Help Biofortified raise $2012 for 2012!

Biofortified has recently reached three years of age, and we’ve had a lot of fun blogging about plant genetics in this time. We’ve talked about genetic engineering, plant breeding, organic agriculture, legal and social issues, food, and general science. Everyone has been learning new things, and sharing what they know, and discussion has been better than ever before. We even had one discussion pass 500 comments! We’re looking forward to doing a lot more of this, and including more people and perspectives in these discussions. But as we approach the end of the year, we have come to realize that we need to raise money to keep doing what we do, and especially if we plan to do more.

Money Matters

In 2009, due to an outpouring of support from the science blogging community and from our readers for what we’re trying to do, we won a contest that provided our blog with a $1,500 grant that helped us revamp the site, pay for hosting and purchase prizes to build a community of readers, and get some more diverse content on the blog. Now, after two years our grant is running out and we are going to need more funds to continue to keep our blog community going strong, and expand it with some more projects.

First, our expenses have mainly been spent on Promotion (prizes, posters, shipping), hosting costs (server, domains, photo album), conference reporting (gas, train, cheap motel), and site development (graphic design, plugins). Here is a visual breakdown of what proportion we have spent on each area. For those who are new to Biofortified – those who write here do so as volunteers, so our funds do not go to pay for what is written on the blog.

You no doubt may have noticed a section for Transcription in the above pie chart. That’s because we have hired a student who is writing some excellent transcripts of audio and video interviews we’ve done that I will post on the blog in the next couple days. This will make it easier for people to read, reference, and check back on these interviews. We would like to continue to make these transcripts available, and in fact, some will be absolutely necessary. I have a really good 2-hour phone interview I conducted earlier this year that will need to be transcribed before I can do something with it.

Another major expense that we would like to be able to make is to commission artwork. Communicating science depends as much on art as it does science, and we’ve got some great artists on call who can make us some killer graphics for improving the look of the site, for videos, and informational pages. An artist can also help us realize an attractive and thought-provoking T-shirt design for the blog.

And let’s not forget our long-term project of cataloging and summarizing all existing research on the relative risks of genetic engineering, a project we call GENERA. This will take a significant amount of money, which we do not expect to be able to gather this time around. But there is something we can do which will make funding that project possible: tax exemption.

As a science education and discussion organization, we would qualify for tax-exemption, and we would do it if we had the money for the filing fees. Not only would it make it possible for future donors to deduct their donations, it would also open up more opportunities to continue and expand our projects because we would be eligible to apply for grants from many charities and nonprofit trusts that require tax-exemption. Being exempt also carries more reporting and transparency responsibilities, but we plan to go further with yearly financial reports published on the blog.

From now until mid-January, we will talk a bit about how reaching our funding goal of $2012 for 2012 will be able to help us do the things I mentioned above and more, and how important this is.

How you can help

There are several ways that you can help us reach our goal. The first is you could give a donation through our PayPal account by clicking this button here or in the sidebar:





Any amount is great and welcome. If you would like to get some idea what your donation can help us do, here are some suggested amounts:

  • $5 will buy a big spool of thread for embroidering tote bags.
  • $10 will get a prize sent to a community contest winner.
  • $20 will send Frank N. Foode™ on a plant-based adventure chronicled in our photo album.
  • $35 will pay for one month of hosting costs for the blog and photo album.
  • $50 will pay for a transcript of a normal interview.
  • $100 will allow us to travel to and report on a conference.
  • $150 will pay for some graphic art to be commissioned for the blog or for video projects.
  • $200 will pay for the transcription of an in-depth interview.
  • $400 will pay the application fee for tax-exempt status.

Paypal takes a small cut of each donation (2.5%), so if you want to minimize this impact on your donation and send it by check, please contact us for an address to send it to.

If you choose to make a direct donation, let us know if you would like to be acknowledged by name – we would love to tell the world how you have helped us, but if you wish to remain anonymous we respect that – and we will thank you by email. (Also, just a friendly reminder – our policy is not to accept direct funding from for-profit corporations.)

Never miss a planting date with Frank!

If you want to contribute, but would like to get something for your donation, there is another way you can help out. As Anastasia reported, we have a Zazzle store with many fabulous pieces of merchandise such as blog mugs, clothing, ornaments, a mousepad, and even a Frank N. Foode™ 2012 Calendar as well! 25% of sale prices will go directly to Biofortified.

Are you not in a position where you could donate money, but would still like to help us reach our goal? Please consider promoting our fundraising drive to your friends, family, contacts, exercise partners, in your smoke-filled rooms, your social networks, and your underground food pantry co-ops. We have all kinds of nifty promotion buttons below the post for social media, email, and heck, PDFs and printing which you can use to help spread the word. How ever you help out, you can brag about it in the comments of this post and get accolades from everyone! Tell everyone on your own blog and dare your readers to do better. Be creative!

Because we will. Frank will keep you posted on our progress in the sidebar with a color-changing corn plant, so you can see how far along we are. As a matter of fact, we’re already off to a great start. We have gotten some sales in our Zazzle Store, as well as a sudden surge of support through individual donations. As of today, I’m pleased to report that we have already raised $871.19! We are two fifths of the way there! Thanks to everyone who has helped us out so far.

Let’s make 2012 be a banner year for Biofortified, and help us raise $2012 to make it happen. Only $1140.81 left to go!
Thank you for considering supporting what we do here at Biofortified. I hope you are having a great Holiday Season and that we all have a fantastic and fruitful New Year.

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Karl earned his Ph.D. in Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics at UW-Madison, with a minor in Life Science Communication. His dissertation was on both the genetics of sweet corn and plant genetics outreach. He currently works as a Post Doctoral Research Associate for the USDA in Madison, WI. His favorite produce might just be squash.


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