UPDATE 7/26/13: THANKS TO YOU MANY WONDERFUL CONTRIBUTORS, OUR VIDEO CAMPAIGN RAISED A TOTAL OF $72,525 IN ONLINE, OFFLINE (CASH & CHECKS) AND IN-KIND GIFTS! GEORGETOWN COUNTY HAS STEPPED IN TO LEVERAGE YOUR GENEROUS DONATIONS TO PROVIDE IN-KIND SKILLED LABOR TO HELP US FINISH THE BUILDING. WE'LL KEEP YOU POSTED ON OUR PROGRESS VIA FACEBOOK AND OUR WEBSITE: themitneyproject.org. THANK YOU TO ALL OF OUR INDIEGOGO SUPPORTERS FOR JOINING US AND HELPING TO RESTORE HOPE AND OPPORTUNITY IN THIS COMMUNITY!
CONGRATULATIONS TO KRISTEN HUNTER OF NORTH CAROLINA WHO WON OUR REFERRAL CONTEST! TO HER WE SAY: "MUCHISIMAS GRACIAS Y BUEN VIAJE!"
“Mitney” is a West End word for “child.” Usually a bright -and maybe a little mischievous- child.
Our start: “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door”
In the poorest area of Georgetown, SC, ten friends and business acquaintances started discussing ways to help less privileged kids have a better quality of life.
Their vision of rebuilding the neglected West End community became The Mitney Project.
We called a town meeting and talked to everyone we know.
Several friends stepped in to help. Many volunteered as instructors: dancers, IT teachers, bankers. The County lent us 2 rooms in an old school and we started with a dance class for 23 kids.
Then something amazing happened….
Parents waiting in the halls asked for their own activity. Then a group of ten young boys came to ask if we could “give them something to do.” More people started telling us what they needed to create better lives for themselves.
So we created a homebuyer program for them. A computer class. A fitness class. Then a financial mastery class.
Some kids from a private school held a fundraiser and bought the boys a robotics kit. The arts council gave us some art supplies and asked some artists to give the kids lessons.
You get the picture.
The project grew organically, mostly thanks to friends who share their time and resources. In the past 3 years, we’ve served over 250 people and maxed out at 5 rooms in the old school. The halls are full of the sounds music, learning and laughter.
But now we need more space.
A community’s heart
With 7,600 square feet, the former warehouse that will be The West End Community Center has space for more than 500.
It is smack-dab in the middle – the heart - of our community; people can walk to the building from all around.
It will have a medical office with a dedicated neighborhood physician.
There will be a community kitchen with healthy cooking classes, a dance fitness studio and film and photography studio.
Rooms where adults and kids will learn about entrepreneurship and start small with a team of mentors to help them succeed.
There will be an open multipurpose place for community gatherings, and workshops and events other community partners want to share.
A safe space for living, sharing, creating art and growing better together. A place to find a new dream for life and spread good into the neighborhood – and beyond.
Sharing with the world
Helping to finish the center is how people from all over the world become a part of this process.
So many people are pulling together to make this happen:
Volunteer roofers, carpenters and plumbers. Composer Mark Mancina who let us use his beautiful composition for our video. The donors who gave us a roof system and a ton of drywall. The funders who awarded us a $99,000 matching grant to help with construction.
We need to raise $101,000 in a month to be awarded the money, buy construction materials, wire the building for electricity and install plumbing. This is where you come in.
Your Gift: Creating possibility
We can’t do this by ourselves. For this crazy dream to become real, you’ve got to help us get the word out. Send this message to everyone you know! Be a Change Agent and make this your Mission Possible. Tweet it, Instagram it, Pinterest it, put it on Facebook, text it to the world! Let everyone know you believe as we do, that NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE for willing hearts uniting behind a cause that serves the greater good.
Your gift will create a home for opportunity, a haven for creativity, a space where a depressed community reclaims its heart and is renewed.
And every gift counts, no matter the size! To reach $101,000 will take pooling together gifts in all amounts – large and small. It’s by doing what you can that this amazing project will happen.
Plus, you get some great perks for your gift…..
WE LOVE TO SAY THANK YOU!
The center will serve a community of 2000 people which means you will have the instant adoration of a legion of grateful beneficiaries the moment you make your gift. That’s a lot of love and good vibes headed your way.
