. The 501(c)(3) charity, which brings life-changing care to the world’s orphans, hopes to raise funds by May 14th to provide clean water, nutritious food, healthcare and a quality education for mother-less children—all in a stable, loving, nurturing environment.

“This Mother’s Day, we invite you to honor your mom in a very meaningful way, by participating in our campaign,” said Caroline Boudreaux, Founder of Miracle Foundation. “Doing so will engage both you and your mom in the lives of less fortunate children in the developing world. What better way to pay tribute to your mother than by giving to children who don’t have one?”

To honor a mom, gift-givers simply visit www.MiracleFoundation.org/mothers. There, they can make a tax-deductible donation in the name of their mother—or other special woman in their lives. Supporters at all donation levels will receive a beautiful certificate they can share with their honoree for Mother’s Day.

In addition to the special Mother’s Day certificate, donors at two levels will receive additional perks:

  • $60 & up: eBook from Amazon’s Kindle Store (electronic code sent to donors via email, within 1 business day after donation)
  • $125 & up: Gourmet chocolates from Maggie Louise Confections (chocolates sent to honorees via mail, within 2 business days after donation)

“We believe in quality over quantity, in supporting the whole child and breaking the cycle of poverty. Our Mother’s Day campaign represents a meaningful new way that every person can make miracles for orphans and honor their mother at the same time,” added Boudreaux. “Helping children go from hopeless and head-down, to empowered and standing tall, with bright futures ahead of them, is one of the most fulfilling endeavors in the world.”

Launched on Mother’s Day in 2000, Miracle Foundation turns struggling, institutional orphanages into stable, loving, nurturing homes where children thrive. The Austin, TX-based organization partners with existing orphanages to implement its proven and systematic method for providing a home where the fundamental needs and rights of growing children are met, from the day they arrive until the day they graduate into adulthood.

“While our goal is to find a loving family for every orphaned child, that isn’t always possible. For orphans with nowhere else to go, we ensure that orphanages are in line with international standards and guidelines. And we provide excellent training for caregivers, a top-notch education for the children, nutritious food and plenty of love,” added Boudreaux.

Currently, Miracle Foundation supports 24 orphanages in the developing world (starting with India), and offers its wide range of capacity-building training—focused on child protection, child rights, caregivers, life skills education, governance and more—to anyone running or donating to an orphanage around the world. With an increasingly global focus, Miracle Foundation is also partnering with organizations in Egypt, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia and more to redefine the role of orphanages and bring life-changing care to the world’s orphans.

Miracle Foundation is unique in that its metric-driven method is measurable, scalable and transparent, guarding against corruption and ensuring that all donations go directly into nurturing and transforming the lives of orphaned children. Through its work, Miracle Foundation has given thousands of children without parental care a childhood that would have otherwise been impossible.

“Miracle Foundation proves that one person can make a difference,” said Shelley Seale, donor. “I have witnessed first-hand what my monthly donation can do to change the lives of many. I’ve traveled to India and visited the orphanages and have seen the difference my investment makes in orphans’ lives. We are empowering children to be the best that they can be.”

Miracle Foundation has been honored with the highest possible rating of four stars by Charity Navigator, an independent organization that evaluates U.S. charities’ effectiveness and financial transparency: http://bit.ly/1nJC7wq

About Miracle Foundation

Miracle Foundation is an Austin, TX-based non-profit organization that brings life-changing care to the world’s orphans. The ultimate goal of the Miracle Foundation is to find a loving family for every orphaned child. That means we explore every possible avenue to reunite children with a parent or relative, if possible. In fact, we have reunited approximately 25% of our children with their families. We do this by allocating resources to more efficiently support alternative care options and ensuring that excellent family support services are in place. And, for orphans who have nowhere else to go, we ensure that orphanages are in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and international standards and guidelines. We provide excellent training for caregivers, a top-notch education for the children, nutritious food and plenty of love for them to thrive.

Together with our supporters, we work toward a common goal of providing a loving home, a quality education and a promising future to each and every orphan. Because when you bring together those who have, with those who have not—miracles happen.

For more information, please visit www.MiracleFoundation.org.

About Maggie Louise Confections

Maggie Louise Confections is a creative confections company that brings haute couture designs to the world of chocolate by combining handcrafted creations with nostalgic flavors, modern design, and meaningful bespoke details. Made in Austin and packed with personality, MLC chocolates and candies are gifting perfection.

