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Updated: 07/09/2013 7:27 AM
Created: 07/08/2013 5:03 PM KSTP.com | Print |  Email
By: Katherine Johnson

New Website Helps People in Need Get Back on their Feet

A new website similar to kickstarter.com is using crowd funding to help people, not products, get off the ground.

Eighty-two-year-old Bill Nordin knows the value of his belongings and the value of a hard days work.

"I would give anything right now if I could go back to work," said Nordin.

But the Navy veteran doesn't get around that easily anymore. Nordin rarely leaves his home and up until a few months ago it wasn't safe to be there, either.

"The whole house is dangerous to me," he said. "I would trip over nails..."

Thanks to the non-profit Rebuilding Together, Nordin has a brand new kitchen floor and the mold has been removed from his walls.  

"That felt so good!" he said. "Especially that floor!"

But the non-profit ran out of money before they could finish the job.

"Our need for help and funding grows all the time," said Kathy Greiner with Rebuilding Together.

That's where barnraisings.com comes in.

"I wanted to emulate the spirit of a traditional amish barn raising where neighborhoods would come together to help someone in need," said founder Jim Rettew.

Rettew launched the website to inspire donors to fund projects like Nordin's through small individual donations.

"Bill is a navy vet.  He deserves to grow old gracefully in his home," said Rettew.

It's the same crowd-funding business model as Kickstarter only the pledges go towards people instead of products.

"Donors want a more meaningful, direct connection to the people they're helping," said Rettew.  They want to know who they're helping and how their money is being used."

And Nordin can feel at home once again.

"Thank you," he said. "Thank you in as many different languages as I can possibly think of."

The business model is just like kickstarter.com which means if that individual fund raising goal isn't met by the deadline, donors get their pledges back and the project is cancelled.  All donations are tax deductible. 


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