Crowdfunding: “the practice of funding a project or venture by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the Internet” (forbes.com)In recent years, we have seen numerous crowdfunding websites pop-up across the web. They include Indiegogo.com, Kickstarter.com and GoFundMe.com. Unless you've lived under a rock, you've heard of these websites being used for everything from raising money for a bus attendant (which gained momentum on an international level) to helping raise funds for people who recently suffered a fire (a more local-level example).
Recently, an Austin based nonprofit has established a crowdfunding site that serves the sole purpose of providing energy assistance for individuals who are unable to pay their power bills. The site, called Gridmates, allows philanthropists to donate "energy credits" to residents of the Community First! villages. The Community First! village is a "27-acre community that will house some 250 chronically homeless Austinites" (GovTech.com). The village includes multiple "micro-homes" which are small-scale homes that have rents of $120-400 a month.
Gridmates allows members of the community to support individuals in these homes by assisting with the energy costs of these microhomes. By purchasing "energy credits" via paypal or credit card, 100% of donations on Gridmates go towards helping to pay for the utility bills of these homes, which is about $2.50 per day.
To learn more about Gridmates and the CommunityFirst! village, check out this article in GovTech.com.