Photo by Geoff Duncan

Perusing through Kickstarter is probably one of the best ways to catch a glimpse into the future. Because this invention launchpad is accessible to anyone gutsy enough to bring their idea to life, the middle schooler to the biophysicist have equal opportunities to solve problems on the local and global scale. Kickstarter has broken down the barriers to becoming a changemaker. With enough passion and a compelling story, one person can rally a community together to solve any issue. We no longer have to apply for grants or wait for elected officials to approve our ideas. We can go directly to the people and ask them what they need and how we can help. Crowdfunding with change in mind is a powerful thing.

Below is a list of 5 projects kickstarting a better future.

Honestly, I can’t wait for this app to launch! For three years, a team of twelve college students, led by two die-hard volunteers developed an app that integrates your calendar and location to connect you with volunteer opportunities that align with your skills and schedule. Volunteering today is not always easy to navigate, but with this app, you’ll have no excuses! Hats off to team Giventure for changing how we give back because they believe a community that volunteers is a happier one.

The refugee crisis is a conversation that spins in all different directions as countries continue to rack their brains on how to handle. Wherever you stand on the issue, we can’t forget that these are people who created livelihoods as skilled workers, from chefs to business owners and many would be an asset to any community. The Refugee Company saw an opportunity to help by connecting refugees in the Netherlands with Dutch companies. This Kickstarter is a collaboration between the Denim City Workshop and The Refugee Company to help a highly skilled tailor use a sewing machine once again after living at an Amsterdam emergency shelter. Looking for a new tuxedo? Mr. Kahled can help.

8 Million Metric Tons enters the ocean yearly and 80% of that originates from land-based sources. Luckily, these two guys, the founders of Norton Point are helping to change those stats by collecting sea plastics and turning into super stylish high-end shades. Not only that, they are creating jobs for Haitians by partnering with The Plastic Bank. Get your shades on! This project is creating a brighter tomorrow for people and planet.

Detroit needs more people like ‘SHU’ Harris. She’s a big personality with a work ethic that will make you want to to roll up your sleeves and join her in transforming one of Detroit’s most struggling neighborhoods, Highland Park. Together with her team of engineers, artists, futurists, and urban farmers, they are going to create a sustainable village (we’re talking a marketplace to a greenhouse-to-cafe!) that will be run by and for the community. Ready to get to work?

The team behind the initiative, AtWork saw a problem in the African education system. Students were taught to memorize facts and master rules without the opportunity to develop critical thinking skills. The AtWork team believes that “only someone who is free is able to transform their society”. Led by that motto, they are creating an interconnected Pan-African network of cultural influencers and youths to re-write the narrative of the African continent using a creative process that stimulates critical thinking and debate. Think Socrates meets Michelangelo.

At Conscious, we are inspired by stories that cause us to think differently and think big-picture and so we set out to tell stories with the help of leaders and influencers within the social good community. You can read more stories like this when you join as a member.