People are awesome

We all have networks. Many of us all have passion projects. What happens when people combine their networks to support their passion projects? Here’s four I’m a proud part of:

#FirstHomeProject – By Jarrod and Teresa

Jarrod is the type of counter-cultural Christian hippie you can’t help but respect. Example: He defends non-violence, even when the rest of the world is celebrating the death of Osama. He and his family have lived in intentional community for years, and he’s a respected advocate for refugees and disenfranchised people.

Recently Jarrod, Teresa, and their son Tyson, decided to buy a house that they’ll share with two refugee families. But the banks won’t loan. They told a few friends, who told a few friends, who then volunteered loans or donations. So they put the word out. They needed to secure 600k of loans in 14 days. They’ve raised 400k already–48 hours and 200k to go!

I’m ridiculously inspired by their family’s journey. Not everyone has the means or calling, but together, we can make it happen. You can support them here.

Help fund the EP – Naomi

I’ll never forget the first time I saw Naomi play an open mic. It was a trendy Seattle venue with a crowded bar and good crowd. The performers were more-or-less background noise–until Nae started singing. Everyone stopped talking. The room became silent except for her words and strumming. This woman can perform. She carries presence, truth and beauty.

Naomi’s dream is to release an EP.


I want to use music to change people’s perception of Africa, and in the process bring my community, my ancestors and my continent to a world they might have never had a chance to experience.

It’s not easy for me to ask for help, but everything is feeling right and I’m so determined to follow my heart, at the expense of my pride.  My parents have given me a great legacy, “leave a place better than you found it” and it is what I hope to accomplish with music.

Nae is a friend who has become family. Her daughter is my favourite, and I love being “Uncle Kyle”. The above photo is from wedding day, where Naomi blessed Shen and I with a song. Photo by Julie Harmsen.

I can’t wait for Naomi’s EP. Here’s a letter from her, and an invitation to support music.

A film called “T-Rex” – California is a Place

My obsession with CIAP started when a friend shared this video on facebook. The guys travel California finding and filming incredible stories. How incredible? An elderly synchronised swimmer who smokes pot. A self-appointed pistol packing border patrol. Silicon valley nerds who started a fight club. A designer who makes those kind of dolls [NSFW, clearly]. All are told in a beautiful, reflective style.

So what happens when these guys follow the story of the world’s youngest female boxer to ever fight in the Olympics? I don’t know yet SHE WON GOLD! but I’m pretty excited to watch. CIAP raised 62k to fund the film. For the price of a date night at the movies, I get a DVD delivered, with my name in the credits, and the satisfaction of supporting their art. Big win, all around.

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The Icarus Deception – Seth Godin

How do you convince a publisher that there’s real demand for your book? Seth offered a presale, and raised $275,000 for his next book before it’s even finished. It’s a win, win: I get the book at a massive discount before it hits the stores, and Seth is guaranteed buzz and demand for the book when it hits the shelves.

The take aways

    • Online facilitated fundraising, but I got involved in most of these from real world things (dinners, phone calls, concert, a book). The interwebs is amazing, but most influence happens offline.
    • Are these donations, investments, or purchases? To me, all have an element of each.
    • Each person built their audience offering something of value for free. Seth gives advice every day. CIAP posts all their videos on vimeo. Naomi gives away music. Jarrod blogs his ideas, tweets and speaks. It’s a long-term strategy where ROI means “return on influence” instead of “return on investment”.
    • If you’re chasing your calling, don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s a privilege to contribute to good causes and people’s dreams.

We live in an interconnected world of talent, resources and awesomeness waiting for people to step up and make things happen. Whats your passion project? What would it actually cost? What’s holding you and me back?

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