Mar 192012
 
Authors: Andrew Carrera

For the Fort Collins fledgling nonprofit Community Funded, the dream is still alive.

“It’s just incredibly exciting,” said Ryan Stover, a founding member of the organization he’s called “evolutionary.” “We’ve had so much support in terms of people’s interests.”

Two months ago, he and a few other local residents launched the nonprofit –– an online platform for struggling students, businesses, school programs and others to advertise their situations to the Fort Collins community and ask for support.

Their motto was “anything is possible.” But whether it was possible for them to succeed was uncertain.

Today, with 594 individuals, 168 organizations and 40 projects registered on CommunityFunded.com, they have their answer.

“Really what we were hoping for was just some projects, and we got that for sure,” said McCabe Callahan, a fellow co-founder of the organization and owner of Fort Collins’ Mugs coffee shops. “I’m elated about the quality and quantity of projects we have so far.”

One of them was created by CSU’s cycling team.

Phillip Somers, a sophomore team member, said it’s the best way to fundraise for the group’s effort to encourage people to take up the sport by subsidizing race entry fees.

“Just how more and more people are using the Web — I mean, that’s essentially how we’re connected with everybody,” he said, explaining that the website branches out to social media sites like Facebook to reach a wide audience of potential donors. “ … For every thousand, maybe there’s 10 that are willing to donate.”

“ … Out of any opportunity, this is the opportunity I have most faith in.”

The mechanical engineering major added that he was slightly surprised at how easy it was to participate.

“For them to consider our goal without being too knowledgeable in cycling, I think that’s the biggest thing,” he said, recalling all of his failed attempts to garner support for a sport not many people are familiar with. “When I originally went there, I was like, ‘Oh, it’s as simple as that? Okay.’”

But that’s not to say that absolutely anyone who claims to have a legitimate cause can go on CommunityFunded.com, make a profile and rake in donations. One has to apply for a space on the website before it can reap its benefits.

“It’s a pretty rigorous screening process … ” said Rob Rager, a Community Funded agent whose job is to evaluate proposals the organization receives and assist the creators behind them.

The nonprofit wants to make sure that the projects they’re advertising to locals and the world actually benefit the community, he said.

It’s these kinds of practices that uphold the validity of Community Funded, Callahan said, which is necessary if it intends to convince highly-lauded organizations to publicly support their website.

And it does. The co-founder said that the nonprofit is finalizing agreements with United Way, Otter Box and the local philanthropy group, the Bohemian Foundation, which would all boost the profile of Community Funded.

“That’ll just perpetuate more ideas and more projects,” Callahan added.

Senior Reporter Andrew Carrera can be reached at news@collegian.com.

What kind of projects can you support on CommunityFunded.com?

Brandon’s Dream: An iPad
“Brandon, a deaf little boy, dreams of being able to keep up in school with the help of an iPad!”

A Free Flowing Patagonia
“The rivers in Patagonia, Chile, are the lifeblood of the land, but they are in danger of being dammed. Help them remain free!”

Repurposed Plastic Cap Community Art Project
“Our idea: Collect thousands of plastic milk caps from Fort Collins, hire a local artist to assemble a large mosaic downtown.”

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