A community group in Queens, NY doubles their neighborhood park space through the creation of a temporary plaza. A community-owned cooperative is founded to build solar powered streetlights in Highland Park, Michigan. A group of residents raise $60,000 to fund the first mile of the Firefly Trail, a rail trail in Athens-Clarke County Georgia, inspiring voters to approve $16 million to fully complete a much longer section.
These local projects all have one thing in common: they were supported by ioby, a nonprofit civic crowdfunding platform that helps connect local leaders with funding and resources from within their communities to make our neighborhoods more sustainable, healthier, greener, more livable, and more fun. The organization blends a technology platform with fundraising coaching, and it connects local leaders to a whole array of resources and relationships to help them succeed.
ioby stands for “in our backyards,” the positive opposite of NIMBY (“Not In My Backyard”). When it was founded in 2008, ioby followed the lead of DonorsChoose.org and Kiva.org, the first online micro-philanthropy platforms, long before the term “crowdfunding” was in popular use. Since then, the organization has seen over 2,100 neighborhood leaders step up and lead positive change in their neighborhoods.
ioby has also expanded nationally, thanks in part to a loan from FJC’s Agency Loan Fund. When the organization began to expand beyond its initial NYC and Miami pilots, ioby had almost no funding to support their strategic planning, market research, or to support projects coming in from everywhere in the U.S. outside NYC and Miami. “With the flexible lending from FJC,” explains ioby CEO and co-founder Erin Barnes, “we were able to do the appropriate planning and capacity building so that we could open offices in Detroit, Cleveland and Pittsburgh.”
We are thrilled that FJC donor capital has been put to work through ioby, increasing civic engagement and building community power.