Bright Ideas: Helping Elementz reach out to urban youth, expanding a community café

CINCINNATI - The Cincinnati area is rich in creativity and bright ideas. Many artists, community activists and entrepreneurs are ready to run with projects and programs, and they’re turning to crowdfunding sites to fuel their ideas.

Each week, we’ll highlight two projects that are underway and asking for your support.

Project: Double the LOVE for Elementz

 

  • Platform: GoFundMe.com
  • Started: March 1, 2014
  • Goal: $3,100
  • Project By:  Fred Neurohr

After the sudden passing of his mother in November 2012, Fred Neurohr and his wife decided to issue a matching grant fund, initially beginning as a memorial set up at Fifth Third Bank. Eventually, the funds took on a specific purpose: to support children’s involvement in arts and music, two causes Neurohr’s mother strongly supported. For Neurohr there was no better match than Elementz.

 

 

Elementz may be listed as a hip hop and youth arts center, but its purpose runs much deeper. Founded after the Cincinnati riots as a safe place for kids to go in the West End and Over-the-Rhine neighborhoods, kids began to create their own programming around the "elements" of hip hop (dance, deejaying, emceeing, visual arts, etc.). Instructors at Elementz also work to bridge the gaps in the lives of the youths, forging unlikely friendships and teaching respect and appreciation for the community. Fred Neurohr’s matching grant will allow the children to continue their adventure in life and to continue their amazing expression of self through art in the community.

Where will the money go?

If funded, money will go to replace failing deejay equipment and update hardware and software in the studios where young people are taught skills such as video editing and audio engineering.  The funds also will help to pay for the dance team, “”The GREAT Studio Kre8v” to travel to Las Vegas for an international team dance competition.

Neurohr said one of the goals this year is to increase the budget in order to take advantage of an increasing number of collaborative and creative opportunities for young people. He said the success of the project also will allow for broader-based instruction at the Elementz center which is located at 1100 Race St. across from SCPA.

Why should people support Double the LOVE for Elementz?

Fred Neurohr says: “We're a registered 501(c)(3), and an enduring, vital presence in the community. We find ourselves a legitimate urban arts institute, made up of dynamic, beautiful, talented young people who continuously share their talents with the community.  In the past few months alone, Elementz artists enjoyed creative collaborations with the CSO (the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra), the Cincinnati Boy Choir, and Temple Shalom.”

Days until this project closes: 19

Project: The Expansion = Troy’s Café #2

  • Platform: Kickstarter.com
  • Started: March 17, 2014
  • Goal: $10,000
  • Project By: Troy Meyers

Like so many Cincinnatians, Troy Meyers is no stranger to the struggling economy. In 2007, after serving as a successful chef at a local restaurant, Meyers found himself jobless just two weeks before Thanksgiving. He felt the stress of knowing there were Christmas presents still to be bought, bills to be paid and meals to put on the table. He also concluded the only way to do it was to do it himself. For a year, Meyers catered private parties. His jobs won rave reviews and eventually led to more opportunities. By 2009, Meyers had signed the lease on the original Troy’s Café in West Chester, Ohio where he brought his fusion of fresh food, casual dining and friendly service out of homes and into a neighborhood establishment.

 

 

After nearly five years in his original location, Meyers has decided to expand to a second location in Mason, Ohio. Meyers said he chose to fund through Kickstarter because he felt it was a great way to involve the community. Meyers said connecting with others is what he and Troy’s Café is all about.

Where will the money go? 

If funded, the money will pay for hiring, training, payroll expenses and the initial cost of inventory. 

Meyers plans to unite with the community of Mason, much like he has in West Chester. He said his involvement in the West Chester Community Foundation inspired him to set up a scholarship fund to help culinary students pursue their passion. He said he hopes to continue that funding tradition in his new location as well.

Why should people support The Expansion = Troy’s Café #2?

Troy Meyers says: “The rewards are great but I think it goes deeper than that.  The project is really based on a local company trying to expand and I think people can relate to the local guy trying to do it right.”

Days until this project closes: 5
 

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