Date Posted: September 1, 2014
Article, Washington Informer Newspaper, 12/18/2013
SCHOLARgifts Help Fill Gap in Education Funding
Dorothy Rowley | 12/18/2013, 1:20 p.m.
A new website launched by a D.C. attorney has joined the network of financial support systems that help students achieve their higher education goals.
The SCHOLARgifts crowd-funding initiative, which was recently launched by organization CEO Nkechi Taifa, operates on the collective efforts of teachers, parents, mentors, co-workers and others who pool their money online to support students in pursuit of their education or related endeavors. For example, a group of Howard University students who used a similar crowd-funding platform raised a few thousand dollars last fall to help defray expenses for a 14-day trip to West Africa.
“A year ago I had never heard of crowd-funding,” Taifa said. “Then last spring, I balked when my college-age daughter asked me to pay for her study-abroad dream trip. Being unqualified for need-based aid and already borrowing from Peter, Paul and Mary to foot her steep and ever-rising college tuition, I said with tough love, ‘Sweetie, you’re on your own.'”
To her surprise, in less than 30 days her daughter had successfully raised more than $3,000 from family, friends and complete strangers via the Internet.
“This was the inspiration that gave rise to SCHOLARgifts,” Taifa said. “It’s collective fundraising for a specific educational purpose with no red tape or hassle, no essay or recommendations, no income qualifications and no competition. All that is needed is the desire to succeed and the ability to motivate others to invest in making learning a reality.”
Taifa explained that through SCHOLARgifts, a large number of people help a student succeed in areas such as tuition, study, research and training by donating small monetary gifts to her crowd-funding campaign.
While each crowd-funding website offers its own spin, the concept is generally the same: a fundraising period is established and pledged money is collected from the contributors once the period ends. If the goal is not met, no money is collected. The sites, which have a cap on the amount of money that can be raised, also track donations that can continue after a goal is met.
Taifa described crowd-funding as a unique and fast-growing financial assistance resource that has even been given a thumbs-up by the Obama administration.
“Just last year, the president signed the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, which lets businesses raise funds in small increments from many investors — the essence of crowd-funding,” she said. “[It’s] the kind of innovative strategy millions of American families need to help fill the gap between soaring tuition costs and fewer available education loans.”
Thanks so very much Dorothy Rowley and Washington Informer for highlighting the SCHOLARgifts.com newly launched crowdfunding website for educational purposes. Please note that with our platform, those who post campaigns get to keep all the money they raise, minus a small administrative fee, even if they do not reach their funding goal.
Welcome to the preliminary launch of SCHOLARgifts, an exciting new crowdfunding platform specifically designed to help fund diverse educational needs with no registration fee or complicated application process, no essay, and no recommendations. All that is needed is the desire to succeed and the ability to tell a story in a way that will inspire others to donate financial gifts to the Scholar’s campaign.
“Scholar” refers to anyone who has developed a campaign and is seeking financial gifts to fund a learning need. Scholars can include current and future students, from toddlers in pre-school to octogenarians learning to zumba! A “gifter” is an individual or organization who donates money (gifts) to a scholar’s campaign. Gifters can include friends, parents, grandparents and other relatives, teachers, mentors, school administrators, graduates, and anyone who wants to support and encourage people — young, older, or young at heart — to pursue their educational dreams and/or learn new skills and lessons. Scholars show appreciation to their gifters with customized perks, rewards or services, that can range from virtual hugs and kisses or an academic update each semester, to an invitation to a recital or photos from study abroad.
For those unfamiliar with crowdfunding, it is a type of online fundraising where people create leverage by pooling their money to support the efforts of others. Although expressed in a different era, the philosophy was best summed up by Helen Keller, “alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” With SCHOLARgifts, there is a “crowd” of people interested in a Scholar campaign that will invest by gifting donations, in exchange for customized appreciation rewards.
Crowdfunding is increasingly gaining in popularity and its successes mark it as the wave of the future. As financial resources dry up and educational loans become more scarce, SCHOLARgifts can provide the answer to scholastic funding as it is positioned to benefit from the market shift towards collective fundraising in a unique way. SCHOLARgifts is different from many of the other crowdfunding platforms, as it provides a targeted approach specifically dedicated to the funding of educational pursuits for people of all ages. Some fundraising platforms expressly exclude the raising of funds for tuition or scholarships; other platforms are overly broad, minimizing the chances of your campaign receiving attention from your targeted audience.
With SCHOLARgifts, your Scholar Campaign has the opportunity to be highlighted and stand out in the target market of those most interested in investing in life-long educational pursuits. Moreover as a promotional incentive, SCHOLARgifts adds an innovative feature to its platform — a periodic “Pooled Fund” drawing where eligible Scholars who have reached their fundraising goal have the chance to win a Gift Bonus from funds donated to a collective “pot.”
The SCHOLARgifts management team includes visionaries who are lawyers, professors and educators, finance and management professionals, web developers, social media enthusiasts, entrepreneurs, MBAs, musicians and authors, who recognized a pressing societal need and combined their talents and expertise to create a powerful vehicle that allows people to provide monetary gifts to support scholars to pursue their dreams.
Consider contributing to one or more of the Scholar Campaigns that are part of our Preliminary Launch. Consider creating your own campaign or encourage someone you know to do so. Consider contributing to the collective Pooled Fund. Peruse the website, kick the tires, become a gifter and as you do so, keep in mind the old wise saying, “What you give, you get, ten times over!”