Amazing neighborhood projects by, for and all about kids

It’s a well-known fact that kids rule. They’re curious, energetic, and won’t bore you with small talk. Kids come up with great ideas. They’re often refreshingly (and embarrassingly) honest. They tend to prioritize the best things about living: family, friends, food, fun, and fuzzy little creatures.

With all this zest for life, it makes sense that kids have played a starring role in many great ioby projects: as leaders, co-designers, and participants. Who better to be at the forefront of positive change than the people who stand to benefit from it the longest?

4 genius fundraising projects led by young people

  • Blooming Streets—NYCHA Community Garden
    When she was a junior at East Side Community School in Manhattan, Veronica Vasquez led the charge to build a community garden on the grounds of her New York City Housing Authority apartment building. “I want to give us a space where we can work together,” she says. “There’s something so special about taking part in the growth of something, and all watching it grow together.”
  • Cleveland Bike Library
    When he was 16, Randy King raised money on ioby (not once, but twice!) to help students combat climate change, and enjoy some outdoor exercise, by starting a bike sharing library at his school. “Growing up, I thought about what I could do to fight climate change, but I always thought, ‘I’m younger, I have to wait a little bit longer,’” Randy says. “But [I realized] it doesn’t matter who you are, how old you are, your gender, anything. If you want to make a change, there are people who can help you. You can do it.”
  • Banish the Bead!
    Students at Whitehall Middle School in Michigan wrote and self-published a children’s book about the negative impacts of microbead pollution in the Great Lakes. They titled the book Billy the Bluegill and the Microbead Mishap and distributed it for free to all 81 third grade classrooms in their county. (Possibly related: In the same year, two Michigan senators proposed legislation that would phase out the use of microbeads.)
  • Detroit Neighborhood Pumpkin Patch
    Pumpkin patches aren’t easy to come by in Detroit’s West Side; for kids to enjoy that fall treat, they have to drive all the way out of the city, a challenge for many in the community. So neighbors brought the patch to them, to show care for the kids in the overcrowded school district.

What can kids bring to community crowdfunding campaigns?

  • Good ideas
    The Hanscom Park Soccer Field project (currently funding!) is raising money to renovate a run-down sports field in Omaha. Local kids and teens are the primary users of this neighborhood amenity. They’re the ones who initiated the campaign to restore it. They’ll be the main beneficiaries of its revitalization. Makes sense to us!
  • Cute points
    More than one ioby leader has told us about the value their adorable little ones brought to their campaign. Behold, the fundraising powers of Cute Little Kids using crosswalk flags and raising posters for parks!
  • Learning the value of resources
    Money is  obviously helpful to implement projects, but kids care about so much more than that. Involving them in a community crowdfunding campaign can teach them, and project leaders, about how all kinds of resources—like social networks, in-kind donations, volunteers, and advocacy, in addition to cash—are needed to make great grassroots things happen, and just might remind you to lean on your community for other strengths! When she was leading the campaign for her project Cooking the New $1 Menu: Straight from the Farm, ioby Leader Stacey Murphy said that taking stock of what she had, and what she needed, was one of the first steps to her success: “Whether you’re a parent, teacher, or neighborhood volunteer, assess your school’s resources and generate a team—that includes students.”

3 amazing fundraising projects all about young people

[Kids gardening in the first kid-centered gardens on NYC Housing Authority property.]

  • Kids’ Council (and so much more) at PS20!
    Instead of reading this blurb, listen to just 30 seconds of Clinton Hill School student Tihun speak about what Kids’ Council and PeaceKeepers mean to her—that’s all you need to know. “Kids are to be seen AND heard,” say the Brooklyn parents who initiated these projects that get kids leading conflict resolution efforts and seeing school-changing programs through from conception to completion. “Kids’ Council [and PeaceKeepers] give all the children ways to participate and express themselves, peer-to-peer, to develop and present their ideas.”
  • Delray Beach Children’s Garden
    This is the garden you wish you’d had as a kid. No surprise, since kids helped design it! (Think raised planter labyrinth, “sunflower house,” and banana forest!) “Preschoolers are little worker bees,” says project leader Shelly Zacks. “If you have a hose, they’ll come with their watering cans and they won’t stop. And they absolutely love it! The younger they are, the better, because they’re closer to the earth, and they’ve been less spoiled by screen time. If you start them young, they’re sensory beings and whenever you teach to the senses, it becomes a part of them.”
  • Project Backboard
    ioby Leader Daniel Peterson has spent the past handful of years making Memphis neighborhoods better for people of all ages—but most especially teenagers—through the simple and inexpensive act of painting helpful lines and colorful designs on the city’s neglected public basketball courts. “I’ve been out there painting and I’ve had teenagers come up to me and start talking and pretty soon, they’ve got cans of spray paint and are helping me,” Daniel says. “It’s been fun to help people realize they can take ownership.”

Ready to start a project in your neighborhood that puts kids in the driver’s seat? Get in touch today about how community crowdfunding can help you raise all the capital you need.