Ours is a large and remarkably diverse world, full of promise but plagued by a long list of ills. It takes hope, strength and a great deal of work to effect real change. So today, we’re celebrating five campaigns — and the women behind them — that are raising funds for efforts that could make a difference, including a program for young female filmmakers and a project fostering entrepreneurship in Tanzania.

Check out these 5 women-led crowdfunding campaigns:

1. A Platform for Important, Often Overlooked Voices (via You Caring)

Credit: Official Facebook page of the Women's Freedom Conference
Credit: Official Facebook page of the Women’s Freedom Conference

The Business: This fall, women of color will take to an international stage at the Women’s Freedom Conference, which will be hosted in New York City but available digitally for worldwide participation. It’s a celebration and elevation of “underrepresented women who have been disenfranchised beyond gender alone.” Borne of a conversation between a group of friends last year, the conference now boasts a badass seven-person leadership team that includes Evelyn Alvarez, Leslie MacFaden, Carolyn Martinez and Feminista Jones, as well as an advisory board with luminaries like Kathryn Finney, Jamilah Lemieux​ and ​​Lourdes Hunter on the roster.
The Money: People interested in supporting the conference have 68 days to help the team reach its $12,500 goal. All funds contributed will be used to acquire the technology necessary to improve digital access, compensate participating speakers and educators, craft promotional materials and rent a space for the event’s keynote address, among other things.

2. Illustrating the Life and Times of an Imperfect Woman (via Kickstarter)

Credit: Kickstarter.com

The Business: Jane Bowles was many things: a novelist and playwright, a sexually fluid woman and an alcoholic. She may not be as famous as her writer contemporaries, but they held her in high regard. Tennessee Williams praised her as “the most important writer of prose fiction” and Truman Capote as “a genius imp.” Hers is not a story often told, which is why comic book and pop culture expert Katy Rex is setting out to chronicle her life by way of a graphic novel, released in chapter-long increments. She will bring Bowles’ story to life with help from a team of experienced artists, historians and writers.
The Money: Rex is crowdfunding money to finish production of the first offering in the series. The funds will largely go toward paying her collaborators fair rates for their work. Her campaign must reach or exceed its goal of $12,000 by or before Sept. 14.

3. Empowering a New Generation of Female Storytellers (via Kickstarter)

Credit: Kickstarter.com

The Business: The Downtown Community Television Center, a media and arts accessibility initiative in New York City, was co-founded by documentarian Keiko Tsuno and journalist Jon Alpert. The organization is presently working on a new project that encourages young women to get involved in filmmaking (the dearth of female filmmakers is an issue we’ve discussed passionately in the past). An offshoot of PRO-TV, the organization’s youth-focused offering, this new effort will support up-and-coming female filmmakers as they craft and share their stories.
The Money: Before Sept. 10, Tsuno and Alpert’s crowdfunding campaign must raise at least $10,000. The money will be used to get the new program up and running as early as next month.

4. Rural Women Buzzing with Entrepreneurial Energy (via Indiegogo)

Credit: Credit: Official Facebook page of WomenCraft

The Business: WomenCraft is a social enterprise operated by a team of women including director Ernestina Mpinzire that designs and exports hand-woven crafts made by rural women in several sub-Saharan African nations. The organization is now hard at work developing a project — GROW, or Gaining Resilience and Opportunities for Women (and youth) — that will benefit the people of Ngara, an especially remote and poverty-stricken region of Tanzania. “We have developed a collection of sustainable micro-entrepreneurship activities, including rice farms, sunflower farms and beekeeping,” the campaign says.
The Money: Within the next 44 days, the WomenCraft team is looking to raise $5,000, though it will receive whatever money it generates, no matter the amount, thanks to Indiegogo’s Flexible Funding option. Much of the money will be used to purchase protective gear and equipment, coordinate training programs and store the honey and beeswax harvested properly. Some funds will also be used to package and label jars.

5. Helping Two Indigenous Women Change the World (via GoFundMe)

Devon Fiddler (left) of SheNative Goods Inc. and Heather Abbey (right) of Shopindig.ca (Credit for Both: Sweetmoon Photography)
Devon Fiddler (left) of SheNative Goods Inc. and Heather Abbey (right) of Shopindig.ca (Credit for Both: Sweetmoon Photography)

The Business: Devon Fiddler and Heather Abbey are the owners of SheNative Goods Inc. and ShopIndig.ca, respectively, businesses designed to elevate the creativity, positivity and strong work ethic of Canada’s indigenous women. We recently wrote about their entrepreneurial efforts and community outreach initiatives — efforts that earned them both spots at the G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance. The event is being held next month in Istanbul, Turkey, and in order to attend, both women need some help.
The Money: The duo us trying to raise $5,500 to cover their plane tickets and shared accommodations. With more than half of August come and gone, Fiddler and Abbey are running out of time to get the money they need for their trip.

Want to be featured in The Story Exchange’s Crowdfunding column? Drop us a line and tell us about your campaign at [email protected]