This summer social entrepreneurs, visionaries, teachers, philanthropreneurs, and business leaders will gather at Omega to share insights on success, failure, practical business tools, and how to create a crowdfunding project—the process of funding a new venture by raising money from a large number of people, usually from the Internet.
Attendees will implement a group crowdfunding project, leveraging the power of the conference and social media to raise funds to rebuild the impoverished Esperanza School in Costa Rica.
“We want to expose people to the opportunities of how to be an evolutionary visionary, from setting the intentions, to gathering the tools, opening the heart, and jumping into the game of life with both feet. Being a social visionary is, as Kundalini Yoga master Yogi Bhajan said, 'Recognizing the other person is you,'” says Shivanter Singh, a certified Kundalini Yoga teacher, health counselor, and one of the conference speakers.
The Esperanza School serves kids in kindergarten through sixth grade. It is located next to a dusty, busy road and close to a river that often gets contaminated by raw sewage. The school suffered damage during the earthquake in 2011, leaving the kitchen and many parts of the school nonfunctional. The building has only four classrooms for 118 students, and in December about 20 computers were stolen from the school.
Local organizations in Costa Rica have stepped in to help, already raising more than $17,000 for the Esperanza School Project. Additional funds will help the school to purchase new land and build a new structure within the next year. There are also plans to build a recycling center, garden, and playground for the school.
The Social Visionaries Conference is a key part of the fundraising efforts.
“Those in attendance will not only be inspired to make a change in the world we live in, they will also get the opportunity to join or create a team for the Esperanza School Project,” said Stacy Seebart, one of the managers of the Project. “They will gather with like-minded beings that not only see this as a necessary effort, but one worth time and effort. Each team will outreach to their tribe, family, and friends and it will keep spreading!”
In the start-up business world, crowdfunding is not only a great way to fund innovative businesses, but also support important charitable work. According to research, it has created at least 270,000 jobs and put more than $65 billion into the global economy.
“To quote Chip Conley, founder of Airbnb, 'It’s time to come down from the mountain to the marketplace.’" Singh said. “It's time to look at how we integrate these incredible spiritual teachings into a real world format. It’s not about sitting in a cave; it’s about getting onto the streets. We can no longer just go to our yoga class and be concerned about how good we look in our asana. It’s time to get off the mat and change the world.”
© 2015 Omega Institute for Holistic Studies