4 Clever Gifts of Crowdfunded Compassion

November 25, 2015

The Do good-feel good strategy of gift giving is where many of us are focused. As we ponder that age-old question of "What do you give the person who has everything," we'll realize that the answer lies not in "what" we can gift them, but "whom" we can gift them.  Give the gift of crowdfunding lives. Groups will volunteer to serve at local Organic Soup Kitchens after having delivered donated jackets to the sober homeless community members. then, we'll lounge in a warm living room discussing plans for the holidays to come. We'll talk about decorations and be glad we have roofs over our heads. As usual, everyone will turn to me and glare, claiming that I am more likely to dress my dog than my house for the holidays. My mother will enter me as Kareneezer Scrooge on various prayer chains again. We'll laugh. A great many of us across the nation are intent on giving something greater than what money can buy. Let's gift people the experience of changing others' lives. I’ll be contributing, albeit on a writer’s budget, to various crowdfunding campaigns in honor of those who have little use of disposable gifts.

Related: Holiday Shopping from Black Friday to Cyber Monday

Iconic Gigi’s Gutted By Fire

Rebuilding With A Community Inspired

The legendary Gigi’s Restaurant has been a fixture in Buffalo New York since 1960. Two days ago, a fire completely gutted the beloved soul-food and love serving restaurant. One faithful patron has powered many to help rebuild. I am in awe of the rapid and valuable support of this community. In one day, the gofundme campaign has raised almost half of the $12,000 goal. The shock of loss has turned to gratitude from Gigi’s Restaurant owner, Blondine Harvin. She is most concerned for her 12 employees who depend on their income a gofundme page has been set up to help them financially survive through these tough holiday times. There are also elderly patrons who cannot prepare their own meals depending on the iconic Gigi’s restaurant for their accessible location and reasonably priced meals. So, for my new York Friends, I’ll gift them a piece of Gigi’s by donating to the gofundme campaign in their name and honor. When the doors re-open, I hope they’ll sit down to a meal that they may not have normally chosen, inside a building that my love for them has helped rebuild. They’ll be served by people whose lives were made a little easier by crowdfunding.

Toys For Tots

Texan Friends Will Help Restore Children’s faith in Holiday Magic

J.K. Rowling, the author of Harry Potter series has expressed the importance of believing in magic. Look where it led her. 24 year old Vanessa Amaya has set out to encourage children’s belief in holiday magic that we all hope will remain with them throughout the year. Why would she do this? She was raised in a family who was able to provide basic needs and holiday gifts. She has lived in Houston, TX her entire life and sees poverty on a regular basis. She has started a gofundme campaign to help her local Toys For Tots Chapter so that she can feel part of something priceless. She will be part of what children, who have very little, may see has magic. Toys For Tots has enabled U.S. Marines to deliver toys to the needy since 1947. Vanessa’s support of their efforts has proven to inspire others. 45% of her $500 gofundme goal has already been raised within two days. ~Proof that faith in another growing community is on the rise.

Ohio’s Motor Sports Fans!

Support of one injured man reveals true growing Communities

I am an aviation fan. Fast moving wheels without the benefit of rotors or wings scare me. But, the road traversed by one member of the Ohio motorsports community has shown me a community where I never realized there was one. Mutual love for a demanding sport has led to the support of a fallen community member through, you guessed it, a crowdfunding campaign. Self-employed RB Stiewing was seriously injured on November 12th while testing at Road Atlanta. Stiewing’s friend, possibly his new best friend, started a gofundme campaign to help with expenses. Stiewing’s rigorous recovery efforts and physical therapy will likely return him to physical health. Four-five months loss of wages could mean financial suicide to a self-employed person. It could, but thanks to Todd Snyder, it won’t. $48,245 has been raised by 213 people in a little over a day. 96.49% of the campaign goal. Not only will Stiewing likely be able to avoid financial ruin during his recovery, but he has been the recipient of something much greater. Realization of people with common passion validating his role in the growing community of motorsports. My hat is off to you, Todd Snyder, for recognizing the power of your crowd!

Related: Crowdfunding Technology - Nostalgic to New

Growing Communities Support Ort

A fixture of the Athens, Georgia recently caused quite a stir. William Orton Carlton, a beloved eccentric let his love for beer, old vinyl records, and roadtrips get the best of him. Once the collections and dilapidated sheds became a veritable scene from the reality show, Hoarders, growing communities, renovation, rehabneighbors complained and litigation began.We could review the long process that led to the elderly man being jailed. We could even review the rights and feelings of the neighbors who complained. Instead, lets focus on a crowdfunding campaign that did more than raise money. The fines and clean up costs required for Ort to remain in his home were raised. In fact, the Support Ort crowdfunding campaign may raise an amount double the original goal by the time holiday giving completes. Ort had been slowly cleaning up his surroundings when health issues began limiting him. As with most people of Ort's generation, he didn't want or know how to ask for help. That is when his community stepped in. Bill Overend created the gofundme campaign on September 22, 2015. While the campaign was raising money, it was also raising awareness. Neighbors with heavy equipment came in to clear away vegetation and broken down sheds. Others, on hands and knees, picked up remnants of vinyl records and historic beer cans. People who had no common ground before became part of a  growing community. Amazing things can grow from the muck of overwhelm. Now, Ort will be able to stay healthfully in his home, he has met many new friends, and a neighborhood's curb appeal has returned. In true Patch of Land style, a man's life has been enriched, real estate values have been increased, and growing communities offer value beyond what can be wrapped and tucked under a tree.

Give the gift of what most people may not realize that money can buy: happiness, lives enriched, lives saved, and buildings restored while redefining the magic of holiday giving. Peruse some crowdfunding platforms for unique gift giving. What would you invest in to honor a person deserving of your gifts?

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