Superman’s Hospital Tour

Wouldn’t it be nice if play and passion were a part of your daily work? That is the way that Dustin Dorough is approaching his indiegogo campaign.

Dorough proposes to travel to 48 US States and two Canadian provinces (about 15,000 miles in 100 days) dressed as Superman to cheer up young patients. He’s prepared packets with pictures, autographs, certificates of heroism and will pose majestically for photos. Basically, he needs to fund the food, gas, and lodging costs through his Indiegogo campaign. He’s also crowdsourcing some couchsurfing opportunities on his Facebook page.

There are lots of pet projects out there. Even decent charitable ones. But I’ll tell you why this one had me pause and click through to a donation. Apart from the fact that this project really is asking for the bare minimum of funding ($6,500 for all expenses for a 100 day tour of the U.S. and Canada? I almost suspect that Dorough is shaving it a little thin here.) Apart from the fact that it’s a charming goodwill tour with a whimsical nature (one of my favorite things to get behind – being able to say “hey, it’s for the kids.”) Apart from all that, I think one of the distinguishing features of this project is Dorough’s passion that really comes through.

Take this statement, for example. Dorough writes that even “if I DON’T meet the fundraising goal, then the trip will just have to be shorter. I’m visiting as many children’s hospitals as I can with however much I’m able to raise, no matter how long or short the journey may be.” To say nothing of taking all that time off or how much it costs him personally.

As someone who has spent a fair amount of time in the arts nonprofit sector, commitment like that is refreshing. You see musicians who won’t compose without their dream piano or shows that won’t go up unless they get the perfect venue, but the artists that always made me pause were the ones that would roll their piano out onto the street and sing for you, because they believed in it and were good at it, regardless of the funding they received. And I’d like to think that these passionate producers of quality content will find their funding foothold at some point. Those folks always got creative – adapted to a new venue, found a new sound.

This, I suppose breaks into a larger discussion of whether or not the money follows the talent and the passion, or merely the popular. And I think that the answer, in reality, is “both.” Sometimes it only follows those people with the best network, but sometimes we make space for things that are truly great, because we are capable of recognizing it. The nice thing about crowdfunding is that it also allows for both: the organic recognition of true talent and the up-leveling of work that has done its networking leg-work.

But for Dorough, I know that he’ll be dressing up like Superman and using that passion for the forces of good no matter how much I give, so I might as well help him on his way.

What do you think? Do you think crowdfunding empowers us to recognize what is truly great or simply what is truly popular?

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