In July 2018, BackerKit established The Creative Fund — our commitment to make a $1 pledge to every project that launches on Kickstarter. Our goal has been to make space for creators and encourage the innovation that makes crowdfunding so wonderful. We know from personal experience how exciting and motivating it can be to make that first dollar. As part of this initiative, we also made a more substantial donation to a single project voted on by our Patreon community.
But during the summer of 2020, as people across the country were marching to protest police violence against Black Americans and systemic racism, we saw an opportunity to refocus The Creative Fund.
In theory, crowdfunding is an amazing equalizer — anyone with a strong idea can see it brought to life, but we’ve noticed a lack of diversity in the crowdfunding community. Last year, we made a promise to help change this. One way that we are working toward this change is by making larger pledges to Black-led campaigns every month through The Creative Fund in addition to the $1 pledge we make to all Kickstarter projects.
Our community can only get stronger and more vibrant when more voices are added to it. We want to do what we can to encourage Black and other underrepresented creators to launch projects.
Since taking The Creative Fund in this new direction, one of the most exciting things that we’ve experienced has been receiving rewards from successful projects that we’ve backed. Here are a few rewards that we’ve received in the past several months.
Design Eye is a game created by Deon Mixon, a graphic designer, author, and educator from Detroit, MI. In the game, players learn about graphic design principles in a fun way (you actually get to sketch out ideas as part of the gameplay) while competing for acceptance into a prestigious design school. One of Mixon’s goals in creating this game was to introduce more people of color to the graphic design field.
Creator Faith Shakti Heyliger turned her epic poem, The Love Letter, into a 68-page illustrated book. The poem is about embracing your identity and accepting yourself for who you are. We received these awesome postcards featuring original art by the book’s illustrator Rasa Vaišvilaitė.
In response to the pandemic, creator Nicholas Mwando Kamau designed these beautiful face masks made with Ankara fabric — a textile used to make African prints. The triple-layered masks are bold, bright, and reusable.
Created by Tiyahna Ridley-Padmore, Trailblazers: The Black Pioneers Who Have Shaped Canada is an illustrated children’s book comprised of short stories, written as poems, about Black Canadian historical figures. While the contributions of people like Canada’s first Black nurse, Bernice Redmon, should be seen as a significant part of Canada’s history, their stories are under-told — Ridley-Padmore’s project endeavors to change that.
It’s been so heartening to watch these creators reach their funding goals and bring their creations into the world. We’re all looking forward to the next batch of rewards as we continue to explore new ways to support Black creators and the crowdfunding community.
We are always looking for new Black-led projects to back through The Creative Fund and feature in BackerKit’s Black Creators Newsletter. If you or someone you know has launched a Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign that would be a good fit, contact us at [email protected]. If you’d like to receive the bimonthly Black Creators Newsletter, sign up for our Community or Crowdfunding Favorites newsletters.