Some mighty exciting news today from ioby (“in our backyards"), a Kickstarter-esque online fundraising/volunteer-gathering platform that supports community-improving, action-oriented projects all with a hearty dose of environmental do-goodery: Hot on the tails of a successful Earth Day match fundraiser, the organization, once strictly a New York City-centric affair, has been at long last been unrolled nationwide. 


I first blogged about ioby just a little over a year ago as part of my Earth Day 2011 coverage. At the time, the 4-year-old crowdfunding org had relaunched its website out of beta and kicked off the Reimagine Your City campaign. Since then, I’ve blogged about a handful of ioby-supported projects including Lief Percifield’s successfully funded sewage overflow alert system, DontFlushMe, and BK Farmyardsurban chicken-keeping endeavors (one ongoing ioby campaign is to raise funds for BK Farmyards’ series of Chicken Apprenticeship Workshops). So far, with the goal of engaging “Gen X and Gen Y people living in urban centers," ioby has helped to raise over $260,000 for projects similar to the two mentioned above.


According to a press release announcing the expansion, “nearly 250 tons of food waste has been composted, 36 farms and gardens have broken ground or grown, nine bike and recreation days activated, four city streets have been closed to cars and opened for play, 11 food education classes taught, and three CSA farmshares have been expanded” due in part to micro-donations made through ioby’s NYC pilot program. In total, 123 projects have been successfully funded through the org. 


Remarks Irene Nielson, ioby’s Board chair and Climate Change Coordinator at the EPA’s New York City office:


We all know what we need to do to make our neighborhoods better — picking up litter, clearing out a vacant lot, teaching kids about taking care of trees and parks, increasing access to our waterways and trails — ioby makes it easy for environmental leaders to fund their projects, and find new local supporters,. ioby is a tool for people who want to make their neighborhood better, all while doing some good for the earth at the same time.

So what’s in store now that ioby is now supporting projects outside of NYC? Ten diverse-in-scope fundraising campaigns across the country are already up and running including The Flood Way (Corevallis, Ore.), The Unfractured Future (Westchester County, N.Y.), the Homewood Agricultural Project (Pittsburgh, Pa.), Adventures for Kids on the LA River (Los Angeles), PUEBLOTE (San Francisco), the Mill Creek Urban Farm (Philadelphia), Bringing People Together to Save Endangered Salmon (Portland, Ore.), Chain Reaction (Boston), and Test-Learn-Advocate (Buffalo, N.Y.).


A very nice start, indeed. For more, be sure to head on over to the ioby homepage where you can learn more about what exactly this singular organization is all about and discover specific campaigns (I helped to fund this one, based in my own neighborhood, in honor of Earth Day). On Twitter? You can also keep up-to-speed by following the ioby Twitter account. I'd also recommend checking out a great post profiling a few notable NYC-based ioby projects from TreeHugger’s Brian Merchant.


Is there a noteworthy project in your backyard that you’d like to see get the ioby treatment? Click here to find out how you can make it a reality.

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Eco-minded crowdfunding platform now coming to a neighborhood near you
After a successful four-year pilot run helping to raise funds for community-led environmental projects in NYC, online micro-philanthropy platform ioby expands