Kickstart it up a notch.
In a discussion with a friend about Kickstarter, I went and actually looked through things on the site. There are a few things I’d actually like to do, funding being the biggest issue.
I’d like to buy a piece of land in the area, a few acres, and turn it into a free food park. Have everything from tomatoes and squash to berries to fruit trees growing there, and you take what you need. Upkeep (including security, sadly) would be via donations and volunteers. This has been done successfully in a few other places, and with things as they are now I think free access to healthy food would be a boon.
A friend of mine and I were playing with the idea of an outdoor restaurant, set in woods and fields. Decor would be things like medieval and farmhouse tables… set in forest glades, sunlit fields, etc. Wine cellars would be scattered around, meals brought via golf cart (and carefully kept hot/cold, that’s one for my engineering brain), and a central kitchen. The dining experience would be one of a picnic/party in the wilderness, in varying settings (a fairy glade in the woods, flower-strewn butterfly meadow, vineyard, etc); it wouldn’t be cheap, but it would also probably get a lot of weddings and similar booked.
I’m not sure if Kickstarter would do this one, but a fund from which to pay off overdue heat/power bills in certain regions. The initial target region would be of personal interest to me (an area outside of Pittsburgh, PA), but others would be covered. Premise is wait until right before the worst weather of the year (ie, coldest, when heat is needed most), then contact power/heating companies, find out who has their heat shut off (or close to), and bring them back to a balance of +$100. After that they’re on their own, but there are too many people who have to choose between freezing and starving in that weather. (If Kickstarter wouldn’t, I’m taking suggestions for how to set up a Fairy Godmother fund like that.)
A fund to buy holiday (any variety) presents for those families who aren’t officially poverty-level and make just a hint too much to qualify for anything… but who will otherwise have to skip gift-giving (or holiday dinners) because there just isn’t any money. It’s specifically aimed at those who fall between the cracks.
Any of these but the restaurant can succeed with just a few dollars from bored strangers. I just haven’t worked out the budgeting yet, and I have NO idea how to set up a charitable foundation. (Any resources are welcome.)