NEW YORK, New York – Kickstarter, launched in 2009, is a website that functions as a platform for parties to raise funds for creative projects by providing tier-based incentives to donors based on the size of their financial contributions.
The site is most often used to support private art projects, but has recently been utilized as a tool in the fight against poverty by artists who offer a product to their donors in exchange for monetary donations. Here are three Kickstarter projects devoted to charitable causes.
(1) Sage Braid Project: This project was initiated by A Global Friendship, an organization that connects with women artisans in impoverished communities and provides them with opportunities to sell their products abroad. The organization’s most recent undertaking is The Sage Braid project.
The project, which focuses on women in the Pine Ridge Native American Reservation in South Dakota, aims to establish three small jewelry businesses in the reservation. In exchange for a small financial contribution, donors receive a custom sage braid bracelet crafted by the women of the Lakota Sioux Tribe. The bracelets are handmade with materials found on the reservation. Proceeds from the project go towards establishing small businesses in the reservation to help dampen the poverty that has overtaken many Native American reservations.
(2) American Realities – Portraits of Poverty: This multimedia project, headed by photographer Joakim Eskildsen and reporter Natasha Del Toro, aims to raise awareness of poverty in America, where 46 million citizens live below the poverty line. Eskildsen and Del Toro plan to use money raised through Kickstarter to develop a website called American Realities.
The site will host photos, videos, audio recordings and stories chronicling Eskildsen’s and Del Toro’s travels through impoverished areas of the United States. It will also host a social media platform for other people to post about their experiences with poverty throughout the country. Financial contributors to the American Realities receive access to special content as well as special recognition on the project’s website.
(3) The City of Pain & Poverty: This is an independent film project originating out of Richmond, California. With a crime index of nearly twice the national average, Richmond was named the 3rd most dangerous city in the United States in 2010.
Many innocent women, children and elderly have been victims of senseless crimes in Richmond. The City of Pain & Poverty project aims to raise awareness of the violence that has overtaken the city by producing a film highlighting the stories of Richmond residents in order to impact positive social change. People who donate to the project have the opportunity to receive a copy of the final film, and have their name in the credits.
These charitable uses of Kickstarter testify to social media’s usefulness in the fight against poverty. Social media provides an avenue for raising awareness about issues that people would not otherwise hear about. It also provides people an easy way to make financial contributions towards ending poverty.
– Matt Berg
Sources: A Global Friendship, Kickstarter: The Sage Braid A Global Friendship Bracele, Kickstarter: American Realities Portraits of Poverty, Kickstarter: The City of Pain, USA