Arts Nonprofit Launches Crowdfunding Website For Local Projects


A Montgomery County arts nonprofit hopes a crowdfunding project will cultivate a new set of donors to local arts organizations. The Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County (AHCMC) officially launched its Kickstarter-like site on Wednesday at the Round House Theatre in Bethesda. Individuals can donate any amount of money to any of the 21 projects, which include funding goals for summer camp scholarships at Round House, bus transportation for MCPS students to a performance at Imagination Stage, the repair of a trolley at the National Capital Trolley Museum and a camera to help a local dance company capture its kids' performances. The goal is to encourage philanthropy of any size from people who may have never given to arts programs before. Round House producing artistic director Ryan Rilette is hoping to raise $7,000 for the theater's summer camp scholarship program"I think often people feel, 'If I can't make a really big donation, I shouldn't donate at all," said Ryan Rilette, producing artistic director at Round House. "It's weird, they think that about the arts but they don't necessarily think that about their church. This is saying, 'No, any little bit that you can give will actually make a very clear difference in people's lives.'" Round House is looking for $7,142 to help pay for part of 17 summer camp scholarships and after and before care services. Just $15 will provide for one day of before care, $100 will pay for a week of aftercare and $275 will provide for a week of camp. County Executive Isiah Leggett and his wife Catherine gave $200 in the first post-launch donation to the site. A number of local companies, including Monument Bank and Bethesda Magazine, are making matching or initial donations to the program. "I think it's crowdsourcing in a way," Bethesda Magazine publisher Steve Hull said. "It's getting more people involved regardless of whether it's the arts or efforts for people in need." Screenshot of the websiteImagination Stage is looking for $6,750 through the website to help fund field trips for 3,000 MCPS third graders at schools that serve low-income communities. Five dollars will fund the bus cost for one student. Imagination Stage ultimately wants to introduce all MCPS third graders to theater through field trips. It's hoping to raise a matching amount of $6,750 at its October gala to help fund the program for its spring 2014 production of "Cinderella: the Remix." "This is an opportunity for us to find people who really can't give that much," said Imagination Stage marketing associate Erin Gifford. "This is a very big thing on social media and we find there's a lot of younger people on social media who probably don't have as much accessible income to give us." AHCMC is the first organization to employ the site in the Washington area.

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