The projects below are posted on the AngelList website. Follow the links to learn more! I hope to find partners and donors/investors for each. I have considered these ideas for several years. Some require my concerted effort and involvement, others require partial involvement. Regardless, they merit your consideration.
If you have an interest, contact me by using the secure contact form available on this website. The numbering below is for the sake of order, but it does not indicate value nor a hierarchy of any kind. Thank you!
While wandering through the expansive historic cemeteries of San Antonio (see slide show above), the idea came to me. Why not develop a sophisticated, multi-faceted project to restore historic Texas cemeteries, create jobs, educate the public and invigorate the local economy, all the while saving water and beautifying these largely untended plots of land? Components might include:
- Use of water-saving native plants and create native plant (xeric) landscaping throughout, hiring native plant experts, gardeners and related contractors. Texas has water conservation issues and this could help educate citizens to the possibilities while reducing water usage in the cemeteries themselves.
- Hire stone masons and restore those monuments which were once so beautiful!
- Create attractive, educational websites telling the stories of those interred (hire more history graduates and web developers).
- Develop mobile apps for onsite tours (as well as cell phone dial-in “tours”); enable mobile giving campaigns for ongoing repair and restoration purposes.
- Bring school children for educational walking tours and other enjoyable events (we don’t exercise enough, nor do we provide enough education about the rich histories of our cities).
- Revitalize neighborhoods with new businesses catering to cemetery tourists.
- Create new jobs throughout, and boost the economy and heritage tourism.
I do envision enlisting partner organizations to accomplish this project. Among them might be the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, The University of Texas at Austin, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas Historical Commission, churches (some of which own the cemeteries), and Google.
Follow the links for more information about this exceptionally high quality artistic and educational project of national scope, which will ultimately support the ongoing operational needs of the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas. The project was developed by me initially, then it involved further discussions with Mark L. Smith (one of the original founders of Flatbed Press in Austin and a classmate from The University of Texas at Austin). Mark recently purchased Texas Art House in Johnson City, and as this project will require professional sales capabilities, Mark is even more of an asset to it.
Charity lotteries in Europe are highly successful and they have a more ethical emphasis than lotteries in the United States today, including Texas. This project is not intended to reinvent the wheel, as it were. It would involve engaging the seasoned and sophisticated management team already working in Europe, to bring the charity lottery concept to the United States, with Texas as a test case for the nation. I did share this idea with a colleague involved with the Texas Commission on the Arts a few years ago. But my sense is, it’s scope would be much more broad than just supplying funding for, “the arts.”
Please follow the links for more information about this important documentary film project. I have shared information about it with The History Channel, but there is no word on that potential partnership as yet.
Artfuel is an international fundraising project focused on the Tuscany region of Italy. With longtime friends in Milan, Italy, I began pondering how American donors might assist urgent needs for repair and improvement of museums and historic properties in Tuscany, and with confidence. Our activities will be lean, focused and modern. We created a website (art-fuel.art) to outline project details. Interest is high from the Art Ministry, Tuscany Branch. Three projects will soon be posted on the website with budgets. Our initial need is to secure an international banking partner (donor advised fund perhaps), and then to fundraise to cover the cost of my time and that of Mauro Bartalini for six months. Mauro is a professional project planner and partner based in Milan and he will be on point to ensure timelines are met. We anticipate being successful and ultimately setting the stage for further work on other projects, potentially in other countries as well.