They say that positive energy is infectious. On Tuesday night, the people of Grafton received undeniable proof.
As we celebrated their first year of involvement in the Turn This Town Around program at a special gathering in Grafton on Tuesday night, the great spirit of the occasion received the perfect accompaniment with the announcement that the City of Grafton and Taylor County would support this remarkable community effort with an additional $30,000 toward local projects.
Each municipality will contribute $15,000, to support at least 15 new community initiatives, continuing the model created by Turn This Town Around – small and affordable local projects, imagined, planned and executed by the locals themselves. During Year 1 of Grafton’s Turn This Town Around work, this included First Friday local business events, downtown wayfinding signage, the expansion of the Grafton Farmers Market, and the restoration of the much-loved Manos Theatre (above).
“We could all take what our yearnings were for the town and turn them into action,” said community leader Tom Hart. “We may not have all the money in the world, but when you have talent like the people we have here, anything is possible.”
“This is a wonderful investment in the city and the people of Grafton,” said the Hub’s Director of Community Strategies Amanda Yager of the $30,000 set aside. “It’s also a terrific example of something we always tell community members when we begin the process – ‘don’t get hung up on the money thing.’ Just start with conversation, and organizing, and prioritizing. Funding will only come when there are clear community priorities and a visible way forward.”
But there is a catch. The citizens will only receive the additional $30,000 if they can provide a partial match of their own – $15,000. So the gauntlet has been thrown down.
At Tuesday night’s meeting, Hub staff provided some guidance about strategies for successful fundraising, and the importance of looking to successful local examples for inspiration and education about what can work. For example, in the southern part of the state the community of Alderson just launched a crowdfunding campaign at Indiegogo.com, with the goal of raising $30,400 to start a grocery store featuring local fresh produce.
Interested in learning more about how crowdfunding platforms like Indiegogo and Kickstarter work? There are clear step-by-step instructions on each site. We recommend you begin by looking through the project examples for lessons on what other people have done in communities like yours!