Tag: crowdfunding

National Trust for Historic Preservation Announces Crowdfunding Campaign to Help Restore Nina Simone’s Childhood Home (WATCH)

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, through its African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, announced a crowdfunding campaign to support the restoration and preservation of Nina Simone’s childhood home in Tryon, NC.

This campaign, supported by artists, actors, and musicians including John Legend, will raise funds integral to the exterior restoration of the home where the celebrated singer, pianist and Civil Rights icon’s life began. The home, which has fallen into disrepair requiring urgent revitalization, was designated a National Treasure in June of 2018.

“Spaces devoted to the history and legacy of people of color, especially women of color, are far too few in America today,” said John Legend. “Preserving places like the Nina Simone childhood home will help keep her powerful story alive. This campaign pays tribute to Nina Simone’s unapologetic pursuit of musical, personal, and political freedom and I am proud to be a part of it.”

The National Trust’s crowdfunding campaign will run on IndieGoGo, beginning today, giving the public an opportunity to make donations to this effort, and to purchase newly designed Nina Simone-inspired merchandise including t-shirts, artist prints, pins, and postcards with artwork by Dare Coulter — a North Carolina-based artist working to create positive imagery of people of color. The campaign will also include the option to acquire additional merch donated by musicians including Talib Kweli and actors Mahershala Ali and Issa Rae.

“Our culture is embodied in old places and the history and stories they keep,” said Brent Leggs, executive director of the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “This modest home in Tryon, North Carolina embodies the story of a young black girl who transcended the constraints placed on her in the Jim Crow south, to become the voice of the Civil Rights Movement. Nina Simone’s childhood home provides an important lens for examining the contours of her life, and through its preservation, we hope to celebrate and cement her legacy in our American narrative.”

In 1933, Eunice Waymon, aka Nina Simone, was born in Tryon, North Carolina. It was in this home that Simone first taught herself the piano at the age of three, performed in public for the first time at the neighborhood church where her mother preached, and where she experienced the constraints placed on African Americans in the rural Jim Crow South. This home would become the inspiration of some of her most influential music and political activism, including songs such as “Mississippi Goddam” and “Four Women.”

In recent years, the three-room, 660-square foot clapboard pier and beam house had fallen in disrepair. The vacant property was put on the market in 2016. Alarmed by the condition of the home and the risk of losing this connection to Nina Simone entirely, four African American visual artists—conceptual artist and painter Adam Pendleton, the sculptor and painter Rashid Johnson, the collagist and filmmaker Ellen Gallagher, and the abstract painter Julie Mehretu—purchased the property in 2017.

“When three fellow artists and I purchased Nina Simone’s childhood home in 2017, we did so with the desire that the site be transformed into a piece of living history, “ said artist Adam Pendleton. “This space, so integral to Nina Simone’s music and activism, can serve to carry forward her legacy and inspire future artists and musicians.”

Nina Simone’s career spanned multiple genres, four decades, several continents, and earned 15 Grammy nominations. Her songs have been professionally sampled and covered more than 500 times.

This week, the National Trust will be bringing the Nina Simone Crowdfunding campaign to the 25th annual Essence Festival, where attendees can claim exclusive perks and learn more about this National Treasure.

Kayla Michele and Chisa Egbelu, Founders of Crowdfunding Site PeduL, Work to Change How Students Pay for College

Afrotech.com‘s feature story on Kayla Michele and Chisa Egbelu, Founders of PeduL, a college scholarship crowdfunding platform, is not to be missed. The disparities in this nation’s higher education system have been in the headlines nonstop as of late, so reading about people who have been working to create and expand equity and opportunity for middle and lower-income students is a joy. So is learning of a new way to possibly support struggling college kids.

To quote from Afrotech.com:

Those systemic barriers can’t be magically waved away, but sites like PeduL help to promote equality in education. From helping students raise money to expanding to provide scholarships and different opportunities, PeduL is a useful tool that all college students should be aware of.

“Our government has slowly enabled college to shift from accessible, yet dispensable, commodity to a necessary luxury,” Michele said. “We’re creating the one-stop shop for scholarships to ensure that all students have equal access to quality education — regardless of the resources and networks available to them.”

To check out PeduL, click here.

To read the Afrotech.com story, click here.