Launched in 2013, Maggie Louise Confections has reinvented the classic sampler box with color, personality and a unique customization platform making each box of chocolate a fun and memorable experience to both create and gift. The collection is designed seasonally and takes cues from the fashion and entertaining worlds to create a collection that feels fresh, fun and spirited.

For more information, please visit http://www.maggielouiseconfections.com/

Big Life Journal Launches Kickstarter Campaign to Help Children on the Path to Success

The first of its kind journal for children looks to investors to help spread word and increase distribution

Press Release – APRIL 12, 2017: Big Life Journal – the world’s first journal designed to inspire entrepreneurship, creativity and positivity for children – has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to enhance the lives of children across the USA.

The journal has been created by storywriters, poets, illustrators and graphic designers and is looking for funding to increase distribution and fulfill its mission of helping children on the path to success.

Created and curated by husband and wife duo, Alexandra and Scott Eidens from New York, the journal aims to help parents tackle the changing face of the workforce environment and teach children the importance of qualities such as: persistence, gratitude and mindfulness.

The 52 page, 26 week hardback journal seeks to develop a growth mindset and guide children ages 6-11 through topics such as ‘why it is important to help others’ and ‘be persistent.’ Poems, quotes and writing aim to teach children the qualities that will help them be successful adults such as: optimism, persistence, embracing failure, taking action and dreaming big.

Alexandra comments: “Big Life Journal is much more than another children’s book or diary, this is a book that can and will shape the future of children. When compiling the book we wanted to draw on qualities that inspirational people possess, such as Richard Branson, Sara Blakely, Tim Ferris and Sheryl Sandberg. Big Life Journal identified qualities that got them where they are today, such as courage and empathy.”

Scott adds: “It is important for children to understand there are many components to being a successful adult and one of those is mindfulness. Mindfulness is not just associated hippie culture and instead is identified as an important aspect of dealing with the stresses and pressures of adult life. Alongside thought-provoking poems and stories, journaling itself has been proven to evoke mindfulness and improve communication skills.”

To help Big Life Journal on their mission, visit the Kickstarter page where backers can pledge to shape the children of the future and receive special discounted rates on Big Life Journals for their own little ones.

The Big Life Journal Kickstarter campaign will run from 12th April – 12th May 2017.

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!

 

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

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.

The Anka Cooperative, An Initiative That Empowers And Employs Syrian Refugees By Making The Highest Quality Rugs In The World, Turns To Kickstarter To Expand And To Impact The Lives Of Even More Refugee Women

Press Release – Adiyaman, Turkey––March 14, 2017––The Anka Cooperative empowers Syrian women refugees by providing dignifying work creating fine carpets and traditional crafts in a safe workplace for fair compensation.

In 2012, when co-founder Neslihan Jevremovic started the cooperative, 10,000 refugees lived in Turkey. In just five years, as the Syrian conflict raged, this number swelled to over 3 million. Not surprisingly, the vast majority of these refugees struggle to find the work necessary to support their families and provide meaning in their own lives.

“Teaching women how to weave affects them personally. They are providing income for the whole family, so it changes their whole attitude about themselves.” – Co-founder Neslihan

Anka currently empowers 250 weavers in two camps. Only 30 miles from the Syrian border, the Sanliurfa camp is home to one of the oldest refugee camps in Turkey. The residents live in air-conditioned 20-foot shipping containers with their family members. The Anka weaving workshop currently empowers 25 refugees in an air-conditioned, well-lit activity center. The Adiyaman camp is home to nearly 30,000 refugees, and Anka empowers 225 women working in six air-conditioned, well-lit weaving tents. Now, the team is turning to Kickstarter to sell their existing, high quality rugs and raise awareness about this initiative. The funds raised will allow Anka to expand into a third camp and enable even more Syrian women refugees in 2017. Every $7,500 raised will empower and employ one refugee for over 8 months.

The Anka Cooperative has already had an extraordinary impact on women’s lives. One of these women is Neriman, from Damascus, is in her early 40s and has six children. Unlike many of her unfortunate relatives, she made it safely to the Adiyaman refugee camp in Southeastern Turkey. Neriman is college educated, and prior to the war she worked for many years as an accountant. But in the camps, of course, there are no accounting jobs, no freelancer websites to apply her trade. Idle time brings painful memories. She jumped at the chance to work at the carpet workshop. It’s a new skill, but she is learning – and just as important, she is earning.

