George Costanza, Liz Lemon, Scrooge McDuck and Citizinvestor
Citizinvestor Co-founder Jordan Raynor recently presented at Ignite Tampa Bay where he presented Citizinvestor in a very entertaining way. George Costanza, Liz Lemon and Scrooge McDuck all make appearances.
Last fall, Citizinvestors across the country rallied together to fund a class to train 10 blind students in Boston on how to use an iPad and other technology. Your donations made this class possible and allowed these 10 students to take their iPads home with them forever!
Here are some reflections on the class from Tech Goes Home:
All of the students/parents were thrilled and send their heartfelt thanks to the Citizinvestors who helped them connect with family and friends and with the information and opportunity that being connected provides. They now have email accounts, can obtain a Facebook account, and can share in the tech related social opportunities along with their sighted peers. They can read books, order books from the library, enlarge print when needed, go to websites, and download and use relevant apps. A whole new world has been opened for them!
Sitting in the class, it was amazing to listen to ten students’ iPads speaking out loud at the same time. While it might be a little distracting to me, none of them seemed at all distracted! They were quite intent on their own device.
One student presented her final project during the class we visited. She shared how she uses her technology to read books. Some of the students talked of how they can “speed read” since the device allows them to turn up the speed of the reader!
We had a set of sisters in the class, both blind. They each got an iPad and are being assisted by both a parent and a teacher from their school. The teacher is volunteering as each child needed an adult to assist.
Look what you did! Thank you for investing in the Boston community and the lives of these children.
We could not be more excited to welcome Story Bellows to the Citizinvestor Board of Advisors!
When we began working on Citizinvestor a little over a year ago, we put out an open invitation for any U.S. city to join us in our quest to empower citizens to invest in their community. Story and her Co-Chair Jeff Friedman in the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics in Philadelphia were among the first to answer the call. Since launching in Philly last year, Story’s advice has been invaluable. We are honored that she has agreed to formalize this advisory role!
Here’s a bit more of what you need to know about Story:
Story Bellows joined the City of Philadelphia in April of 2012 as Co-Chair of the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics. The new office is a civic idea and innovation incubator, which develops innovative approaches and processes to solving complex problems in the public arena. Prior to coming to Philadelphia, Story served as Director of the Mayors’ Institute on City Design, a leadership initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the American Architectural Foundation and the US Conference of Mayors. An urban designer by training, Story spent four years in a private design practice Chicago, where she founded a research group and worked with leaders in the public, private and non-profit sectors on urban, education, healthcare and environmental design projects and initiatives. She holds an undergraduate degree from Colgate University and a Masters degree in City Design and Social Science from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Story joins Marci Harris of POPVOX, Steve Ressler of GovLoop, Patrick Ruffini of Engage and Russell Wallace formerly of CivicSponsor on the Board.
High school students crowdfund new bike racks for school in 3 days
A few weeks ago, we received an email from Isaac Meyer, the president of the Green Club at Sheldon High School in Eugene, Oregon. Isaac was contacting us to ask if his school district could post a project to Citizinvestor to crowdfund new bike racks that he and his fellow students badly needed for all the reasons outlined in this video they created:
We had to do a double-take when we read the email. We can’t think of many high school students who are as engaged and civicly minded as Isaac is. Needless to say, we were thrilled that Isaac came to Citizinvestor to get the tools he needed to create change on his campus.
One week ago today, the school district posted the project to Citizinvestor. Immediately, donations started pouring in. In just over 3 days, the project was successfully funded, making it the fastest project ever funded on Citizinvestor by a long shot! 23 Citizinvestors donated a total of $1,080 to help Isaac and his fellow students fund 17 new bike racks for their campus.
A few months ago, you the Citizinvestor community crowdfunded the prizes for the first-ever hackathon sponsored by Hillsborough County - the third largest county in the State of Florida. A few weeks ago, Hillsborough County Commissioner Mark Sharpe, spoke about the significance of this project. Check it out!
This afternoon, Philadelphians reached their goal of raising $2,163 to crowdfund a new community garden at the Rivera Recreation Center!
As Philadelphia’s NPR affiliate points out, “Kids in North Philadelphia will learn about gardening, composting and the eye-popping deliciousness of freshly harvested food this summer at the Rivera Recreation Center at Fifth Street and Allegheny Avenue.”
With the funds in hand, Philadelphia’s Department of Parks and Recreation will now be able to build this garden in one of Philly’s poorest neighborhoods. You can read the details of this amazing project here.
Rita has volunteered to work as a gardener and mentor for children at a new intergenerational community garden in one of Philadelphia’s most depressed neighborhoods. “I intend to plant daisies,” Rita says. “It’s good to see flowers instead of weeds. It makes the community bright.” There’s only one problem: the garden hasn’t been built yet.
The City of Philadelphia is raising the $2,100 necessary to bring this community garden to life on Citizinvestor. With just a couple of weeks until the funding deadline, Philadelphians have donated 55% of the goal, but they need your help to close the gap.
With most fundraising platforms, you as the project creator post the project and then you are on your own to get it funded. That is not our approach at Citizinvestor. We work hand-in-hand with our municipal partners to help get their projects funded.
