The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)® has awarded a $65,000 grant to a unique free crowdfunding organization, Green Our Planet, which has just launched nationally.
Green Our Planet (www.greenourplanet.org) is unusual in that it is a conservation organization founded by two Emmy-winning documentary filmmakers and also runs its own free crowdfunding platform. The org charges 0% of monies raised. In its recent Beta phase, the free crowdfunding startup raised more than $800,000 for projects ranging from outdoor garden classrooms at public schools in Las Vegas, Nevada to reforesting endangered habitats in the Andes Mountains of Peru.
“We’re delighted to have been selected,” said Ciara Byrne, Co-founder and Co-Director of Green Our Planet. Ms. Byrne formerly ran the U.S. branch of Lion Television in the United States before applying her filmmaking and business skills towards environmental change. Her partner, Kim MacQuarrie, is a multiple-Emmy-winning filmmaker and writer who has made documentary films all over the world.
“CEA’s award will be used in Las Vegas to sponsor Outdoor Garden Classrooms at 10 at-risk elementary schools,” said Ms. Byrne. “The schools will then raise the remainder on our free crowdfunding platform, leveraging out the donation. What better way to teach the next generation about science, the environment, and how to take care of the Earth than in outdoor garden classrooms at elementary schools?”
Free Crowdfunding Platform
Green Our Planet is unusual, Ms. Byrne says, in that it is a conservation organization, a green tech startup, and uses filmmaking to further environmental education. Because it’s a nonprofit, the organization can offer its free crowdfunding platform to any project creator—as long as the projects are “green.” Already, the free crowdfunding platform has helped fund solar panels for a homeless shelter in Carson City, Nevada, has helped public schools in Las Vegas, Nevada become “green schools,” and has also helped fund the planting of more than 50,000 native Queñua trees in the Peruvian Andes.
“Projects on our free crowdfunding platform have received donations from all over the world,” Ms. Byrne says, “from individuals contributing as little as $10 to thousands of dollars. Green Our Planet offers one of the best crowdfunding deals out there for scientists, conservationists and basically anyone with a great green idea.”
Providing a free crowdfunding platform, Ms. Byrne says, lessens the financial bite that for-profit crowdfunders charge (often anywhere from 4% to 15% of all monies raised), but it’s also a powerful way to form green communities, both locally and internationally. The organization thus takes an active role in partnering with foundations, non-profit organizations and corporations to collectively create environmental awareness and positive environmental change. Based in Las Vegas, Nevada, the organization also runs one of the fastest-growing school garden organizations in the U.S., the Outdoor Garden Classroom Program (https://www.greenourplanet.org/learning/school-gardens). In the last year and a half, while testing out its green crowdfunding platform, the nonprofit has helped fund more than 65 Outdoor Garden Classrooms, primarily in at-risk elementary schools. The organization estimates that it will have helped fund more than 100 gardens by the end of this school year. With roughly 100,000 public schools spread across the United States, many of which would benefit from an outdoor teaching garden, Green Our Planet seems well-positioned to come to their aid.
The two founders’ vision, however, is not only local but global and their filmmaking skills are evident on the organization’s website. Both Ms. Byrne and Mr. MacQuarrie have recently returned from Africa, meanwhile, where they are making a documentary film with Richard Leakey, the world-renowned paleoanthropologist and former director of the Kenya Wildlife Service. Dr. Leakey was not only instrumental in helping to protect Africa’s elephants, but he will soon be featured in a new Hollywood film, called “Africa,” to be directed by Angelina Jolie. Leakey, however, has many African wildlife projects that he would like Green Our Planet to help fund. Dr. Leakey has been on Green Our Planet’s advisory board since the organization began.
About Green Our Planet
Green Our Planet is a non-profit, 501(c)3 organization dedicated to educating the public about the most pressing environmental issues facing the planet today. Its goal is to help conserve, protect and improve the environment by providing a free crowdfunding platform and through education, which includes STEM, nutrition and conservation education in K-12 schools.
View photos of Green Our Planet’s Outdoor Garden Classrooms at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/101010090@N06/sets/