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MySocialGoodNews is dedicated to sharing news about
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Crowdfunding for Social Good

Devin D. Thorpe

Devin Thorpe

D.C. Tragedy Reveals Link Between Social PR and Social Awareness

The shooting of an 8-year old girl shows how entrepreneurial tools and crowdfunding can successfully be used for social good, even on a small scale

New York, NY, February 20, 2014 – On Valentine’s Day, 8-year old third-grader Makayla Darden was shot in the chest while leaving her aunt’s house. A crowdfunding campaign, which is being driven heavily by “Social PR” [a combination of social media and PR] has been started to help Makayla and her family as they raise funds to cover the expense of relocating. Makayla is now in critical but stable condition.

Together, Rebekah Marler, founder of Leveraged School Solutions and, Patty Lennon, founder of Crowdfund with Ease, and Donna Cravotta, founder of Social Sage PR, have used a combination of crowd funding and Cravotta’s own “Social PR” strategies to raise thousands of dollars in support of Makayla Darden and her family, as she recovers from gunshot wounds in the ICU.

As of February 20th, efforts on had raised over $5000 [with a goal of $10,000 and beyond] for the Darden family, 100% of which will be used to fund Makayla’s healing and recovery. Fund raising efforts are being led by the Imagine Southeast (ISE) Public Charter School Family, where Makayla has attended since kindergarten, and where Rebekah Marler is working as a consultant.

“Prayers and personal support … no doubt everyone appreciates that. But savvy people who know how to help above and beyond putting donations in the jar is incredible. I’ve been in education 20 years, and it’s amazing the way people mobilize to support. The fact that we, can connect to the outside, to the bigger world, finding people who care about what happens to these kids is mind blowing,” says Rebekah Marler. “We can go above and beyond the four walls of the school.”

You see, in October, Rebekah experienced the shooting of another young student, in Florida. But that time she didn’t have the resources to act beyond her own personal offers of care and support. So what changed? Social PR, in short.

Rebekah was one of the first people to sign-up for Donna Cravotta’s Social PR program, The Total Social PR System™, something Rebekah hoped would drive her two educator and leadership support organizations. But, she was not yet ready to do the work, placing it on the back burner. Recently, however, she was attracted to a webinar Donna offered to members on the subject of crowdfunding. The webinar was led by guest speaker Patty Lennon, founder of Crowdfund with Ease. Marler and Lennon connected, though neither could know at the time how important this would prove to be.

When Makayla was shot, Marler wasn’t paralyzed by her sadness or how huge the situation felt. Instead, by the following morning, Marler was working with others in her school network to launch Makayla’s crowdfunding campaign, which has been heavily promoted and shared via the Internet and social media using, techniques from Donna Cravotta’s Total Social PR System™ and through her tight but expansive network of devoted and active social PR followers, including the 100+ co-members of the program.

Makayla’s mother, a CVS employee, has not been able to work while her daughter is in the hospital. She is also very clear that she does not want to bring her child home from the hospital to live in the location of the shooting. The financial burden is huge, on top of the emotional stress she and her family are experiencing. It isn’t a burden that her community can solve on its own.

“That’s the beauty of crowdfunding. The kids can see their small donations start to grow,” says Marler, of Makayla’s fellow students.
Social Sage PR clients are primarily entrepreneurs and small business owners who desire to take ownership of their PR and social media, through a compelling, practical and actionable program, with great success, in terms of business growth, brand awarenessand financial growth.

Through the power of community, and as a testament to the power of networking and the Internet, Makayla’s story has proven how social PR can serve legitimate social change, not just drum up business.

“Such a spider web that is built by open and honest communication amongst the right people,” says Donna Cravotta. “The Internet, when used correctly, is a very, very powerful tool, and an effective way to spread social good.”

Two men, Karie Brown, 19, and Nathaniel Patten, 21, have been charged with assault with intent to kill while armed, aggravated assault while armed and unlawful possession of a firearm, in connection with Makayla Darden’s shooting.


About Donna Cravotta

Donna Cravotta, the “Social Sage”, has pioneered the link between public relations and social media. Founded in 2006, Social Sage PR was born when Donna began to repeatedly see connections between public relations and social media, and that it simply isn’t always best to hand a company’s PR over to a firm. Donna developed the Total Social PR System™ as a program for business owners, entrepreneurs, authors, speakers and thought leaders to learn how to attract clients and to create, manage and maintain their own public relations and media connections through social media and ownership of their PR and their brand in just a few minutes a day.

About Rebekah Marler

Rebekah Marler is a self-leadership and learning expert who left a 16 year career in public education to create a movement that helps the disheartened, visionary educators she loves discover how to transform education from the inside out.

About Patty Lennon

Patty Lennon plunged headfirst into the world of crowdfunding in 2012, when she decided to go outside the sponsor world to raise $45,000 for her Mom Gets A Business Conference through crowdfunding. A former VP at a global bank and business coach, she quickly unlocked the formula to successful crowdfunding and now offers crowdfunding coaching to private and DIY clients.

Media Contact:

Donna Cravotta
P.O. Box 134
Bedford Hills, NY 10507

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