Crowdfunding is not a new phenomenon. And neither are microgrants. But put the two together and add a hyperlocal aspect to it and you get HATCH Pittsburgh, a project launched by the Pittsburgh Downtown Community Development Corporation (PDCDC) last spring. With support from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and Highmark, HATCH Pittsburgh aims to provide a platform for crowdfunding creative ideas in the region. The first projects to successfully close their campaigns are Uptown Partners’ Flower Power and 12 Peers Theater’s World Premiere of Cactus.

Hadley Pratt, Hatch Program Manager, is looking forward to providing more creatives with a conduit for funding, “When the PDCDC decided to take Hatch on we knew it had the potential to be a great tool for local communities. There are so many inspirational innovators and idea-makers in Pittsburgh. Hatch is there to provide an extra layer of support so that they can worry less about money and more about accomplishing amazing things for this city.”

Uptown Partners’ Flower Power project will plant sunflowers in an unused lot on Fifth Avenue. The lot, between Jumonville and Gist Streets, is nearly an acre and is in one of the most traveled commuting routes in the city. The project will not only create an attractive landscape project, but the sunflowers will also remediate the soil in the unused lot, making it more amenable to urban gardening. The project raised $1065 of its $2000 goal. HATCH is not an all or nothing platform, unlike Kickstarter, which means Uptown Partners will still be able to access the funds raised towards the project.

12 Peers Theater raised funds for the world premiere of its new production, Cactus, written by Philip Real and directed by Kyle Bostian. Cactus “is a modern take on Romeo and Juliet that introduces vampires to Shakespeare’s tragic classic. Cactus focuses on immigration and features Mexican American vampires causing mayhem at the border, raising questions of family, revolutions, and challenging the status quo.” Cactus premieres on June 27 at The Grey Box Theater in Lawrenceville. For more information and to get tickets, please visit 12 Peers Theater.

Vince Ventura, Artistic Director of 12 Peers Theater credits Hatch Pittsburgh for making the Cactus premiere possible. “Hatch made it possible to not only increase our donor base, but the marketing advantages we got from Pittsburgh Downtown CDC saved us money and effort in our marketing campaign for Cactus,” he says. “We saw a lot of new donors that hadn’t interacted with us before, and we look forward to working with Hatch again. We couldn’t have funded this world premiere play without them.”

HATCH is on its second round of new projects. Visit HATCH Pittsburgh to learn more.

Leah Lizarondo

Leah Lizarondo is a food advocate, writer and speaker. She is also the co-founder of 412 Food Rescue, an organization that seeks to eliminate food waste to make an impact on hunger and the environment....