Crowdfunding: A Catalyst for Local Economic Growth
At a time when funding from local, state, and federal governments is spread thin and credit is increasingly harder to come by, crowdfunding has demonstrated that collective and collaborative efforts of individuals can fuel significant change within America’s communities. Through harnessing the power of connectivity and cause, we’ve seen the generous nature of the human spirit meld with technology to create a social and economic marketplace that has enabled money to be lent, invested, and donated in ways and on a scale never before thought possible.
And the opportunities to “make a difference with your dollar” are boundless. Projects in art, music and movies can be found on Kickstarter, cancer treatments on Indiegogo, free wi-fi for neighborhoods on Neighbor.ly, or small business entrepreneurs through Kiva.org. As millions of dollars are funneled daily through these sites, a new kind of economy of opportunity is emerging.
Jase founded Neighbor.ly, the civic crowdfunding platform that lets people, companies and institutions invest in the places and civic projects they care about. A self-described "civic geek," Jase's interests lie at the intersection of cities and technology. Through Neighbor.ly, he lives out his passion for helping communities help themselves in an era of economic uncertainty. A relentless advocate for better quality of life through civic innovation, he is helping to pioneer the civic crowdfunding movement in the United States. He advocates for open data and civic tech through events such as CityCamp.
Jase also holds a BA in Urban Planning & Design from UMKC and a Masters in City Planning from MIT. While an undergrad in 2004, he founded Luminopolis, a civic software firm with a special focus on web-based community engagement tools. While at MIT, he consulted a variety of cities around the world on technology innovation strategy, and authored a thesis on using the web for civic engagement. He is an aspiring civic philanthropist and civic VC.
Jonny first came to Kiva in 2009 as a volunteer on a 5-month externship from his management consulting firm Oliver Wyman. He spent six years at Oliver Wyman, first in London and then in San Francisco, working principally in the transportation, retail and consumer goods industries. Jonny joined Kiva full-time in September 2011, to lead the Kiva Zip pilot project, which aims at leveraging new technologies like M-PESA mobile payments in Kenya to more closely connect Kiva's lenders and borrowers. Jonny is married to Ali, who he met at Kiva, and occasionally you may glimpse them cycling their tandem through the streets of San Francisco. He graduated with a BA in History from the University of Cambridge, where he represented his college at 14 sports (although 3 of these were table football, pool and chess).