The Ashford Park School Education Foundation is getting a high-tech helping hand in raising money for an outdoor amphitheater and classroom.
The school’s fundraising project is the first to be featured on a new, online crowd-sourcing platform called URUUT, based at the Atlanta Tech Village in Buckhead.
“We’re excited about it, and I think it’s a great opportunity for the school and business community to get together and do something together,” said Shawn Keefe, co-chair of the Ashford Park School Education Foundation.
The foundation is hoping to raise $100,000 for the project.
The new project will replace the school’s current outdoor amphitheater, which is dilapidated and made of rotting railroad ties. “It’s basically a hazard,” Keefe said.
But parents have hired architects and created a plan for a new, safe, tiered amphitheater that can be used for student theater productions and outdoor learning experiences.
“We had plans for this project at the school laid out, but we didn’t have any direction about how we were going to fundraise for it,” Keefe said.
Then Todd Lantier, chairman of the Brookhaven Chamber of Commerce and an Ashford Park parent, had a chance meeting with Mark Feinberg, co-founder and CEO of URUUT. The two agreed that Ashford Park’s amphitheater project would be a good fit for URUUT.
“It’s new, it’s cutting edge, it fits in well with the new city and new chamber. It works really, really nicely together,” Lantier said.
URUUT was officially launched July 10. Within the first week, more than $10,000 had been pledged toward the Ashford Park project.
“Their passion was unbelievable,” Feinberg said. “They had a project they had clearly spent time thinking through, and they had exhaustive plans. They just needed a platform to tell the world about it.
“It just made a whole lot of sense and it’s really been phenomenal,” Feinberg said.
Feinberg, a Dunwoody resident, said he came up with the idea for URUUT several years ago after New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg personally paid for municipal projects that couldn’t be funded by the city’s budget. He started thinking of alternative ways to fund community projects that governments simply didn’t have the cash for.
“How do you get projects funded when you don’t have a high net worth individual?” Feinberg said. “I started to think about ways of replacing Bloomberg with groups of people and how could we make that happen.”
URUUT provides a limited time period for fundraising, and requires that the full amount be raised for the project. Feinberg said that provides a level of transparency that ensures people’s money will go toward the project they donated to. “It’s all or nothing,” Feinberg said. “The concept of that is you can’t build half of an outdoor classroom.”
Lantier said URUUT offers a lot of possibilities for Chamber of Commerce members to give back to their community. “If we promote a project that will make the community a better place to live, it will be better a place for people to buy a home and raise a family here. They will patronize our businesses and restaurants,” Lantier said.