Crowdfunding Helps Focus On Family

By Alysee Shelton
Duluth News Tribune

Nikki Bollman, 30, has a strong passion for writing stories about magic and dragons.

Now, with the help of the Internet and maybe a few hundred online strangers, she’s trying to turn that skill into a way of paying for her six-week maternity leave.

Bollman’s job as a full-time preschool teacher at Happy Time Day Care Center in Duluth does not offer her a paid maternity leave.

She loves the work, but she worried that her growing family would be strapped financially without the added income.

“I have worked at the center for a year and a half,” Bollman said. “It is such a good place and I love it. However, they aren’t required to pay me during my maternity leave.”

That’s when Bollman, who was due July 29, and her husband, Chris Bollman, 27, decided to create a “crowdfunding” campaign online to raise money to cover her maternity leave.

The campaign began July 21, and the Bollmans have raised $415 from family, friends and strangers.

“It is our first time doing something like this,” Chris Bollman said. “It wasn’t something that immediately came to our mind, but sure enough, someone brought it to our attention and we thought it was a good idea, so we started a campaign.”

“It’s crazy,” Nikki Bollman said of the amount raised so far. “I wasn’t expecting to get this much in such a short amount of time.”

Crowdfunding — also called “crowdsourcing” — is a way for people to seek money to pay for a particular project.

Individuals who donate money can receive rewards or perks. In recent years, crowdfunding has seen rapid growth.

People have funded everything from home mortgage loans to launching music projects and comic books. Some of the more well-known examples include the site Kickstarter, and the successful project to turn the canceled television series “Veronica Mars” into a full-length movie.

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