Island Lake officials may use crowdfunding to pay for community events

  • Island Lake officials are considering using the GoFundMe crowdfunding platform to raise money for projects and events in the village.

    Island Lake officials are considering using the GoFundMe crowdfunding platform to raise money for projects and events in the village. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer 2011

Updated 10/28/2016 1:20 PM

Crowdfunding websites have been used to raise money to manufacture board games, create music, pay for medical procedures and even get a 97-year-old Cubs fan to a World Series game at Wrigley Field.

Now, Island Lake officials are considering launching a GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign to pay for the town's annual fireworks show, concerts and other community events.


The village already runs traditional fundraisers for such activities. Officials believe a crowdfunding campaign could reach a larger pool of potential donors.

"We're not groveling for money," Trustee Mark Beeson said. "We're just looking for an alternative revenue source."

Island Lake officials have relied on the public to fund the fireworks show for several years. This year, it cost $19,000.

Island Lake also hosts monthly summer concerts, a family picnic, a fall festival and other events that are free for people to attend but cost money to organize.

Local residents and business owners "have been very generous" when it comes to fundraising, Village Clerk Georgine Cooper said. In the past, the village has held dinners and bowling events as fundraisers.

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Using a crowdfunding platform like GoFundMe could be a good way to continuously raise revenue, Beeson said. And the more dough the town raises, the more public events it can afford to stage.

Expanding the monthly summertime concert schedule at Veterans Park would be one option, Beeson said.

"Wouldn't it be great if we raised more money than expected and we could have concerts in the park on the second and fourth Friday of the month?" he said.

GoFundMe has raised more than $3 billion for a variety of causes since launching in 2010. A percentage of donations are deducted by GoFundMe and the online payment service it uses in the United States, WePay.

The most common GoFundMe category is medical, GoFundMe spokesman Bart Jackson said. It's rare for government agencies to use GoFundMe for public projects, he said.


In the Chicago area, South Elgin officials used GoFundMe to pay for a new playground in 2015. Elsewhere, GoFundMe has been used to purchase body armor for a police dog in Oklahoma, to fund a dog park in West Virginia and to pay for a California community's Independence Day fireworks show.

Island Lake trustees discussed the GoFundMe option during a meeting at village hall Thursday night, and they're going to investigate further.

The board could approve the plan Nov. 10.

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