Pagan Fundraising Initiatives: Patrick McCollum, New Alexandrian Library, Orpheus Pagan Chamber Choir

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  August 22, 2012 — 6 Comments

A bright and ongoing success story in the Pagan community has been the utilization of crowd-funding sites like IndieGoGo and Kickstarter to collectively raise funds for important projects. Starhawk raised over $75,000 dollars to help fund a pitch-reel in order get a feature film based on her book “The Fifth Sacred Thing” made. Peter Dybing helped raise $30,000 dollars for Doctors Without Borders in the wake of the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami. Pagan singer-songwriter SJ Tucker was amazed when a Kickstarter campaign for Tricky Pixie’s European tour more than doubled their initial goal in a matter of hours (and kept on growing). In addition, several smaller initiatives have managed to collectively raise thousands for Pagan projects: The readers of The Wild Hunt funded my upcoming trip to the American Academy of Religion’s Annual Meeting, Chicago-based Pagan/magical performance troupe Terra Mysterium raised funds for their new show “The Alembic,” and the Goddess community funded a documentary film in honor of Merlin Stone.

Crowdfunding sites allow an easy mechanism for fundraising in communities that may have social networks and organizations, but not the robust money-raising infrastructure of already-established mainstream institutions. This is a place modern Paganism is in today, and more and more of us are turning to these sites as a solution to our “money problem.” There are hundreds of thousands of Pagans out there, millions around the world, and they desire to see our projects and initiatives advance just as much as any other faith community. So I’ve started a new feature to regularly check in on fundraising campaigns within our interconnected communities in hopes of giving them wider exposure, and also documenting the crowdfunding phenomenon as it relates to modern Pagans. I hope you’ll find things to support, and also learn important lessons in what makes a campaign succeed.

Send Patrick McCollum to Awakened World 2012: Longtime readers should be familiar with Pagan chaplain and activist Patrick McCollum. Patrick has been working as a Pagan chaplain and activist for well over twenty years. He was one of the founding members of the Lady Liberty League, and has been involved in numerous legal struggles involving modern Pagans. In 2008, he testified before the US Commission on Civil Rights on prisoner’s religious rights, saying he “found discrimination against minority faiths everywhere”and that the problem was “endemic.” Today his work continues as he travels the world acting as global ambassador for modern Paganism, visiting India, Jordan, Thailand, and other locales, advocating for cooperation and sharing a Pagan perspective with the world’s religions. Because of his work he’s been invited to be a facilitator at Awakened World 2012 in Rome, Italy. To get there he needs to raise 3,500 dollars to cover his expenses.

“I have been invited to join the Dalai Lama’s International Peace Council and the Association for Global New Thought as a Core Group Leader to help facilitate a world event in Rome, Italy, Awakened World 2012 this October. The event will be attended by many of the foremost political, religious and human rights leaders in the world, and my fellow Core Group team will include such luminaries as: Yolande IIiano, Chairperson, Religions for Peace Europe, HH Pujya Swami Chidananda Saraswati, President of Parmarth Niketan Ashram in India, one of India’s largest spiritual institutions, Sister Joan Chittister, OSB, CO-Chair of the Global Peace Initiative for Women, His Eminence Walter Cardinal Kasper, President, Pontifical Council for Ecumenism, Ela Gandhi, former South African Parliamentarian and granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi, Dean Lawrence Carter, Dean of Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel, Rev. Marcus Braybrooke, President of the World Congress of Faiths, and Lynne Twist of the Pachamama Alliance and others.

Each of the esteemed Core Group Leaders are being supported by their communities to attend and facilitate the gathering, and so I am asking you my spiritual community, to join together and support me also, so our voices will be heard and Paganism and Earth Based Spiritual Traditions will be represented at the table when the discussions regarding the future of our planet take place.”

The event takes place this October, so Patrick has only a month to raise the money. If you want to support Patrick McCollum’s work, please spread the word or donate to this endeavor. As an aside, I want to note briefly that I helped set up the campaign for the Patrick McCollum Foundation, but I’m not working directly for the foundation on this campaign. All monies go directly to the Patrick McCollum Foundation to fund this trip.

New Alexandrian Library Raises Funds to Finish Construction: At the end of 2011 the New Alexandrian Library, a project that hopes to create “a library worthy of its namesake” focused on esoteric knowledge, mystical and the spiritual writings from many traditions, officially broke ground on their physical space in Delaware.  Last month the foundations for that library were poured for the dome structure that will be erected. Now,an IndieGoGo fundraiser has been launched to pay for the next stage of construction. I originally reported on this campaign at the beginning of August, and since then they’ve managed to raise over $3000 dollars towards their $12,500 goal. There are 21 days left to go, so if you want to help realize a physical Pagan-owned and run library on the East Coast this is an excellent time to join the campaign.

