Sometime after 11:00pm on Friday, November 30th, my mom stopped by Sunnyshore Studio where Jenny and I were prepping for the “Christmas in Miniature” show the next day. She announced that we were so close to reaching our goal of 25K pledged in our Kickstarter campaign – just $200 dollars short. The deadline was at 5:29am PST the next morning and she was worried that by now everyone in Indy (EST) was asleep. She said that my dad was ready to write a $100 check to help, and was there any way that we could come over to their house to make a pledge on their behalf (we don’t have wi-fi at the studio). She said she wanted to be able to go to sleep!
Jenny was just about ready to jump in the car with mom when I checked my phone to see where things were at with the Kickstarter campaign. I saw we had just hit the goal of 25K. I sat down on the bed and it began to sink in that we had reached our goal – something that had seemed almost impossible just a few days before.
Jenny congratulated me and then with a smile said, “you have your work cut out for you.”
As I took stock the next morning, I was blown away by the reality of how many people had stood with me, with us, in this project. I had asked people to “stand with me” in telling this inspiring story. I said that I had the creative team of video producers and musicians that could help me tell the story well, but that I didn’t have the fund to pay them for their work. As shared that I needed help, people to stand with me in bringing the project to completion.
And they did. 110 backers, and even a few more who weren’t comfortable using their credit card online and who sent checks. Many of them were old friends from Indy. The IPS community, many who I had collaborated with in working for renewal in IPS, stood with us, as did many Tech alumni. Friends and congregation members from Redeemer Indy stood at my side. The very first pledge, just moments after launching the campaign, was of 1K from a couple who I had walked through a very traumatic season of their life and their gift blew me away and gave me hope, from the very outset, that we might reach our goal. The deacon team at Redeemer Indy also contributed. There were many names of people I did not recognize. And there were anonymous gifts to, including a gift of 5K! My kids stood with me in making pledges to this project, and I was totally blown away by their generosity and support. And then towards the end, it was my new community here in Redmond, friends at Redeemer the church I pastor, and colleagues in the art community on Camano Island that stepped up in big ways even though they were more removed from the place and context of the story.
Many friends shared Kickstarter campaign on social media, and advocated for the project. Their support was so encouraging, and helped us reach the goal even though just a few days before we were hovering around 18K and I didn’t think it was possible!
When I checked the Kickstarter report on Saturday, December 1st, I saw that it was a young couple from the church in Indy who had given to help us reach the goal. They had first given 40$ then bumped it up to $75 then to $275. Maybe they wanted to go to sleep too! I remember doing pre-marital counseling for them, and watching them begin to their life together. I knew that as a younger couple getting their feet under them, this was a very big, a very significant gift. I was humbled and moved deeply by their gift.
In short: feel very loved and supported, and a strong sense of responsibility to tell this inspiring story well. I’m also thrilled that I am going to be able to pay the creative team who will make this story come alive with their music and video production talents.
Finally, as I said on a Facebook post on November 11th, this movie is…
For all the urban schools that struggle with bad press.
For all the urban youth that are told you can’t do this.
For all the urban teachers and coaches whose stories are never told
For Indianapolis Public Schools
For Arsenal Tech High School
We are Family!