Neriman is paid the same as her Turkish counterparts. She is saving to buy gold earrings for her daughters, and hopes to save for a home for when they return to Syria. Her smile shines despite the tragedy she has faced, and she is very grateful to have the chance to work again. Neriman is one of 250 women employed by The Anka Cooperative. Together, Neriman and Anka have found the key to alleviating the suffering – if you want to empower refugees, employ them. Neriman represents the 250 Anka weavers who have chosen to make the best of their difficult circumstances, and are the reason Anka exists.

“After seeing the heartbreaking image of young Aylan Kurdi on a beach in Turkey, not far from where I swam with my young daughter that same summer, I knew I had to help these desperate people in a sustainable fashion. We’re teaching these women to fish, not simply giving them fish.” – Co-founder Josh

The Anka Cooperative is a social enterprise in association with award-winning US rug producer Woven Legends. Anka rugs are of the absolute highest quality – handcrafted with handspun wool and natural dyes. An 8’x10’ rug is made of over 500,000 knots.

All proceeds from this Kickstarter campaign will be used to sell existing and create new rugs, further Anka’s mission, train more women, and provide health and educational assistance to refugee families. In exchange for pledges, backers can receive gorgeous carpet coasters, framed carpet fragments, hand woven Christmas stockings, and the empowering rugs themselves. The 30 day Kickstarter campaign will run from March 14th to April 13th.

ABOUT THE ANKA COOPERATIVE

In both Turkish and Arabic, ‘Anka’ translates to ‘Phoenix’, the mythical bird which obtains new life by arising from the ashes of its predecessor.

The Anka Cooperative empowers Syrian refugees to create a dignified path to self-empowerment and cultural integration through the creation of fine carpets and traditional crafts. Anka does this by training them in the ancient art of weaving rugs by hand while furnishing a safe workplace, fair compensation, and fulfilling employment. The weavers love their work, not only for the income it provides, but also for the companionship and a place to share laughs and to stay active.

Anka’s mission is to empower and educate over 20,000 refugees by the year 2020. They will accomplish this not only by expanding their operations into new locations and into new products, but also by partnering with leading charities and social enterprises to improve the lives of those most vulnerable.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE ANKA COOPERATIVE

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ankacooperative/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ankacooperative
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ankacooperative
Website: http://www.ankacoop.org

Eosera Launches Crowdfunding Campaign for New Earwax Impaction Solution on International Women’s Day

Founder Elyse Dickerson aims to garner support with Give 1 and Get 1 campaign

Press Release – Fort Worth, TX, March 8th, 2017 — Biotechnology innovator EOSERA™, Inc., launched their GIVE ONE AND GET ONE crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo today. Eosera is a Fort Worth-based company that developed Earwax MD™, the first innovation in earwax removal drops in decades. The campaign will allow Eosera to give away free product to elderly in need and will also help raise funds for production. Earwax MD will be commercially available in the U.S. in April 2017.

“We are launching this campaign on International Women’s Day for two reasons. First, women worldwide are great proponents of improved healthcare and catalysts for change. I co-founded Eosera to develop healthcare products that address unmet medical needs. Earwax MD will change the lives of millions of people who suffer from earwax impaction. Second, biotech innovation is still a challenging career path for girls and women around the globe. I want to ask for support for our Give 1 Get 1 campaign and serve as an example by proving that starting a successful biotech company (as a woman) is possible,” said Elyse Dickerson, Founder of Eosera, Inc.

Earwax impaction is a severe healthcare issue facing over 153 million people around the world and over 18 million Americans. The US healthcare system spends about $600 million US dollars each year to extract impacted earwax. Consumers spend approximately $63 million US dollars every year on over-the-counter earwax removal products. Current over-the-counter earwax removal products have been proven no more effective than water for removing earwax.

Clinically proven to remove earwax in 15-30 minutes, Earwax MD is a game-changer. To bring Earwax MD to market, the company needs to ramp up manufacturing and production. Make a donation to GET ONE and GIVE ONE! Adults 65 years and older, and especially those with hearing aids, are disproportionally affected by earwax impaction. So, for every contribution made to the campaign, Eosera will donate product to elderly individuals in need, with a strong focus on those suffering from hearing loss.