Below is video of Kayla, a Rutgers graduate who was inspired in part to create PeduL from what she learned in her university’s Black and Latino tech program:

Young Entrepreneurs Who Started Taharka Bros. Ice Cream in Baltimore are Subject of New Documentary “A Dream Preferred”


The media’s representation of Baltimore in 2015 hasn’t been the kindest—well, aside from that time President Obama praised HBO’s The Wire. The sad fact is, the media would’ve continued to ignore the crime-ridden city’s residents’ needs and discontent had it not been for the tragic death of Freddie Gray, the 20-year-old black man who died while in police custody in early April.

Rightfully angered, many of Baltimore’s citizens let their frustrations be seen and heard via riots and protests. And since nationwide news outlets were there on the scene for every broken window and raised-in-solidarity fist, much of the viewing public saw Baltimore’s post-Gray events and formed opinions based on those acts.

Instead of spending so much time focusing on the city’s angriest moment, however, media outlets should be paying more attention to the young men and women who are busting their humps to uplift Baltimore both emotionally and financially.

In the new documentary short A Dream Preferred, filmmakers Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady (Jesus Camp) have done just that. Co-produced by Tribeca Digital Studios and American Express, the film—which is currently available on various cable on-demand platforms—follows the efforts of six young black men in Baltimore, led by an outspoken go-getter named Devon Brown, who’ve started their own dessert company, Taharka Bros. Ice Cream. (The name is a tribute to Taharka McCoy, a 25-year-old local mentor who was senselessly gunned down in January 2002.)

The company’s goal is, naturally, partly to use their handmade frozen treats to turn profits, but ultimately the Taharka Bros. are aiming to inspire other young entrepreneurs—they’re proof that inner-city minorities don’t need to play sports and make rap music to be successful.

A Dream Preferred, shot throughout the summer of 2013, captures their efforts to raise $28,000 in 29 days through the crowd-funding site Kickstarter. Dubbed “Vehicle for Change,” their Kickstarter plan was crucial to allow the brothers (in the figurative sense, not literally blood-connected siblings) elevate their business above using a rinky-dink ice cream truck.

With charisma to spare, the Taharka crew—especially Devon Brown, who’s the film’s de facto star—give A Dream Preferred a lightheartedness that offsets its heavier underlying themes, mainly the racial discrimination they experience everyday as young black men. In one scene, their efforts to solicit Kickstarter contributions from white folks is mostly a cold-shoulder struggle, and the Taharka brothers’ frustrations are visible.

That scene has struck a lot of people who’ve seen the film,” says Taharka Bros. creative director Darius Wilmore, 42. “It’s interesting, because that scene is part of the challenge of something like this. You have the softest product on the face of the Earth, which is ice cream, that’s made and sold by people who’ve been deemed to be the hardest, and that’s an interesting juxtaposition. Unfortunately, you can’t avoid the issue of race. It’s always gonna be there. Some people will be open to it and others aren’t, but you can’t let that stop you from doing what you’re trying to do.”

Continue reading “Young Entrepreneurs Who Started Taharka Bros. Ice Cream in Baltimore are Subject of New Documentary “A Dream Preferred””

Natalie McGriff, 7, Wins $16,423 for Writing Comic Book About her Afro Puffs

Seven Year Girl Wins $16,423
“The Adventures of Moxie Girl” writer Natalie McGriff

Seven-year-old Natalie McGriff earned $16,423.69 in prize money for creating her comic book “The Adventures of Moxie Girl” at Jacksonville, FL’s One Spark, touted as the world’s largest crowdfunding festival.

McGriff’s comic boorevolves around the life of a little Black girl who hated her hair texture. After using some magical shampoo, the little girl’s afro-puffs are activated with super powers that helped save the Jacksonville Public Libraries from being eaten by monsters.

McGriff’s mother, Angie Nixon, helped her daughter write her comic book “because she was having self-esteem issues regarding her hair and she hated to read.”

“She now realizes how powerful and awesome her hair is and that in order for her to write a cool book, she needs to read more books and learn different words,” she continued.

