Dear Editor:

At the November Pagosa Springs Community Development Corporation (PSCDC) meeting, Anthony Edwards, a business attorney, community lending manager and volunteer in Silverton educated attendees on “Crowdfunding.”

Crowdfunding is a broad term and has multiple uses, but it is where a group of individuals independently decide that a project, a social cause or a small company is worth making a contribution or a loan to. If enough people come together to donate, the project gets funded and gets done.

The PSCDC proposes to use Crowdfunding to help our community fund worthwhile projects supported by the public.

So many of us have great ideas for community improvements and good causes, but we don’t necessarily see these being reflected in priorities or acted upon by local governments or other community organizations. Crowdfunding gives us the ability to propose our ideas and actually get funding if enough people buy in. It doesn’t matter whether it is sun shades for the swings at the park for the kids, picnic tables for Reservoir Hill, trail signage, bike racks for downtown, Destination Imagination trips or a capital purchase or program for a local nonprofit. Any worthwhile project can be funded in this manner.

How will it work? Details have yet to be fully worked out, but anyone in the community can describe a project they feel is worthwhile on Anthony’s Crowdfunding Internet platform, “Main Street Crowd,” which is currently in beta. Then:

1. The PSCDC will evaluate each project to determine if it is consistent with the PSCDC’s mission.

2. If it is and any required town/county approvals have been obtained, then the project will be approved by the PSCDC and the project will be listed on the PSCDC’s Main Street Crowd site. The monetary goal must be listed and the project will be posted for a limited time (usually three months). Implementation owners and details will also have to be described.

3. Individuals or companies may choose to donate to that project. If the full amount is raised within the specified time, the donors’ credit cards will be charged for the pledge. If the time expires without having raised the fund goal, then no donor accounts are charged and the project is removed from the Main Street Crowd site.

4. Because the PSCDC is a 501(c)3 corporation, for projects the PSCDC approves, the donor will receive a tax deduction for the gift. Not only that, but the donor will receive a state tax credit, since the PSCDC is an “Enhanced Enterprise Zone Project.” This enables the donor to give a bigger gift because of the favorable tax treatment they will receive. If the PSCDC does not approve the project, it can still be posted and potentially funded, but does not receive the favorable tax treatment.

Using Crowdfunding, the power of the many in our community can come together to fund projects we agree are important and meaningful and improve the quality of life for our citizens.

Muriel Eason

This story was posted on December 20, 2012.