About Elyse Dickerson

Elyse is the CEO & co-Founder of Eosera Inc. She has a successful track record of launching worldwide healthcare products. She spent 13 years working for Alcon, a Novartis Company, where, she focused on ophthalmic and otic pharmaceutical products. Elyse managed a portfolio of over $1.7 billion in annual revenues. She has spent her career developing products for unmet medical needs and bringing healthcare solutions to patients around the world. Elyse actively mentors women who pursue careers in healthcare and technology. She is also a strong advocate for gender equality and women in business. Among her numerous industry honors are The Trailblazer Brand Champion Award and The 2016 Women in Technology Award from The Dallas Business Journal. Just last month, Elyse won the Mary Kay Pink Tank Business Pitch Competition! She holds a BA from the University of Notre Dame and an MBA from Southern Methodist University.

About EOSERA/EarwaxMD

EOSERA™, Inc. is a majority woman-owned biotech company committed to developing products that address underserved medical needs. Eosera operates by putting purpose before profits and is proud to be one of the pioneering companies in a movement called Conscious Capitalism. Eosera exists to heal humans through innovative healthcare products. Eosera’s first product, Earwax MD™, is a novel, patent-pending topical drop that uses a dual-action technology to dissolve impacted earwax. Using an evidence-based approach, the team at Eosera developed the first earwax removal innovation that is highly successful in removing excessive or impacted earwax in a single treatment. The combination of innovation backed by scientific evidence has been lacking in this area since the introduction of the category over 50 years ago. In 2015, Eosera won a $50,000 pitch competition by Comerica Bank, which helped raise the startup’s first round of seed funding reaching $1.2M. For more information, please visit www.eosera.com

Tradition Meets Innovation: Building A Sustainable School in Ghana

Press Release –  WEbuilding is a Berlin-based non-profit organization founded by an international group of young architects, united by a common purpose: to help deprived communities through sustainable public building projects.

The organization’s current project involves the construction of a school in the village of Damang in Ghana’s Eastern Region, 50 kilometers from Accra. The area currently possesses only one school for the children of the village and the many smaller surrounding communities. The new school – which will consist of an early childhood center and a primary and secondary school, accommodating a total of 560 children – would represent a huge step forward in this regard; it would also set a higher learning standard and provide equal educational opportunities for boys and girls.

WEbuilding employs sustainable, cheap and aesthetically attractive materials in a way that is innovative, yet respects local culture. During a trip to Ghana last winter, the WEbuilding team discussed possible solutions with their partner, the local NGO Volunteer Partnerships for West Africa, who own the land on which the school is to be built, and consulted with local builders who combine technology and tradition in their work.

The layout of the school reflects both environmental and social considerations: the complex will be divided into three building clusters, each consisting of several structures built mainly of compressed earth blocks, situated around a central courtyard in the manner of a local village. The first phase, for which WEbuilding is now raising funds, will include an early childhood center and a lavatory; as additional funds become available, this core complex will be complemented with two others, which will house a primary and a secondary school.

After much planning, and after overcoming all bureaucratic hurdles, WEbuilding is now entering the next phase of its project: crowdfunding. Over the past year, the organization raised enough money to finance the construction of the first classroom; in February, it launched a crowdfunding campaign on Generosity [https://igg.me/at/7kqmniXvehY­] to raise the additional 22.000$ necessary to complete the first three units, and to allow construction to begin.

WEbuilding

https://www.instagram.com/webuilding/

https://www.facebook.com/WEbuilding.e.V

#WEbuilding
#SchoolinGhana

Gorgeous Zoetrope Animation Device with Modern Spin Making Run on Kickstarter

Press Release – Sacramento, CA – Artist and inventor Les Cookson with the help of illustrator and author Ken Higginson are using the internet to help revitalize the centuries old animation device that started it all—the ZOETROPE. The Kickstarter campaign will run through March 10th, 2017.

The zoetrope, first invented in 1833, was one of the first animation devices, and the granddaddy of modern movies. It consists of a slotted cylinder, or drum, containing animation strips and discs that spin on a wooden stand. By viewing the spinning animation through slits in the drum, the blur of color is broken into a rapid succession of sequential images producing the illusion of motion.