Over 530 projects competed for One Spark 2015, and 300,000 people attended the festival. McGriff was the winner of the Education category; there were 117,169 votes cast by attendees. One Spark is a five-day festival and one-day Speaker Summit. Creators from six categories (Art, Education, Health & Science, Music, Social Good and Technology) explain their projects to a crowd of over 250,000 people and are able to experience the crowdfunding for their project in person. The attendees contribute to crowdfunding campaigns and vote to distribute $150,000 of the guaranteed $350,000 in awards.

article by Lauren R.D. Fox via madamenoire.com

Story of James Robertson, Who Walks 42 Miles to Factory Job Every Day, Inspires Crowdfunding for New Car


When James Robertson’s (pictured) story appeared in the Detroit Free Press about how he walks 42 miles a day roundtrip to get to his $10.55 per hour factory job in Rochester Mills, Mich., because he can’t afford to buy a car, hordes of readers sprung in to action by contributing to a GoFundMe account so that he can buy a car, according to the New York Daily News.

The 56-year-old injection molder, who does not appear to be physically fit, has somehow managed to trek to his job every day since his car broke down back in 2005 to faithfully complete his 2:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. shift.

Since none of Robertson’s co-workers live near him, he is unable to hitch a ride to or from work. Robertson — who is yet to miss one day of work — begins his day at 8:00 am, even walking along some treacherous areas along the famed 8 Mile and through all kinds of bad weather with rain, sleet, hail or snow.

The Motor City received more than 16 inches of snow on Monday and not even this fact kept Robertson from walking his daily trek in order to maintain his perfect work attendance.  “I’ve had worse. This is reminiscent of those snowstorms last year, and I made it then,” he told The Detroit Free Press.

Since Robertson’s story broke, he has reportedly had hundreds of offers to donate free vehicles, bus tickets, bicycles, and even a daily chauffeur service.

Robertson’s GoFundMe account, which is now at nearly $50,000 in donations, was started by Evan Leedy, 19, a Wayne State University student, who was moved by the conscientious employee’s plight.  After Robertson’s article was published and Leedy read through various online comments from folks who wanted to reach out and help the man, Leedy decided that a fund would be just the right move, saying, “I just used my phone. I created the go-funding site and within an hour we had $2,000.  I set the goal at the beginning of $5,000.”

Leedy wants to make sure that Robertson receives all of the money so that he won’t be forced to share with others and that the money will also cover insurance and maintenance of the vehicle.

article by Ruth Manuel-Logan via newsone.com

EDUCATION: Seven Creative Ways to Find Cash for College

(Photo via THINKSTOCK) 

With college tuition skyrocketing, pursuing your educational dreams may seem out of reach. The average student carries nearly $29,000 in student-loan debt. However, you don’t have to be part of this statistic. Each year companies and organizations give away millions of dollars in scholarships to deserving students.

Whether you apply for a $1,000 or $20,000 scholarship, invest your time and talent in showing judges how your education will benefit society. If you’re not willing to help others, why should someone assist you with your college expenses? So make sure you highlight your community service.

Ramp up your search and earn some cash. Here are seven creative ways to find money for college:

1. Social media. If you’re already scrolling through your tweets, use Twitter to locate scholarships. Search using hashtags like #scholarships#college and #financialaid. To stay up-to-date on the latest opportunities, follow @prepforcollege and @volunTEENnation. You could also start a Facebook group dedicated to finding free money for school.

2. Crowdfunding. Last year a Boston University student raised more than $8,000 to help pay for her tuition fees through crowdfunding. Take advantage of your online presence. Enlist your family and friends to spread the word. When you ask for money, don’t be shy; treat people’s donations as an investment in your future. Start your campaign today with one of these sites: ScholarMatchGoFundMe or YouCaring.com.

3. Volunteering. Giving back feels good, and it can also open many unexpected doors. By serving your community, you make your scholarship application more enticing to the judges, who will want to learn more about you. Help out at your nearest Boys & Girls Club or pick up litter at the public park on Saturdays. Plus, if you enroll in AmeriCorps, a national service program, you may become eligible to receive an education award to pay your college costs. Community service is a win-win for everyone.

4. Local sources. Narrow down the competition by applying for scholarships in your area. One highlyuntapped resource is the local newspaper. If you’re in a rush and can’t get a physical copy, read the online version. Scholarship announcements may appear in church bulletins or even classified ads. You also can attend nearby Meetups to ask about potential opportunities.

