In Hawaii, Proposed Bill Would Establish First-Of-Its-Kind Civic Crowdfunding Program For School Repairs

Image courtesy http://www.flickr.com/photos/flying_cloud/A bill proposed in Hawaii’s House of Representatives aims to establish a pilot program for civic crowdfunding in the island state.

HB 2631 was introduced on January 23rd of 2014 and its five sponsors include members from both sides of the aisle, continuing a trend of bipartisan support for crowdfunding efforts at the state level. The core goal of the pilot program is to build upon the efforts of an existing state 501(c)(3) organization and drive capital into Hawaii’s educational infrastructure.

The nonprofit is called Hawaii 3R’s. Launched in 2001 by Senator Daniel Inouye, the organization’s mission is to “tackle the approximate $640 million repair and maintenance backlog” currently burdening Hawaii’s public school system.

As the bill is in its nascent stages, there are still a lot of details to be worked out. The project will be executed by Hawaii 3R’s and funds raised will be used specifically to complete one repair or maintenance project at two Hawaii public schools. Those projects would need to be selected. There is also some question as to how the campaign would be carried out, whether that be via a one-off crowdfunding platform or via an existing civic crowdfunding platform like Neighbor.ly or Citizinvestor.

Another aspect of the bill that still needs clarification: a state appropriation for executing the campaign, which will presumably be a topic for upcoming debates on the initiative.

According to the bill’s summary embedded below, Hawaii 3R’s would also match private funds up to $50,000 for each project if the bill stands as written. If passed, it would be the first bill specifically related to civic crowdfunding in the United States.

[h/t Rodrigo Davies @ MIT Civic Media Lab]

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