Why We're Using Crowdfunding to Restore Blighted Communities

November 13, 2015

Community development has always been a game of critical mass. Get enough people who care enough about revitalizing their community, and you can move mountains. So, it’s only natural that crowdfunding efforts would become a tool for community movements around the country. In my hometown of Kansas City, I’ve been involved in a powerful movement that’s leveraging crowdfunding to restore communities that many had left for dead.

My life’s work is to help companies that are seeking to become social entrepreneurs. So, I’ve done my job when I’ve helped a company find a way to make a dollar while also making a difference to their community.  During these past months, I’ve been fortunate to work with COPR Security, the world’s first cause driven security company. Rather than devoting itself to providing alarm systems to the suburbs, COPR is dedicated to revitalizing communities by securing the vacant homes that drive blight.

COPR has a unique solution: they’ve created a mobile and DIY security system that can be quickly set up in a vacant home. Once in place, COPR’s VP Security Smart Tower protects a home against copper theft, vagrancy, water/smoke damage, etc. COPR’s business mission is centered on selling this unit to residential real estate investors. COPR’s social mission is to donate that same system to communities where vacant homes are driving blight.

And that’s where the crowd enters the picture… It all started with this guy:
Community revitalization

This is Bill Drummond, a revolutionary dude who is part of a group of thoughtful residents working hard to restore Kansas City’s Mannheim Park, a neighborhood like far too many in America’s urban core...full of vacant properties that have become magnets for blight, copper theft, and drugs. But Mannheim Park isn’t going down without a fight. Thanks to residents like Bill, the neighborhood is undergoing a dramatic process of renewal.  Together with other concerned neighbors, Bill has brought new energy into Mannheim Park. Now, community non-profits are revitalizing vacant homes, socially conscious investors are rehabbing properties, and long time residents are hopeful once again.

Mannheim Park is exactly the kind of neighborhood that COPR wants to partner with, so we’ve worked with them to provide donations of security systems to homes under renovation.  Part of the reason for the neighborhood’s revitalization is that the residents banded together and started watching vacant properties.  They set up a communication network to alert each other in the event of criminal activity around the homes. Now, with the COPR system, their efforts are strengthened because they can be made aware of a break in without having to be in the area.

We believe the Mannheim Park/COPR partnership is a model for neighborhood revitalization around the country, so we’re launching a crowdfunding campaign on November 11th to raise awareness about the issue of blight and how vacant properties are driving it. Central to that campaign is the story of Mannheim Park. The campaign is also about founding a company that is a socially conscious business from day one.  Most companies would wait until they were ‘established’ to weave in a social mission, but COPR is leveraging the power of the crowd to offer people the chance to join it in the fight against blight. In addition to helping communities like Mannheim Park, contributors to the campaign will also be receiving perks that will bring them the latest in security either for vacant property or an occupied home.

The story of Mannheim Park is a story that needs to be told. We believe that our crowdfunding campaign is an important step to building critical mass around the issue of blight.  Please take a look and support COPR Security's VP SmartTower: DIY Security & Home Automation campaign which is promoting social change and helping to rebuild urban communities.

This guest post was contributed by COPR Security.


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