“The New Alexandrian Library (NAL) will be a resource for those that believe in true freedom and equality for religious studies – a resource that includes all of the esoteric and non-mainstream (but growing!) religions – not just the the usual 3 or 4.  The NAL will make as much content (literature, periodicals, art…) available via the web the greates extent allowed by copyright law, etc.  - so it can be a true resource for ALL of those that can benefit from such a resource!

We are the Assembly of the Sacred Wheel, a legally recognized Wiccan non-profit religious organization based in the Mid-Atlantic region. The form of Wicca that the Assembly practices is syncretic and draws inspiration from Astrology, Qabala, the Western Magickal Tradition and the folk religions of Europe. Keepers of the Holly Chalice, the founding coven of the Assembly began its life in February of 1984. The Assembly was incorporated in the state of Delaware in 1993 and was granted 501(c)(3) status by the IRS in 1995.”

The NAL project has already started building an impressive collection, one that includes the recent acquisition of rare Dion Fortune paintings gifted by Dolores Ashcroft Nowicki. As NAL board member Ivo Dominguez Jr says in the video above, this is a project initiated by us, for us, one that deserves our support so that it can become a reality. For more information check out their Facebook page, or go to their official website. You can read all of The Wild Hunt’s coverage of the New Alexandrian Library project, here. I’m hoping to further spotlight this initiative in the near future with a guest post from the Assembly of the Sacred Wheel.

A Pagan Chamber Choir Hopes to Fund First CD: The Orpheus Pagan Chamber Choir, located in Denver, Colorado, seeks to “build community by  sharing  with our audiences the power and beauty of choral music from many historical and cultural traditions.” As this Pagan choir has gained attention within their local community, more and more people have asked when they will record a CD of their music, so they’ve launched this fundraiser to make it happen.

“Ever since Orpheus was founded, people have been asking, “Do you have a CD?” With your help, we’ll be able to say, “Yes, and here it is!” We’ve become known for our unique events: our Twelfth Night Yule Concert & Viking Feast, our programs that fuse ancient with future. Why should our CD be different? We want to make the world premiere recording of the powerful Missa Druidica, our unique covers of Mummers’ Dance, Ancient Mother, We Won’t Wait, and other favorite Orpheus tunes.

We want to record just the way you love us: live musicians doing something that seems to touch people’s souls. We’re over 30 voices and instrumentalists. We can’t just hole up in someone’s garage and turn on a switch. If we were in Hollywood or New York, we could find a studio large enough to hold all of us, but here in Denver we need to rent space and a satellite recording truck! And we’re not using digital instrumental sounds either. It will be all live, all real, all Orpheus.”

They’ve already raised $1,475 of their $4000 goal, with 43 days left to go on their campaign. A $25 dollar donation gets you a pre-released edition of the CD. So if you’re a fan of Pagan choral music, be sure to check this campaign out!

Those are the highlighted campaigns for this edition. Please send me word your crowdfunding campaigns, and I may spotlight them on a future edition of this new feature. Let’s all work together to promote important projects within our community, and destroy the notion that we can’t or won’t fund projects that are important to us. If you can’t donate, the best way to help is to share these campaigns to your social networks, exposing them to as many people as possible. Thanks for reading, and thank you for supporting Pagan community!

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Jason Pitzl-Waters

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  • GOPagan

    I’ve used Kickstarter for (non-Pagan) projects and was astounded by how easy it was to do. They do have some restrictions on funding for charity, so one has to be careful and read their guidelines, but I can say from personal experience that it can work very successfully.

  • http://twitter.com/Fae_EM Fae EdwardsMiller

    These examples are fantastic – but I hope that more kickstarter campaigns and the like are just the beginning of a change in the way we think about money and giving in our community.
    If we want to have institutions and community resources like journalists, cemeteries, professional clergy or charities we’ll need to get used to giving as a regular part of our personal budgeting – not just a ‘hey that sounds cool, I’ll give $5.’
    I think a conversation is long overdue for figuring out how philanthropy fits into our theology and how we fit into the world.

    • http://egregores.blogspot.com Apuleius Platonicus

      After all, we invented philanthropy in the first place!

      • Christa_Landon

        Yes, we did! AND the “good shepherd” iconic image was its symbol hundreds of years before Jesus used that parable.

    • Christa_Landon

      Amen! I went to a UU seminary to learn how they did it; and then I served 4 years in interim ministry, working on all the stages of fundraising, from long range planning committee to cottage vision quest meetings to capital campaigns.

      Now I have a 8,000 volumes on the arts of ministry, etc.; before I die, I want to “download” what I learned.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Lamyka-L/649965363 Lamyka L.

    Mahalo nui loa Jason for putting all of this together and especially highlighting the Orpheus Pagan Chamber Choir. Music and especially variety within the music out there for Pagans is so important! I look forward to their success as well as seeing the other campaigns mentioned here do well!