Have you heard of CrowdRise? It is essentially a for-profit crowdfunding platform like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, but specifically for nonprofits and with slightly lower transaction fees. It was started in 2010 by actor Edward Norton and three partners, and it recently acquired $23 million in financing. Norton is using his connections with actors like Will Ferrell and Seth Rogen to use the site to raise funds for charities to expand its popularity. Considering the connection to Ferrell and Rogen, this tagline makes complete sense.
“If you don’t give back, no one will like you.”
The Chronicle of Philanthropy recently posted an article on CrowdRise. Check it out.
Since we’re all working on videos for our ventures, I thought I would share a few from two newer ventures. The first video comes from a social enterprise and the other is from a commercial enterprise.
Food Cycle is a social enterprise in the UK that takes surplus food from grocery stores, volunteers, and contributed kitchen space to prepare meals for those who need them. They operate under what they call the triple donation model to create hubs, or sites where they offer services. They started out with two in 2009 and have expanded to 14. I like their video because it explains and shows what they do in a fairly simple yet very compelling way. Take a gander.
You’ve likely already heard all about Poo Pourri by now, so I won’t go into detail about the enterprise. The popular commercial of theirs is one of my favorites because of its combined humor, use of imagery, and simple explanations. If you haven’t seen it, then prepare to be tickled.
Located in Austin, Texas, the New Music Co-op is a 501(c)3 organization that creates and presents new music. It is a collaborative of music performers and composers from a wide range of genres. With its members, the organization operates on a consensus basis, and they have been presenting concerts since 2001.
Old Skool Cafe is a non-profit supper club in San Fransisco, CA run almost entirely by youth who are at-risk. It was started in 2006, so it has been around for a while. I thought that the combination of entrepreneurship, food, music, and youth development was definitely worth highlighting.
I feel as though we may have talked about this in class, but perhaps we didn’t since this place is now closed for the moment. Urban ReThink is (or was) a coworking space in Orlando, Florida that seems to have derived from the community space and environment of the former and independently owned, Urban Think! Bookstore. The details are fuzzy, but it appears that Urban ReThink was once a program of the 501(c)3, Urban Think! Foundation, before it became an independent entity.
Urban ReThink was operating independently in a location from 2011 until it lost its space in 2013. The founder, Darren McDaniel, is highly dedicated to the city and its creative community. He also created a business plan for the Creative Consortium of Metro Orlando and I’m pretty sure he started this very cool forum called Florida Creatives.
Florida Creatives is a website that encourages creative folks to begin local groups to network, share ideas, and collaborate in-person. To generate further virtual and face-to-face connectivity, each group’s information is hosted on the Florida Creatives website.
Neither of these entities seem to be formalized organizations. They appear to be (and have been) motivated by artists and creative folks dedicated to creating a local identity. Great stuff.
The Incubator Arts Project is, you guessed it, an incubator for artistic creation. It was started by artists in 2005 as a program of the Ontological-Hysteric Theater to support experimental works by developing artists. As the program grew and thrived, unfortunately the theater it was started under did not. When the theater closed, the Incubator Arts Project became a part of the programming for another organization, Performing Artservices Inc. Why start a full-fledged business when you can benefit from becoming a part of one that already exists?
It is not the same, but this makes me think of the Nonprofit LLC.
Starting a new enterprise can mean making a lot of tough decisions. If you struggle with decision-making, then this App might work for you. It reminded me of the Magic 8 Ball on steroids initially. I haven’t tried it, but it seemed interesting. It was released on January 1, 2014. It’s free. Check it out.
Ingenuity’s focus is the exploration and intersection of art, music, science and technology. Annually, they host a festival along with small events throughout the year that features the convergence of the fields. The Cleveland nonprofit has existed since 2009. Combing art and technology is always cool. Here’s how they originally planned on getting started:
Ingenuity was conceived as a movable feast, a multi-day, multi-venued event that would move from location to location, downtown, inviting NE Ohio residents and tourists to re-discover their city, to see it alive and vibrant, animating storefronts, abandoned alleys and interiors of buildings that had long been ignored.
The main focus of this 501c3 is innovation. Launched in January of 2013 and located in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, Thrill Mill has gained financial support from major corporations interested in startup enterprises like Google. Not bad for what started off as a young group of entrepreneurs hosting barbecue and beer parties to raise money for business ventures. The organization’s three main programs include a business competition called the Business Bout, a multi-industry incubator known as the Hustle Den, and an innovation showcase and music festival that combines thrive and revival to get the Thrival Innovation + Music Festival.
Here’s how it works. Enterprise ideas are submitted through the Business Bout, and winners are accepted into the Hustle Den incubator where they receive one year’s free rent and agree to give Thrill Mill 5% of their company. The music festival raises funding for the Business Bout ($25,000 last year) and donors like the RK Mellon Foundation, the URA and some anonymous contributors keep the organization running with donations that totaled $1.3 million in their first year.
This article has more on the young CEO, Bobby Zappala, and Thrill Mill.
The Queer/Art/Mentorship program (QAM), located in New York City, had its inaugural year in 2011. It was given life by a queer art film series shown monthly in Manhattan. Mentors from various visual art, performing art, film, and literary disciplines and are selected by invitation. Fellows are chosen for the year-long program based on submitted project proposals and, if selected, meet with mentors on a monthly basis at a minimum. To foster greater artistic growth and interaction, the entire group meets three times throughout the year to share ideas. The structure of the organization is unclear from the website, but I’m assuming that it is volunteer led.
QAM captured my attention because it has combined elements of my (presently fictional) music mentorship program for Financial Management and the queer arts festival that I am working on with a friend that will soon come to fruition.