Last year the crowd-funding site Kickstarter funneled more than $319 million into 18,000 big ideas, from the Minecraft-style video game Double Fine Adventure to a kindergarten class sending ping-pong balls into space (it was a science experiment). Last month, Scrubs star Zach Braff raised $3 million through Kickstarter for his next feature film. Interesting enough one area where sites like Kickstarter are seeing a serious spike is with family-centric projects.
“Parents represent one of our largest demographics, as almost every aspect of children’s lives requires money,” says Brad Damphousse, CEO and cofounder of the online fundraising site GoFundMe. Parents of children with health issues have raised money for medical bills. Adoption and in vitro fertilization are also popular categories. (For example, one Morton Grove, IL, couple is seeking $10,000 to fund IVF after the first attempt failed.) Some campaigns aren’t quite as serious: One dad is trying to raise $2,500 for a family vacay.
Parenthood For Me is a charity organization that helps fund the dream of parenthood to those who can’t afford it. "Having a family is fundamental to the human experience," says president and co-founder Erica Schlaefer. “When someone faces the devastating diagnosis of infertility they shouldn’t have to also worry about how to pay for medical treatments that are not covered by insurance in most states, nor should they be turned away as adoptive parents because they cannot afford the fees.” Once a year in July they offer grants to those wishing to start a family through adoption or assistive reproductive technology. Last year, they gave away $24,000 total: three $5,000 grants for adoption and three $2,500 grants for medical procedures not covered by insurance.
There are plenty of mom-and-pop projects trying to score a financial liftoff through crowdfunding. Stefanie Goodson, a first-grade teacher from San Antonio, turned to Kickstarter to help launch Spider’s Lunch, an interactive literacy app. Goodson did not meet her goal of $5,000. She surpassed it, raising $6,047.