At the 2015 Bay Area Bold conference held at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Dr. Manuel Pastor, professor and PERE director at USC, recalled a conversation with his son wherein he asked, “Joaquín, why are you going to study music? After thinking, his son replied, “I want to make beauty with my friends.” With global revenue expected to reach $34 billion in 2015, crowdfunding is enabling the co-creation of beauty. As a tool for democratic philanthropy, it has the potential to localize investment, improve stewardship of the commons, and make public the blueprints for empathetic innovation.
Unfortunately, the words “crowd,” and “funding,” don’t lead seamlessly towards feelings of intimacy. Yet, crowdfunding signifies the act of breathing a dream into the public sphere, trusting that it will be backed by friends and also by strangers. This spirit and practice is becoming ubiquitous, with crowdfunding campaigns launched in sectors of business, science, education, and so on. Crowdfunding is a useful and powerful tool in that it provides a singular space to make an appealing pitch, which a broad base of potential investors can see. Rather than rely on a single patron, artists, scientists, and thinkers can reach out to the masses.
Crowdfunding signifies the act of breathing a dream into the public sphere, trusting that it will be backed by friends and also by strangers.
Let’s take a look at a couple of real-time examples that rely upon crowdfunding principles. Rather than relying on support from major private donors, Bernie Sanders has banked on small donations from a broad support base, generating 26 million in the third quarter of presidential primaries. Maybe your niece, Yessica will be next to crowdfund her campaign for class president and open that ice cream bar. In 2010, an engineer named Cesar Harada, utilized Kickstarter to crowdfund a robot that could be deployed to clean up oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico. Crowdfunding, guided by particular social criteria and peer feedback, will expand access to knowledge that is both practical and powerful.
LikeMinded aims to carve a niche in the crowdfunding world focused on placemaking. The praxis of placemaking seeks to unearth the assets of a community that will lead to people feeling intimately connected to their surroundings and each other. By seeking projects that center on place and establishing an online community to nourish them, we hope to enhance the social and capital investment happening in civil society on a local level.
Featured image taken from AAPIP- Building Democratic Philanthropy: <http://bit.ly/1KUrBHQ>
Subsequent images from Media Shift: <http://bit.ly/1Z857Nd>, Bawart: <http://www.nawartpress.com/en/thats-interesting/>, and Old Place/New Tricks: <http://oldplacenewtricks.com/>. October 1st, 2015.