5. Affinity groups. Free money exists for folks who belong to particular groups. What separates you from the crowd? Are you a single parent, a vegetarian or a twin? Think about all the characteristics that make you different. Your unique quality could earn you free money. Check out this list of unusual scholarships.

6. Arts and crafts. Some scholarship applications may require an essay. But if essay writing is not your forte, that’s OK. Look for scholarships that allow you to express your creativity. From drawing to graphic designing, you can rack up funds with your original artwork. Enter the Create-a-Greeting-Card Scholarship Contest or Duck Tape’s Stuck at Prom Scholarship Contest (this year’s winning couple won $10,000 each). Your artistic talent can help you achieve your college goals.

7. Create your own scholarship. Yes, this may sound crazy, but show your initiative! Research and contact small businesses that don’t currently offer scholarships. Tell them about your educational aspirations and how a scholarship could be a great public relations campaign for their business. By marketing your gifts and showing sincerity, you may find that a company awards you its first official scholarship.

Researching and applying for scholarships can be a tedious process. However, the rewards outweigh the work. With commitment and time, you don’t have to carry the student-loan burden.

article by Shayla R. Price via theroot.com

Chicago Artist Savannah Wood Aims For Engagement, Empowerment With South Side Book Exchange (VIDEO)

CHICAGO — If Baltimore native and Chicago transplant Savannah Wood has one regret, it’s that she didn’t take enough time to read all the books she said surrounded her as a youngster.  Though the Chicago-based artist and Rebuild Foundation instructor said she was surrounded by incredible books, she laments that she didn’t stumble upon a book like Richard Wright’s 1940 novel Native Son, which she said she received as part of a book exchange while she was studying abroad in France as a student of the University of Southern California. Reading Native Son, which tells the story of a 20-year-old Chicago man feeling alienated like an expat in his own country, was an experience, she told The Huffington Post, that resonated deeply.  “That was the beginning of my being interested in black literature as a reflection of black life, the positive imagery in black lit,” Wood said in a recent interview. “I want to share that with other people.”

Last week, Wood launched an Indiegogo fundraising campaign for Black Ink Book Exchange, an initiative that will eventually become “not quite a library and not quite a bookstore” focused on works written by and about those from the African Diaspora and located inside the University of Chicago’s Arts Incubator in the city’s Washington Park neighborhood.  Wood told HuffPost she was inspired to launch the pop-up exchange after working with renowned Chicago artist Theaster Gates to create a library focused on the works of black authors for a private client. With the Black Ink Book Exchange, she hopes to take that idea and make it publicly accessible in a way that serves as a focal point for the predominately black neighborhood to engage with the arts. She plans to open the space by spring and, during the summertime, move it to other locations on Chicago’s South Side.


“I’m hoping to really activate the space and give people a place they can feel they can take some ownership of,” Wood said. “It’s not just to be looked at, but handled.”

Part of the interactivity Wood is aiming for entails the offering of free creative writing and crafting workshops taught in the space by guest artists. Money donated to the project’s $6,000 fundraising goal will go toward paying the artists a stipend for their services, in addition to purchasing books to supplement donated books, furniture and covering administrative costs.

“You can get hands on and make things here too,” Wood said of what makes the exchange different from a traditional library or bookstore. “I’ve been making things my whole life and I think it’s an empowering skill to have to produce something and put it out into the world.”

Visit the Black Ink Book Exchange’s Indiegogo page for additional information about donating funds or books toward the project.

article by Joseph Erbentraut via huffingtonpost.com

Director Spike Lee Reaches Kickstarter Goal of $1.25 Million for New Film

Spike Lee speaks onstage during the 'Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truthts' panel discussion at the HBO portion of the 2013 Summer Television Critics Association tour - Day 2 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on July 25, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
Spike Lee speaks during the ‘Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truths’ panel discussion at the HBO portion of the 2013 Summer Television Critics Association tour – on July 25, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Spike Lee has surpassed his Kickstarter goal of $1.25 million, with 4 days remaining in his campaign.  The 56-year-old director launched his campaign on July 21, in an effort to raise money to make his next film. Lee describes the movie as a “psychological bloody thriller,” about human beings who are addicted to blood (and not a remake of Blacula).  Since launching his campaign 26 days ago, Lee as amassed more than 5,400 financial backers, (including Magic Mike director Steven Soderbergh) and raised $1,304,000.

