With just over a week remaining in its Indiegogo campaign, Squamish independent school Coast Mountain Academy (CMA) is nearing its crowdfunding goal of $150,000 to establish a temporary campus located adjacent to Quest University.
As of Tuesday, July 22, the campaign has attracted $114,563 from 48 contributors, making it the site's fourth highest-grossing educational campaign. The original funding goal was set at $250,000, but that number was dropped on the advice of Indiegogo, who regularly sees campaigns become overfunded, to create stretch goal incentives for prospective contributors.
The initial target is part of the technologically-focused school's ultimate goal of raising $5 million to establish a permanent campus. The new facility would accommodate rapid growth at the academy, which opened its doors to 15 students in September.
Administrators expect close to 50 students enrolled for the 2014/15 school year, and 120 by 2016/17, the first year Grade 12 will be offered. Currently, only Grades 7 to 10 are offered.
But as essential as the money is to the school's future, CMA parent and fundraising committee member Rob Darnbrough said that a fully-funded campaign would also benefit the region by ensuring alternative education models are viable.
"It's important to not only have success in the crowdfunding campaign but also to have success in launching an independent school," he said. "Whether you want your kids to go to Coast or any other school, having successful options available is critical. We can't be put in a position where our choices are made for us."
Coast Mountain is committed to providing experiential learning, and the Indiegogo campaign is another opportunity for students to learn not only entrepreneurial and marketing skills (the promotional video on the campaign's site was produced by CMA pupils), but the far-reaching impacts students can have on the world, said director of admissions Colin Boguski.
"What we're trying to teach students is the impact they can have on their community isn't limited to where they live or where they study," he said. "So having a campaign like this where we're starting to share our story with people around the world... (demonstrates) this idea that community grows with them and that they have the power to make change happen, whether it's in Whistler, Squamish or some country around the world."
Boguski's words ring even truer once you consider the international support the campaign has attracted; nearly $75,000 of the funds raised so far have come from the U.S., and the project's page has garnered views from people in 25 different counties.
"It's giving us exposure to countries around the world that we wouldn't otherwise have without this campaign," he said.
And for those still on the fence about donating, Darnbrough underlined the value of having an innovative school like Coast Mountain in the corridor.
"Success breeds success, and this is one of the larger-scale educational crowdfunding campaigns out there, and if it can be successful in the Sea to Sky, what doors can it open for other young entrepreneurs or young non-profit organizations to try and get the funding necessary?" he asked.
The campaign page can be viewed at www.indiegogo.com/projects/from-the-ground-up-help-us-build-a-21st-century-school-for-our-community. Two new donor perks are expected to be added soon. The campaign closes Aug. 1 at midnight.
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