5 Crowdfunders to Watch – Inclusion, Empowerment and Education

The enterprising women highlighted in our latest crowdfunding column are hard at work on products and ventures designed to inspire thought, creativity and acceptance.

Maria Kleftodimou Smith By Maria Kleftodimou Smith

The female crowdfunders featured below are raising money for projects that promote understanding, increase knowledge and foster inclusivity, in their respective communities and beyond.

Check out these 5 women-led crowdfunding campaigns:

1.  Weaving Empowerment Into Women’s Lives (via Indiegogo)

The Business: Smita Jacob dreamed of creating an ethical fashion label that could empower indigenous Mayan women. In January of 2017, she turned that dream into reality and launched GuaTela. Working alongside her partner, Mihai Patru, Jacobs hopes to create an online platform that will link conscientious buyers directly to indigenous craftswomen in Guatemala and make vibrant products, like scarves and clutches, available for a fair price. GuaTela will not only connect consumers with artisans, acting as an “ethical middleman,” but will also offer the artisans the opportunity to become shareholders of the company “and thus gain a greater share of the value of what they produce.”
The Money: The campaign has raised $10,210 with 9 days left to reach a $15,000 goal. The money will be used to jumpstart GuaTela’s pilot program, including identifying optimal villages, training women artisans and launching its first line of products.

2. A Collective, Inclusive Cup of Coffee (via Indiegogo)

The Business: As a transgender activist and lover of both comics and coffee, Lara Americo is opening Comic Girl Coffee and Books to carve out an all-inclusive space where marginalized members of the community can gather and enjoy a cup of coffee and a comic. Americo says that Charlotte, N.C., does not have enough inclusive spaces and hopes to fill this void by making Comic Girl Coffee a cheerful place to be. Americo is hoping to find a permanent location for this coffee shop in Area 15, a part of Charlotte known for its developing small business community.
The Money: Americo still has 23 days to raise the $5,000 she seeks. The funds will be used to pay for costs like licensing and business fees, improvements of the space, initial inventory and more.

3. Teaching Coding to the Next Generation (via Kickstarter)

The Business: Jen Chiou is the founder of CodeSpeak Labs, a space where children in grades preK to 12 can learn about computer science. Now, she is launching a book series to teach children how to code without looking at a screen. Chiou believes that, in today’s world, learning how to read and write code is as important as reading regular books — so she combined the two. And whenever Chiou is teaching her son, Maxwell, something important — like potty training — she looks for a picture-book to help him learn. Using this as inspiration, Chiou created “How to Turn Your Grown-Up into a Robot and Other Coding Stories” — a series of three stories designed to teach kids coding basics in a fun way, without them even realizing it.
The Money: Chiou has already exceeded her $3,000 goal, and 15 days remain in her campaign. The first $3,000 will be used to publish and distribute the first book in her series, while the extra money raised will go towards creating more books for the series.

4. A Space Just for Women (via iFundWomen)

The Business: After the women’s lifestyle magazine More closed, editor-in-chief Lesley Jane Seymour discovered that women older than millennials were yearning for a publication designed for them. To meet that demand, Seymour created Covey Club, an online and offline platform where women will be able to discuss everything from beauty to current events. Covey Club will release a weekly newsletter written by journalists Seymour worked with during her editor-in-chief days and will host in-person events for members who want to connect, discuss and learn from each other.
The Money: Seymour, too, has exceeded her goal amount of $25,000, and 37 days remain on her campaign. The funds raised will be used to fund Covey Club’s events and original content.

5. An “All-Trans Comic Anthology” (via Kickstarter)

The Business: Tara Avery and Jeanne Thornton are the editors of “We’re Still Here,” a comic anthology featuring the stories and illustrations of 55 members of the trans community from across the States and around the globe. The title “We’re Still Here” reflects the notion that even though straight white men tend to dominate the comic community, trans authors and illustrators are there — and always have been. The anthology will represent many different genres of comics, from comedy to horror, and tell the different stories of what it is to be trans — because, as their campaign video notes, there is no one experience or way.
The Money: The duo has raised $44,462, far exceeding their $17,000 goal, with 23 days still to go. The proceeds will cover publication costs and payments for contributors. The more money raised, the larger the contributor payments will be. If the book is successful, the duo intend to donate a portion of the proceeds from each copy to the Trans Assistance Project and the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, organizations that work to guarantee safe and free gender expression.

Want to be featured in The Story Exchange’s Crowdfunding column? Drop us a line and tell us about your campaign at info@thestoryexchange.org.

Posted: July 26, 2017

Maria Kleftodimou Smith5 Crowdfunders to Watch – Inclusion, Empowerment and Education