But Lee’s Kickstarter campaign wasn’t a seamless endeavor.  The Do the Right Thing director generated strong criticism from the media. Weeks ago Lee made an appearance on Bloomberg TV’s Street Smart and had a heated debate about the backlash he’s received for using Kickstarter.  During an interview with theGrio’s Chris Witherspoon, Lee talked about his reason for using Kickstarter.

“I needed to go to Kickstarter to get this film made because this is not necessarily a Hollywood film, Lee said. “It’s more like an independent film.”  The 56-year-old Brooklyn native then said he doesn’t envision his contemporaries in the industry, like Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg or Clint Eastwood, following in his footsteps and turning to Kickstarter to fund their future films.  “Anybody could do this, but Steven Spielberg,” Lee said. “Spielberg, Clint Eastwood, Scorsese, they don’t have to do that.” Why? “Because they don’t have to do it,” he said. “They’re great filmmakers and they’re beloved by the studios.”

Lee’s next film, which is scheduled to hit theaters in October, will be his remake of the Korean thriller Oldboy.

article by Chris Witherspoon via thegrio.com

Steven Soderbergh Donates $10,000 To Spike Lee Kickstarter Because Lee Inspired Him To Direct

Steven Soderbergh
Steven Soderbergh (Charles Eshelman/Getty Images)
Spike Lee
Spike Lee

Days after it was revealed Steven Soderbergh donated $10,000 to Spike Lee‘s Kickstarter campaign, the Magic Mike and Behind the Candelabra director explained why he offered such massive financial support.

Lee was one of three independent American filmmakers, with David Lynch and Jim Jarmusch, who inspired Soderbergh in the ’80s, a time in which he otherwise “felt like the sense of what was possible had shrunk,” Soderbergh wrote on Lee’s Kickstarter page.

“These were distinctive new voices, and the freedom (and success) they represented was liberating and energizing; these were shoulders I would try to stand on, that I would be proud to stand on,” he explains.

Soderbergh continues to praise Lee, writing: “Certain filmmakers exist outside the traditional parameters of criticism; their point of view and body of work make discussions about individual films interesting but ultimately irrelevant because each project is merely a chapter in a very long book that must (and will) be acknowledged and appreciated for its breadth, ambition, and contributions to the art of cinema. For me, Spike Lee is one of those filmmakers. He is a totally unique figure in American cinema, and he’s always gone his own way and spoken his mind (even when the commercial stakes were high), qualities which are in short supply in the film business.”

In closing, Soderbergh reiterates that he’s supporting a friend whose films he admires and who paved the way for his own success. He also notes that he’s hoping — through the Knicks game he’s been promised for his pledge — to get to know Lee better as a person.  Lee’s Kickstarter for a movie that he describes as a “funny,” “sexy” and “bloody” picture has so far raised $403,546 of its $1.25 million goal from 1,989 backers (including 21 at the $10,000 maximum level). There are 22 days left for the campaign to meet its fundraising target.

article by Hilary Lewis via hollywoodreporter.com

Black Girls Code Raises Over $100,000 to Train Next Generation of Tech Divas


9078662219_4df7a13dd1_cBlack Girls Code, the non-profit organization dedicated to teaching young women of color about computer science, technology and coding languages, has raised $109,357 and counting via Indiegogo.com for their 2013 10-city summer program, and hopes to raise $25,000 more by this evening, Friday, July 26, to provide this year’s Tech Divas with new equipment for their mobile apps workshop.  

9078688061_af665c957b_cThe summer tour kicks off August 3rd in Detroit, travels to Oakland with mobile app summer bootcamp August 5-9, then heads to Pittsburgh, Memphis, New York, Washington DC, Tallahassee, Dallas, Miami and Chicago on subsequent dates.  To learn more about Black Girls Code, watch the video below, or go to Indiegogo.com.  To register for the summer programs, go to blackgirlscode.com.  Onward and upward!

Related Stories: BlackGirlsCode Wins $50,000 Philanthropy Award

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson

The Good Things Black People Do, Give and Receive All Over The World
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