Fall 2016

OU’s new crowdfunding platform connects donors directly to the projects that inspire them

Grow Oakland

Crowdfunding is the latest development in the world of fundraising. It takes a personalized, group approach to traditional fundraising. Simply put, crowdfunding is the practice of fundraising through the collective efforts of a large pool of friends, family and other individuals with an interest in a particular project.

Instead of seeking support from a small pool of wealthy donors, a project leader creates a single place where they can showcase their idea and attract a larger number of small- and medium-sized donations. Crowdfunding has become very popular to support one-time projects. Successful campaigns are often very personal, with project leaders making direct appeals to their friends, family and acquaintances to support their cause.

Grow Oakland is Oakland University’s very own crowdfunding platform that has already successfully funded a number of exciting projects:

  • The Campus Student Organic Farm (CSOF) is a diversified vegetable farm growing more than 35 different types of vegetables, fruits, flowers and herbs. A crowdfunding campaign raised $5,000 to build a hoop house for year-round growing and education.
  • Through a $10,000 Grow Oakland campaign, the OU Brass Band was able to travel to the United Kingdom to compete in the internationally-renowned Butlins Mineworkers Open National Brass Band Festival.
  • Multiple alumni have utilized OU crowdfunding campaigns to complete memorial scholarships to honor a loved one.
  • Alumni, students, employees and friends of Oakland University can propose their own Grow Oakland projects though an online application. Staff will work with project leaders to create a plan and a personalized crowdfunding page so that project leaders can concentrate on spreading the word and running a successful campaign.
  • All gifts made to Grow Oakland crowdfunding projects are processed by Oakland University and donors will receive a tax receipt from the University for any gift they make. Unlike many other crowdfunding platforms, Grow Oakland does not take a percentage of each donation — 100 percent of all funds donated will go to the designated fund for the project, even if the goal is not reached.
  • Grow Oakland is continuously adding new and exciting projects. To learn more about Grow Oakland, support current projects or propose your own project, visit or contact OU Annual Giving staff at (248) 370-4504.