Crowdfunding Brooklyn Castle

I blogged about this a couple weeks ago so this topic will be fresh in the minds of the AVC crowd. I am super excited about this.

There is a documentary about a chess team in the IS 318 middle school in Brooklyn. The film is called Brooklyn Castle and here's the trailer. Please take 2 1/2 mins to watch this right now.

Brooklyn Castle Trailer from BrooklynCastle on Vimeo.

I'd actually suggest taking an evening and watching the movie. You can stream it on Netflix.

So here's the deal. This chess program at IS 318 takes three big trips a year to state and national tournaments, they have a full time faculty advisor, they study at the Marshall Chess Club, and they have a bunch of training materials they use every year. It's an expensive operation but it produces results. They are the NY Yankees of middle school chess teams. They turn kids from the streets of NYC into chess masters. And I do not think you can put a price on that.

The program was at one time funded by the school system. But budget cuts in the past five years have cut away that funding and the program has been kept alive in recent years by the generosity of a few big donors.

I saw the movie and read about the cuts and thought "this is what crowdfunding was made for" and through my friend Maureen contacted John Galvin, the Assistant Principal of IS 318 and a central figure in the film. I suggested to John that we do a DonorsChoose project to crowdfund Brooklyn Castle. He agreed, and so we went to the awesome DonorsChoose team who got to work and got the project up at the end of last week.

The project page is live here. It outlines exactly what we are funding. DonorsChoose's systems and processes make sure that the funds we raise will go to exactly these things. That is one of the many awesome things about DonorsChoose.

The Gotham Gal and I are doing a match for the first $10,000 of donations that come from the AVC community. If you want us to match your donation, please use this link to make it.

In addition to the AVC community, I have lined up a number of well known supporters who either have or are going to get behind this project. I am very confident we will get Brooklyn Castle funded on DonorsChoose. But I would very much like to see the AVC community get behind this project along with me and the Gotham Gal.