Cookson, with his 10+ years of experience building optical devices, not only designed his zoetrope, the ZOEFLIX, to be functional and beautiful, but also to improve it by adding features like a built-in light to make the images brighter and clearer. Additionally, this new design fits more nicely together and features a solid hardwood stand and lid to balance out its handcrafted, eco-friendly, faux leather drum.

Higginson has thoughtfully remastered the historically inspired zoetrope animations to showcase a full range of artistic possibilities. He is utilizing modern printing technology to add depth to the animations with background elements and creative tweaks that place the characters in a setting and tell a more complete story. The effect is truly mesmerizing as you can see for yourself: https://youtu.be/8UC8j4pg1iA

“Today, we are so saturated with electronics that when we see an elegantly simple device like a zoetrope creating a breathtaking moving image—we think it’s magic—and that’s the point! Science and magic used to be one in the same, and the zoetrope embodies that forgotten past.” remarks Cookson.

If the Kickstarter crowd funding is successful, the internet, which has disseminated so many digital GIFs, will have helped revitalized the original GIF—the zoetrope. More information is available at www.ZOEFLIX.com

How Partnering With A Nonprofit Can Boost Your Crowdfunding Success

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

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

John Lee Dumas is one of the most successful podcasters on iTunes. Last year, when he decided to launch a crowdfunding campaign for his “Freedom Journal,” he partnered with Pencils of Promise. He raised $453,000 on Kickstarter and donated $75,000 to the nonprofit. Now he’s at it again.

Dumas boasts over 1 million listens to his “Entrepreneur on Fire” podcast every month. You wouldn’t think he “needs” to partner with Pencils of Promise in order to be successful with his campaign. Dumas is a savvy entrepreneur. He’s clearly figured that this is an important part of the strategy.

His last campaign for the “Freedom Journal” raised enough to build three schools in Ghana, Guatemala or Laos, the three countries where the nonprofit operates. For his current campaign launched this morning for his “Mastery Journal,” he hopes to raise $100,000, enough for Pencils of Promise to build four schools.

John Lee Dumas, courtesy of Entrepreneur On Fire

Dumas has not only been successful as a podcaster, talking with successful entrepreneurs seven days a week (here’s his 2014 interview with me), he’s become a business coach for podcasters. He reports his revenue and profit publicly each month. Last year, he reported revenue of $2.6 million and net profit (presumably pre-tax) of $1.7 million.

He says, “My goal with EOFire is to inspire entrepreneurs to succeed, emulate success and avoid mistakes.”

The Mastery Journal is a manual for accomplishing big goals, Dumas explains. In it, he teaches entrepreneurs how to deal with their three biggest problems: lack of productivity, discipline and focus. The book includes a daily guide to building those three powerful skills.

Dumas, who served in the military, says he learned discipline there. But he recognized that he lacked focus and productivity. His business took off once he mastered those skills.

He says the biggest challenge people face is the constant barrage of what he calls “OPA” or “other people’s agenda.” One of the tricks he uses to overcome OPA is to block out 42-minute stretches of time for focused activity with absolutely no distractions allowed.

Dumas acknowledges that some people can’t use the system. For those in 9-to-5 jobs with little autonomy, the Mastery Journal won’t help much–unless they are willing to use the tool for their free time outside of work in an effort to break away from the 9-to-5. He says, “Some people are just in reactionary mode and can’t use the book unless they are ready to leave that behind.”

He believes that the Mastery Journal will help people accomplish their objectives. “A lot of people have amazing voices to share with the world, but they don’t because they don’t give themselves permission to do it. This gives people the structure to be productive and share their message with the world.”

So far on the first day, as of January 23, 2017 at 4:00 Eastern, Dumas’s Kickstarter campaign for The Mastery Journal has raised $29,009, topping the initial goal of $25,000. The campaign ends on February 24, 2017 at 10:59 PM Eastern. In order to reach his goal to donate $100,000 to Pencils of Promise, he’ll need to raise another $571,000.

Dumas clearly believes the partnership with Pencils of Promise is a win for everyone. Not only does it provide needed cash for the organization to deliver on its mission to educate underserved communities, it makes the crowdfunding campaign more appealing to backers. They get both the value of the book but also the honest sense of helping to build a school for deserving children in the developing world.

On Tuesday, January 24, 2017 at noon Eastern, Dumas will join me here for a live discussion about The Mastery Journal, his crowdfunding campaign and the strategic partnership with Pencils of Promise. Tune in here (at the top of this article) then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

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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!

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