Harnessing the Internet to grow a community project in Dallas

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by SHELLY SLATER

Bio | Email | Follow: @wfaashelly

WFAA

Posted on April 18, 2012 at 6:18 PM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 18 at 6:22 PM

DALLAS - From the push for a St. Patrick's Day parade to a community garden in Deep Ellum, a new Web site is helping small donations lead to big projects.

The site, called Crowdtilt, has provided a future to the Deep Ellum Urban Gardens - a place for vegetables, herbs, arts and more.

"When you really crunch the numbers, you realize you really need a fence, planters, dirt, and pathways," said Paula Ramirez with the Deep Ellum Community Association. "[The garden project] quickly accumulated to $25,000."

Struggling for funding, Ramirez turned to Crowdtilt, proving power in numbers. People can donate as little as $5 to help the greater goal.

"The biggest challenge we had was to make it as simple as possible," said James Beshara with Crowdtilt.

Beshara said organizers like Ramirez choose the so-called "fiscal tilting point." The moment that level is hit, donors are actually charged the amount they wish to give.

Four weeks into the campaign, the urban garden "tilted."

"Our tilting point was $10,000, but we reached $13,000, and because of word of mouth, we had people calling in to donate," Ramirez said.

From wholesale wood to fencing at cost, people were donating services in addition to cash... all because Crowdtilt is set up to share through social media sites.

Now the garden is moving forward.

And while Ramirez admits the money was the most basic need, she walked away with a lot more.

"It created awareness like crazy," she said, adding:  "Thank you, thank you, thank you!"

E-mail sslater@wfaa.com

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