Oct. 14 2015 11:30 AM

A guide to Lansing-area online fundraising campaigns

One of the newest players on the crowdsourcing scene is Patronicity. Founded in 2013, Patronicity is a Detroit-based crowdfunding platform designed around building stronger communities in Michigan.

The Michigan Economic Development Corp. and Patronicity work together to drive the reactivation of public spaces using the newly implemented “Public Spaces, Community Places” grant to help communities with specific, short-term projects. The grant allows the MEDC to match funds raised by qualifying projects, which are often centered around community improvement and beautification. In its first year, the program assisted 42 community-driven campaigns statewide.

Locally, Patronicity has facilitated the crowdfunding of the recently completed Beacon Soccer Field and the upcoming Under the Bridge Michigan Avenue beautification project.

East Lansing Artist Alleys patronicity.com/project/el_artist_alleys

With hopes of beautifying and energizing its downtown area, the City of East Lansing is reaching out to the community through crowdsourcing. The city aims to raise $45,000 in an effort to engage community members in creating a place that is “undeniably East Lansing.” MEDC will match $45,000 toward the project if the goal is met by Nov. 12.

The funds will be used to add landscaping, public recycling bins, additional lighting and game tables to downtown plazas and alleys. The city will also commission two East Lansing-themed murals in the area. With donation levels starting at $10, all sponsors will receive an invitation to a grand finale celebration commemorating the improvements made thanks to their support.

Sponsors also have the opportunity to receive special “surprises” and VIP entry to the finale depending on their donation. Any funds raised through crowdsourcing that exceed $45,000 will be used to create a maintenance reserve in order to preserve the improved spaces. This campaign is an all-or-nothing campaign, meaning that donors will only be charged if the $45,000 reserve is met.

Owosso Community Players: Light The Marquee patronicity.com/project/owosso_community_players_light_the_marquee

As part of the ongoing restoration of downtown Owosso’s Lebowsky Center, the Owosso Community Players are turning to the community to raise $9,000 to refurbish and modernize the building’s iconic marquee. The marquee will be updated with 900 energy-efficient light bulbs, a new electrical infrastructure, improved drainage and an LED display.

“A re-lit marquee is a key element in the development of Owosso,” says the project’s Patronicity page. “A brightly lit marquee says ‘Downtown Owosso is open!’ and provides visitors with a unique, nostalgic experience simply not common today.”

Donation levels range from $10 to $200, and sponsors have the opportunity to receive perks ranging from one of the original bulbs from the old marquee to VIP entry to the Light the Marquee party on Nov. 6. The Owosso Community Players hope to reach the funding goal by Oct. 31.