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Crowdfunding for teaching supplies

posted Oct 5, 2014, 1:11 AM by J Shaw   [ updated Oct 5, 2014, 1:11 AM ]
Crowdfunding sites were originally a fun, independent way for young startups to build a base of informal investors, or for nonprofits to raise funds for Polar Plunges and 5Ks. But now crowdfunding sites are becoming an avenue to fundraise for serious needs when social services and even government funding is falling short.

Of course there have been the more bizarre viral campaigns -- like the potato salad guy from Ohio who raised 55,000 to make the dish -- but on the local level, some are using the fundraising tool for very personal needs.

A Kickstarter-like crowdfunding site called DonorsChoose has become a popular place for teachers in North Carolina to post projects that need funding, and lets parents and sympathetic community members pitch in.

But instead of posting projects like dream field trips or innovative technology, more and more teachers are asking for basic supplies like books and reading guides.

One Buncombe County elementary school teacher this week Tweeted daily donor progress reports, as her plea for nonfiction books raised $10, $50, then eventually almost $200.

Earlier this month a family posted a Go Fund My Page under the title "We need a home." "Due to fleeing a domestic abuse situation, I and my five children are in desperate need of assistance," the page reads.

The cause went somewhat viral on the West Asheville Neighborhood Association page, raising a little more than $2,200 so far. Another family posted a similar page last week, asking for help buying food after the mother was laid off.

Facebook where you live

I know this will be controversial, but I've found recently that there Facebook life beyond the West Asheville Facebook page.

I get asked often why West Asheville seems to be the only part of town with such an active Facebook community, so I put out a hit for other popular neighborhood groups and found some lesser-known but very active pages in lots of other hoods.

Here are a few I found:

On the north side, the Mountain View West Neighborhood Facebook page, which includes the streets on the west side of Beaver Lake in North Asheville, but welcomes anyone in the area.

The Bent Creek Community Neighborhood Group, with more than 500 members. This one is invite-only but very active.

One place I never thought to look is Yahoo. Not every neighborhood has one, but the Five Points neighborhood group, for instance, is huge, and there are more than a dozen around town.

Know of a popular neighborhood page? Send it my way. Done well and with minimal whining, they can be a great resource.

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