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Pilot project to provide online platform for student fundraising

April 16, 2013

ASU among 1st universities to launch crowdfunding platform

An exciting announcement was made April 16 at the Education Innovation Summit, taking place this week at ASU SkySong; USEED, a new startup dedicated to crowdfunding in higher education, has launched an innovative pilot project with the ASU Foundation for A New American University designed to empower students, engage donors and cultivate a culture of philanthropy driven by front-line student fundraisers.

Using the platform powered by USEED, the ASU Foundation will provide students the ability to raise the extra funds they need to gain real-world learning experiences outside the classroom, such as serving abroad, starting a company, or creating a technology or work of art.

The pilot program reflects Arizona State University's commitment to innovation in its operations and makes it one of three universities, including Cornell University and the University of Virginia, to participate in the Beta roll-out of USEED, a crowdfunding platform that is uniquely tailored to the needs of higher education institutions.

"As a part of our vision of a new American university, ASU is committed to immersing students in the principles of entrepreneurship, and the foundation seeks to build a culture of philanthropy on campus," said ASU Foundation CEO R.F. "Rick" Shangraw Jr. "By equipping students to create online fundraising campaigns and leverage their social networks, we will be furthering both goals. Students learn to pitch their ideas, network and motivate teams of people to help make their projects a reality. They also learn the value of philanthropy in making a difference in the world."

Among the first universities to launch a crowdfunding platform, ASU is getting ahead of a growing trend. Gartner Research forecasts crowdfunding platforms will raise $6.2 billion in 2013.

Drawing on ASU's strengths in social media and analytics, the ASU Foundation is launching an initial pilot of four crowdfunding campaigns this month in order to gain information about how best to deploy the platform on a broader scale. Soon students will be able to apply directly to the foundation to run crowdfunding campaigns, which will go through the foundation's own secure fundraising infrastructure.

"ASU's culture of innovation is evident in the way the foundation has embraced our technology," said Brian Sowards, founder and CEO of USEED. "This is an opportunity to re-imagine a meaningful giving experience for donors and advance the education of students in today's digital age.

"With the foundation's USEED platform, ASU alumni and friends can hear directly from students about what they're passionate about, contribute to the lives of those students and see concretely the impact of their gifts. Students win by gaining skills and knowledge not just through the projects they fund, but also through the process of fundraising."

The fourth annual Education Innovation Summit at ASU has been called "the can't-miss education innovation event" by Michael Horn of Forbes magazine. The summit is a dynamic, three-day convergence of nearly 1,000 industry leaders, visionaries, entrepreneurs, investors and activists who are truly passionate about education.

Media contacts:

Brian Sowards,

Melissa Bordow,
ASU communications specialist