When construction is finished we’re throwing a huge party for our supporters – as many as the fire department will allow in the center (about 500). If you can’t be there in person, use your webcam to join us as we stream the party across the internet to the world. (We are so tickled that our friends in Europe and Africa will be able to join us this way!!)
And check out the more tangible ways to thank you that we’ve listed on this page. Even if you are in another state or you’re one of our friends from across the globe, you will find a reward for your gift that helps you become part of this special community.
For gifts of $250 you get a tshirt for which you can choose a Change Agent avatar. Agent Rogue Do-gooder has killer curves and a hammer dedicated to building opportunity; Agent Z. Rightforce is mysterious in his fedora and trenchcoat; dual agents Bon and Trace with their hammer and drill are up to the challenge of rebuilding West End. Find their images on The Mitney Project's Facebook page.
From art the kids will design especially for you, to immortalizing your name in art installations throughout the center, to a personalized book featuring elder anecdotes on creating your best life, to being able to participate in the center’s launch party via webcam, we have special ways of thanking you for joining us on this extraordinary journey.
So When Will This All Happen?
Very soon, actually. The timeframe is pretty much as follows:
June 2013 Raise $101,000
July 2013 Complete construction, medical office opens
October 2013 Remaining activities spaces open
December 2013 Throw a Really Big Launch Party!!! Donor thank you’s
2014 and Beyond
This is the best part. Knowing the good that will come because the center will be here.
300 people seeing a doctor in their neighborhood with a wellness prescription that might include a healthy cooking class and dance fitness – all in one place! 200+ adults and kids learning 21st century skills in all kinds of activities: New entrepreneurs, young and mature, and new neighborhood businesses launched. More first-time homebuyers trained and homes with hand-made solar panels. Kids learning 21st century media skills like animation, web-design and film crew positions and how to cherish the earth by using green technology. Their parents learning new job skills and the importance of saving toward goals. 140 dilapidated structures renovated or replaced with beautiful new homes for low-income families.
The community center will host tons of activities that have never been available in this area before:
A film and photography studio – where professional filmmaker friends of ours will give workshops that teach kids how to create a storyboard for their ideas, crew and shoot a film or photo project, the editing process
A music studio – where friends we have in the industry will teach participants about producing music but also about managing artists, where our local church choirs and garage bands will be able to record the sounds of our local culture and share it with the world
A design lab – where the kids in our robotics and alternative energy activities can stretch out and dream bigger, designing real life green solutions like solar panels and learning from professionals working in cutting edge technology fields in our region
A community gathering space, where people can unwind, connect and discuss the music, art and creative pursuits that fill this space with beauty and new ideas. Where seniors can come and no longer be alone. Where youths and children have a safe place to play.
These are just the highlights of what the center you help build will make real.
A West End whose dreams have been reborn. A safe harbor for home-seekers. A warm, welcoming, wonderful place where everyone in the community – including you - can grow, create and achieve.
A place with a new opportunity behind every door.
REFERRAL CONTEST DETAILS:
The person who refers the greatest number of donors to this campaign page wins one week in a one-bedroom suite for him/her self and a guest in a 5-star, all-inclusive resort and spa in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (value: $1,800). The winner will also receive a $100 airfare voucher to use toward their travel; remaining travel costs are not included in the contest prize. The week must be used between January 1, 2014 and December 31, 2014 and is non-transferable, non-refundable and may not be redeemed for cash. Once reserved, the week may not be changed for another week. See the resort and spa here: www.velasvallarta.com.
To ensure your referrals are counted correctly: 1) make a contribution to this campaign and when you receive your confirmation, note the "spread the word" url that Indiegogo provides. Insert this url into the emails you send to friends. When they click through and contribute to this campaign, your referral tally will increase. OR 2) create an Indiegogo account for yourself (free), then use the "Share" tools on this campaign page located just below the video.
The referral contest winner will be announced by The Mitney Project on this campaign page, on Mitney's Facebook page and on Mitney's website www.themitneyproject.org on July 23. The winner will be notified directly by Mitney via email on the same day. Good luck, and thank you for helping to build an opportunity center for a great community!
Team on This Campaign:
Leslie Di Mitri