Crowdfunding, Community, and Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

Very few people care as much about community and art as much as Laura and Caleb Chancey do. They started a music venue to spotlight local musicians and to bring acts they love to Birmingham. Laura spent so much time baking and delivering delicious treats to pretty much everyone she knew that the project turned into a pie-delivery microbusiness. Caleb’s a photographer who takes the time to turn each subject into a work of art (check out his work — it’s incredible). They have three small kids, but I’ve never seen them use that as an excuse to treat other people poorly: They always take time for others, always stand up for community projects, always treat other people with genuine interest and compassion.


Case in point: Caleb was the very first person to support the Kickstarter for my book. I mentioned the project while we were both ordering coffee at Church Street and, by the time I’d made my way back to my seat (approximately five feet away), he’d already given a generous donation — and then he promoted it on social media so other people would back it, too. On a morning when I was terrified that no one would back my project, that no one would support me and that I’d come out looking stupid, Caleb believed in me.


So when I heard that his band, War Jacket, was crowdfunding their new record, I knew I wanted to back it — partly because I genuinely enjoy their music, but partly because I knew Caleb and Laura would do it for me (because they did), and because they’d do it for any project they believe in.


When Morgan and I were meeting to plan our Localist Bham Birthday Bash, the subject of War Jacket’s record came up, and we realized that we could afford a house show as a reward if we combined our support. One quick email later to ask War Jacket if they’d deliver a “house show” at Carrigan’s (they said yes), and we got music for our party. Plus, we got to be a part of making a great record, which is a pretty sweet birthday gift if you ask me.


I’ll be honest — paying for a house show, even though I split the cost with Morgan, was tough for me. Pretty much every cent I have is going back into book promotion and my train tour, and I’m nervous about the possibility of not having enough. But it’s important to support projects like this, especially when the work is good (this is) and when the people involved work so hard to support the community and work tirelessly to help other people. I don’t know anything about the Chanceys’ finances, but I do know they have three kids, and that probably means they’re on a tight budget — but they still supported my art without hesitation. I’m happy to have the chance to that for them, and I hope you’ll do the same.


Go here to check out War Jacket’s project page, and please support their record. It’s a chance to be a part of something special. It’s a chance to help good people make good art. Localism is all about understanding that our money has meaning and making sure it supports causes and people we believe in — rarely do we get a chance to give to causes as directly as we do through crowdfunding. And rarely do we find people who are worth believing in as much as the Chanceys.

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