TAMPA - If being a philanthropist for your community is a little beyond your budget right now, "Citizinvestor" could be for you.
The Tampa startup website allows you to join your neighbors in getting civic projects built that your government just can't afford.
Citizinvestor, co-founder Jordan Raynor calls it 'Crowd Funding.'
"We work with cities across the United States to find projects that the cities want to take on, citizens want to see happen, but they just don't have the budget for it.
This happens in one of two ways. Either a municipality puts a project, like tree planting, or a bike path on the Citizenvestor website and accepts donations, or citizens start a petition for a project they'd like to see done, hoping the city will green-light it.
Raynor and his partner, Tony De Sisto say a kayak-sharing program and the construction of fishing piers along the Riverwalk at Curtis Hixon Park are in the petition stage. The only project backed by a municipality so far is an initiative to plant 15,000 trees in Philadelphia.
"We're creating a platform for the first time ever that gives citizens the ability to tell Government exactly where they want them to spend their money."
You can contribute as much or as little as you like with your credit card, but you're not charged until enough donations have come in to fully fund the project.
Though the City of Tampa hasn't yet green lighted a project, Raynor thinks the refurbishment of the of the public swimming pool on Davis Islands would have been perfect.
"They held neighborhood barbecues. They literally went door-to-door and carried cash. We looked at that model and thought our way has got to be more efficient.
It cost the Glazer family five million dollars to get their name on the Children's museum. Citizinvestor offers the average person a chance to be a philanthropist for five or ten dollars.
The website is too new to know for sure if any of these projects will fly with residents like Robert Mann.
"I don't see a lot of areas where I'd say I've already paid my taxes but I'm going to give you extra money to do something. But if it's something I really care about, I could see donating money for it."
Citizinvestor is a for-profit business that takes five percent of donations, but only after the project is fully funded. They say contributions are tax deductible.
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