Calgary 2012 launches crowdfunding website

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By Stephen Hunt, Calgary Herald  (November 20, 2012)

Micro-investing in Calgary culture just got a little easier.

That came about Tuesday, when Calgary 2012 announced the launch of InvestYYC, its first major legacy of Calgary’s year as a cultural capital.

InvestYYC is the localized version of a crowd-funding website along the lines of Kickstarter and Indiegogo, allowing individual donors to support local artists, arts groups and culture and heritage organizations in raising funds for various projects.

“It’s not just about finding great projects and assembling a portfolio,” says Calgary2012 Executive Director Karen Ball, “it’s about giving where you live, feeling like you’re part of a community of investors that are supporting projects — being able to go to those projects to see those artists to form networks with them. That’s InvestYYC. It’s specific to our community.”

To kick it all off in high style, Calgary2012 are matching the first $100,000 in donations with $100,000 of their own, adds Ball.

“You can give money or you can give time,” she says.

“For instance, if you’re someone like myself, I made four gifts of less than $50 on InvestYYC on projects that I think are great. And because I hit $100 on my cumulative giving, I got $100 credit that I can now give to more projects, or I can double down on the projects I’m currently invested in — whatever I want.

“Throughout the cultural capital year,” she adds, “anyone who hits the cumulative $100 of giving gets credit for $100 in their InvestYYC account, up to $2500 and we will put $100,000 overall into the community in this way.”

The InvestYYC website was actually activated about a month ago, and 20 different groups and artists are now fundraising on the site, with more to come.

They’ve already raised a cumulative total of around $40,000.

Those groups were vetted by a jury of peers, as part of 1,000 different applications Calgary2012 received from artists and cultural groups vying for $800,000 in funding that Calgary2012 has distributed.

“A lot of those projects were really amazing projects that would have had great artistic impact, (and) awesome community impact,” Ball says, “but we couldn’t get them across the finish line, because we’d run out of money.

“Those are the projects that were invited to be on InvestYYC.”

For more info, go to www.investyyc.com.

shunt@calgaryherald.com

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