Bulldog Bites

News and Views from the University of Redlands

Crowdfunding: Helping U of R innovate

Redlands team with Swazi children near a Hospital they rebuilt
University of Redlands students stand with children in Swaziland, where the U of R team rebuilt a hospital during a May Term trip. The trip was made possible by contributions collected via the U of R’s crowdfunding platform, Rfund. (Photo by Carignane von Pohle)

When you hear the term “crowdfunding,” you may think of sites like GoFundMe or Kickstarter. We have all seen projects pop up on our social media feeds, with friends and family asking us to support a cause. But many people in the University of Redlands community may not realize that we have our very own crowdfunding platform!

Rfund is entering its third year and has already generated some great successes for our campus community, including:

  • Supporting students enrolled in the Public Policy May Term class and the Tinker Intern Program in Washington, D.C.
  • Helping students travel to Swaziland to rebuild a hospital during May Term
  • Funding the “Johnston: Race on Campus” May Term course
  • Sending theatre arts students to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe
  • Underwriting trips and equipment for Bulldog Athletics, including headsets for the football team and bio tracking systems for the women’s lacrosse team
  • Building “Deacon,” a bulldog statue, for current and future generations

While we have raised nearly $100,000 for 20 projects over the past three years, our success is measured not just in dollars but also by the connections we create and the accomplishments we make possible. For example, Sera Gearhart ’19 worked with Hall Endowed Chair of Public Policy Greg Thorson and fellow students to create compelling videos and lead efforts to share the Washington, D.C., crowdfunding project on social media. Thanks to their collective work, the team members successfully raised nearly $10,000 from 58 donors to help aspiring Bulldog policymakers experience life inside the Washington, D.C., beltway firsthand.

Crowdfunding is a creative way to raise funds in today’s online world and presents an opportunity to connect with a broad network that might not otherwise hear about a specific need at Redlands. We have welcomed dozens of new donors to the University through these efforts, including friends and family members who felt compelled to contribute because they received an email from a current student or saw the posting on a faculty or staff member’s Facebook page. Some projects have even received support from as far away as England and Hong Kong!

As long as you are working on behalf of an official campus club, department, or organization, Rfund is available to feature your project, and the best part is that 100 percent of the funds you raise go straight to your specific effort!

To get started, simply complete an application to tell us why your project should be featured on Rfund. Once the project is approved, the Annual Giving team will guide you through the process of creating the fundraising appeal, building a potential base for support, and accomplishing your goals. If you are looking for an engaging and fun way to raise support for a U of R project, crowdfunding might be a great option.

It’s exciting for me to play a supporting role in efforts where students, faculty, staff, and other members of our community can achieve their fundraising goals, and this platform helps to create opportunities at the grassroots level that make an impact for our University.

For more information about crowdfunding at the University of Redlands, visit rfund.redlands.edu or contact Carignane von Pohle at carignane_vonpohle@redlands.edu or 909-748-8385.