This past Friday, our Co-founders Tony DeSisto and Jordan Raynor traveled to New Port Richey, Florida to show what this looks like. Last month the City of New Port Richey posted a great project to Citizinvestor - a $37,800 initiative to help restore a historic hotel in the city’s downtown. Tony and Jordan met with the city and their partners at the Pasco Economic Development Council to help them brainstorm how to get this project funded. The City is well on their way to funding this great initiative!
Following the meeting, our team walked down to the site of the Hacienda Hotel to see first-hand the condition the hotel is in and the dramatic impact citizens will have in this community once they crowdfund this project on Citizinvestor. We love working closely with our municipal partners and citizens who are eager to invest in their communities!
Funding civic innovation in Hillsborough County, Florida
Today, the Citizinvestor community successfully funded the first-ever County-sponsored hackathon in Hillsborough County, Florida! We couldn’t be more excited to see our growing community of micro-philanthropists investing in civic innovation.
With their successfully funded Citizinvestor project, for the first time ever Hillsborough County will be opening up data from numerous departments to Tampa Bay’s technology community. The money raised for this project will go towards funding the prizes for the competition. For more details on the event visit hackhillsborough.com.
To all of you Citizinvestors who contributed to this project or others on the site, thank you! You are making amazing things happen in your cities that wouldn’t happen without your generosity.
On March 9, The White House announced that it would be suspending public tours of the building until further notice “due to staffing reductions resulting from sequestration.” Since the suspension of tours, citizens from across the country have spoken loudly about their desire to see the tours resumed. In the midst of fiscal crisis and angry citizens not getting what they want, Citizinvestor is offering a solution.
Yesterday, we posted a petition on The White House’s We the People platform urging the Administration to create a project on Citizinvestor.com to raise the necessary funds to resume public tours. Once the Administration posts the project, citizens will be asked to pledge to donate tax-deductibly. Citizens’ credit cards will only be charged if the project reaches 100% of its funding goal, ensuring no risk to citizens or the Administration. It truly is a win/win. We are even willing to completely waive our fees if The White House posts this project.
If you would like to see the Administration post a project to Citizinvestor to allow citizens to crowdfund these tours, sign the petition and please share it with your friends: http://wh.gov/sN1c
The following is a guest post from Leslie Knope, Deputy Director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Pawnee, Indiana (as seen on NBC).
Times are tough in the City of Pawnee, Indiana.
As the Deputy Director of Parks and Recreation, I see projects every day that the community wants, but the City simply doesn’t have the money for in our budget. Take the Sullivan Street Pit for example. We have been trying to turn that wretched eye-sore into a beautiful community park for years, but we haven’t had a way to fund it. Until now!
I recently discovered Citizinvestor - a crowdfunding platform for local government projects like the Sullivan Street park. My team at the Department of Parks and Recreation and I recorded a short video explaining the problem Citizinvestor is solving in Pawnee and cities across the U.S. Check it out:
Citizinvestor featured in community action toolkit in conjunction with release of Promised Land movie starring Matt Damon
Looking for something fun to do this weekend? Head to the theater to see Promised Land starring Matt Damon and be sure to download the community action toolkit featuring Citizinvestor after the movie!
In conjunction with today’s release of Promised Land, Citizinvestor has partnered with Participant Media to provide citizens with a community action toolkit full of information about and links to all of the digital platforms that exist to heighten community engagement and involvement. Check it out here:
In a press release announcing the partnership, Chad Boettcher, Participant’s Executive Vice President of Social Action & Advocacy, said, “In Promised Land, the arrival of Matt Damon’s salesman character in a small town dramatizes a situation taking place all over America today in which communities, facing difficult decisions, are forced to come together to collectively determine their futures. Yet, through research we know that there’s a large number of Americans who would like to participate in organized community work, but don’t know how or where to start. In an independent study commissioned by TakePart, 84% of cause-interested adults said they wished they could do more, and 69% said that they wish it were easier to get involved. Our Social Action campaign is designed to give people the virtual experience of what it’s like to be a community changemaker, along with the resources they need to get started in their home towns.”
We are thrilled to be included in this initiative along with some of our favorite civic startups like SeeClickFix, MindMixer and POPVOX.
A few months ago, Citizinvestor Co-founder Jordan Raynor had the privilege of outlining our long-term vision for crowdfunding local government projects at a TEDx event in Tampa, Florida. We are thrilled to be able to share his presentation in its entirety:
In just 55 days, 47 Citizinvestors stepped up to the plate to donate $6,480 to put iPads and other technology in the hands of 10 blind students in Boston. If you’ve seen this video from one of the students who has gone through the program in the past, you know why these Citizinvestors invested in this worthy cause:
This is a huge milestone for Citizinvestor and the movement for crowdfunding local government and civic projects. Having only launched our pilot program in Philadelphia and Boston less than three months ago, citizens have already proven that they will fund the civic projects they care about most.
We can’t wait to see what projects citizens will fund next in Philadelphia, Boston and other cities across the United States!