Innovation Fund 2017: Passion Over Pay

The 2017 Innovation Fund, our annual crowdfunding competition, has officially launched! You can find all of the Innovation Fund participants here. Read on for the story of Passion Over Pay, the book that highlights individuals working on passion projects that benefit others, created by Mark Bennett ’15.

Creating Passion Over Pay

Matthew Lichtash works full time as an environmental consultant in New York City and has spent five years working on climate policy research, carbon accounting, and climate communications. He has degrees in Economics and Environmental Studies, and he’s published work in U.S. News and World Report and The Energy Collective. In his spare time, Matt runs The Carbon Capital, a free website and newsletter that synthesizes climate change concepts into three bullet points or fewer. The sheer scale and breadth of the climate change threat can seem complex; The Carbon Capital communicates key information that helps people take actionable steps towards solving the climate crisis.

Needless to say, Matt is awesome. One problem—not nearly enough people know about The Carbon Capital. On a planet where millions of people are worried about climate change and wish to be better-equipped to take action, more people should be exposed to Matt’s work.

This is the motivation behind Passion Over Pay. We want to do for Matt, and others like him, what Matt is doing for environmentally conscious people everywhere—giving free help for a great cause. Passion Over Pay is a campaign to highlight individuals working on passion projects that benefit others. We want to help promote the initiatives that exist to be helpful. Initiatives that, if given a little more attention and recognition, could benefit countless others who would discover them for the first time.

How it works

The campaign is centered around a crowdfunded book featuring interviews with artists, programmers, makers, and other contributors like Matt that provide value to people. Our interviews will surface the motivations that drive these projects, stories and lessons from how they got started, and the challenges of balancing these passion projects with other commitments.

Additionally, we are using the campaign as an opportunity for anyone to be involved with nominating projects that they feel are worthy of more attention. Our requirements for projects are simple — the project should not be anyone’s full-time commitment, and it should provide a clear value to others.

In our society that glamorizes the sharing economy and peer-to-peer services, passion projects are overshadowed by flashy startups and competitive for-profit businesses. We want to bring attention to the independent initiatives — both to give their creators some well-deserved recognition, and to help them spread the word.

How to get involved

If this resonates with you, head over to our Indiegogo campaign and help us identify incredible projects to support. A huge thank you to everyone who has contributed and been involved thus far. We’ve been humbled by the early response to the campaign, and couldn’t be more excited to keep the ball rolling. Many thanks!

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