5 Crowdfunding Campaigns That Made the World a Better Place

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Changing the world isn't for the faint of heart. It requires determination, passion, and grit. More tangibly, it often requires finances beyond our means.

Fortunately, access to funds is closer than ever; You just need is a great story and a network of people to support you.

Here's how five groups utilized crowdfunding to tell their stories and raise money to advance our world and the people within it:

1. Tent City Collective helped end homelessness


This past winter, Tent City Collective transformed one of the University of Washington's parking lots into a shelter for Seattle residents experiencing homelessness.

Compassion and problem-solving gave life to the tent city community, so with minimal resources, the group of UW students and passionate advocates took to crowdfunding to 1) pay the weekly garbage disposal fees, and 2) keep the toilets running.

Not only did the group meet their funding goal, but they raised an additional $1300, which helped them bring electricity to Tent City as a parting gift.

Last month, the camp moved on from the UW parking lot, and in the post-program evaluation, graduate student Kira McCoy shared:

"Our data show that the tent city created new opportunities for students and changed people's minds. [...] People at the UW grew through the experience, lost some of that original stigma and created relationships, which then had a ripple effect in the community."


It is because of leaders like the ones at Tent City Collective, partnered with those experiencing homelessness, that we will see a solution to homelessness indefinitely.

Link to the campaign.

2. Center for Gender Equity elevated women leaders


For almost three decades, the Center for Gender Equity at Pacific Lutheran University has supported countless students, faculty, and staff members with mentorship, advocacy, and education. With a focus on social justice and gender equity, this center has not only allowed their community to feel safe and heard, but it has provided the services to then expand their voices to their campus and beyond.

A group representing the center set out to raise $10,000 through crowdfunding for three initiatives to promote women in leadership:

    1. Elect Her: A half-day training course to help women successfully run for student government positions

 

    1. Sista Circle Leadership Retreat: An educational, self-care, and networking retreat to support women and gender nonconforming people of color

 

    1. Women's Leadership Intern: Hire a new intern to join Center for Gender Equity at PLU!



In the end, the group raised over $15,000, which allowed them to run these programs for an additional year! We were honored to host such a meaningful series of initiatives and were so proud of all that this team accomplished.

Link to the campaign.

3. MASS Impact advanced prostheses


In preparation for the world's first "Cyborg Olympics" (aka Cybathlon), a team of engineers at Simon Fraser University set out to raise funds to develop a new technology to make the control of prosthetic hands more intuitive than ever.

This team, also known as MASS Impact, knew that most prostheses available today are uncomfortable and difficult to maneuver. Pair that with their passion for people, problem-solving, and innovation, and they found themselves with an opportunity to change the world, which they have done thanks to their Muscle Activity Sensor Strip (M.A.S.S.) technology, algorithm that quickly deciphers the subtle muscle changes and controls the bionic prosthetic hand, and a little extra funding (over $23,000) to make it all happen.

Link to the campaign, or read more about their amazing story.

4. AWARE made roads safer


Everyone knows that driving under the influence is dangerous and illegal, but how many people are aware of the effects of drowsiness while driving? Most of us can nod off at our work computers without injuring ourselves or anybody else. Unfortunately, however, when your job is to drive, you are not afforded the same luxury.

The AWARE team at Rochester Institute of Technology crowdfunded with us to raise money to help develop a fatigue detection device for commercial trucks, which reduces drowsy driving by 85%. When you stop to consider just how many accidents happen in the commercial trucking industry in part to driving while tired (over 100,000 annually), it's clear that this group is poised to save countless lives with their innovative device.

Link to the campaign.

 

 

5. Engineers Without Borders expands access to water


Princeton University's Engineers Without Borders team is comprised of passionate students who are taking what they learn in their classroom to solve real-world engineering problems in Peru, Kenya, and the Dominican Republic. Each community gets a respective project team who has identified the unique challenges in making water accessible to their area and who has developed solutions to those challenges.

In an effort to expand access to clean water around the world, each of the three project teams joined forces under the umbrella of crowdfunding to raise funds for:

    1. A gravity-fed water system that will bring water to each of the 120 households in Pusunchas, Peru

 

    1. Supplies to drill a borehole to provide a dependable and accessible source of water for students in Kuria West Region of Kenya.

 

    1. Materials to improve El Cajuil, Dominican Republic's aging and inefficient water pipeline system.



Each team will embark on their respective missions this upcoming summer, and as of the time this article was published, their campaign is still actively accepting donations to bring comprehensive access to clean water across the world. (hint, hint!)

Link to the campaign.

What a joy, privilege, and honor it is to support the countless groups on our platform using crowdfunding as a force for good. They are creating a future that brings us great optimism and deep gratitude. Thanks for making our world a better place!

 

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