The Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center in Seattle, WA was facing a major financial hurdle. They had accrued a seemingly insurmountable debt of more than $280,000 and they needed to find help, fast. Yet instead of turning to the normal member base for help, they decided to go to the Internet where they would attempt to mobilize hundreds of total strangers in an effort to ease their debt.

In obviously dire financial straits, the nonprofit was forced to take drastic action.

Back in September of 2013, it appeared that the center was done for good, but with some shrewd financial maneuvering – which involved significant staff reductions – the center has since balanced its budget and has been given six months to pay back at least half of the debt.
That’s where the Internet comes in. The center started a campaign on the crowdfunding website Indiegogo in an attempt to raise the money that they needed to remain open. “Crowdfunding” describes a method in which organizations and individuals of all types can attempt to raise capital by calling on hundreds or even thousands of people to contribute varying amounts of money.

The center’s goal is to raise $125,000 so that they can keep the center open and continue to serve the Native American community of the Seattle area. “Not having Daybreak Star, not having United Indians would really negatively impact tens of thousands of people,” says Lynette Jordan, family services director at the center in the video for the Indiegogo campaign.

The center provides valuable services to urban Native Americans in the Seattle area, including providing a space for elders to gather, foster services, outreach programs, a youth homeless shelter and programs for inmates.

Now the center is hoping that this innovative new funding method will be the answer to their prayers, and will help alleviate some of their financial burdens so that they can continue providing these valuable services for many years to come.

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