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Thursday, Sept. 29, 2011 04:59 pm

Helping horses and Kickstarter


Daddy’$ Money, along with Tom Irwin and Royal Pain, performs this Sunday at the Brewhaus, as part of a benefit for Central Illinois Horse Rescue from 4-9:30pm.

Our topics this week discuss giving money to causes. What could be better than that? You don’t necessarily need to answer, just please continue.

Steve Alexander began caring for abandoned horses in 2003 with 31 horses fostered and 27 off to good homes to his credit since. In 2009 he formed the Central Illinois Horse Rescue (www.cilhorserescue.com) nonprofit charity organization to help pay for his big-heartedness by accepting donations to cover the hefty expenses of feed costs and veterinary bills. He’s pretty much the whole operation and pays out of pocket for housing the horses while working full time.

When Bill McKenzie, a local musician and fellow big-hearted soul, heard about Alexander’s involvement in resolving a horrible horse situation in Greene County through an article by SJ-R columnist Dave Bakke last April, he called some friends and organized a benefit. This Sunday, Oct. 2, from 4 to 9:30, me and the Raouligans, Sam Draper with Royal Pain and Daddy’$ Money are entertaining at the Brewhaus, hoping folks show up and donate to Steve’s horse rescue project. There’ll be free food, a silent auction and a 50/50 drawing, sponsored by O’Charley’s, Riverside Stables, Horse Creek Outfitters and Horse Quest Unlimited. The Money for Mares benefit is serious business with no neigh-sayers allowed. This is a chance to raise awareness and cash for a very needy and necessary program involving equity for equines. All right, already, let’s cut out the horsing around and get busy increasing our horse cents. Enough puns, Bill?

Next, here’s a quick plug for me, plus a heads up to artists looking for a way to make those ever-elusive dreams come true. A company called Kickstarter offers a way to raise funds to complete creative projects through pledges and rewards that just makes incredible sense. Here’s how it works: Kickstarter approves an artist’s project, the artist pitches the project by offering rewards to whomever puts money toward the project within a limited time. It happens on Kickstarter.com’s web pages and they take a small percentage of the pledges for providing an international platform for funding possibilities.

In 2009 Rachel Rambach, a local teacher and songwriter, used it to develop her music and kids program, Listen and Learn. Chris Knight, a Chicago-based photographer with family in Chatham, recently raised funds to realize a lifelong dream of photographing the Northern Lights in Alaska. I launched a project two weeks ago to develop Sangamon Songs, my song cycle based on an 1893 diary I found in our family farmhouse. There are hundreds of projects currently on the site and thousands of dollars transferred to fund past and present ideas that otherwise might never reach fruition.

From the perspective of a prideful artist with ideas, but lacking capital, it feels good to not be asking for donations, but offering fun rewards, including the finished project or whatever else the originator concocts. Simply put, this is a palatable way to pre-sell a product to get the necessary cash to complete a project. There are other similar sites out there and artists have long looked for startup costs, but this is a workable and interesting form of providing artistic types with a way to better our world through creativity, and I’m all for that. Please take a look at www.kickstarter.com and help someone out today. If that person is me, look for Tom Irwin and Sangamon Songs. If it’s a filmmaker in Toledo or a songwriter in Austin, a dance troupe in Hoboken or a painter in Portland, that’s just wonderful, too. I think you’ll have fun poking around the site and hopefully some will find it a useful tool in achieving aspirations.

And let’s always keep in mind those in need everywhere.

Contact Tom Irwin at tirwin@illinoistimes.com.

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