Rebooting Our Community After COVID

This fall, we will welcome back community economist Michael Shuman for a virtual visit to our region.  In 2016, Michael spoke about pollinator enterprises — self-financing businesses committed to boosting other local businesses. This time, he’s back to help us invest more of our savings into locally owned businesses and community.

“When the pandemic recedes, we all will be called upon to take extraordinary steps to revive the local businesses that serve as the foundation of our communities,” shared Michael. “One critically important step will be for you and other members of your community to move your investment capital from Wall Street to Main Street.”

The Local Crowd (TLC) Monadnock will host an online introductory webinar with Michael called “Rebooting Your Community After COVID – How to Invest Locally Using Self-Directed IRAs and Solo 401ks” on October 15, 2020, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. This event is free, but registration is required.

Register today!

“There are real alternatives [to Wall Street], but few know about or consider them,” said Michael. “In fact, you can invest in everything that matters to you. You can put your money into that neighborhood grocery store you love, your little sister’s first house, or your nephew who needs to pay off high-interest student loans.”

Michael will offer us a way to make our community more resilient — to prepare for future global crises — and help us move more of our dollars into the businesses we don’t want to live without.  While this workshop targets community members with tax-deferred retirement accounts (401k or IRA), we encourage others to attend such as local business owners looking for new sources of capital and individuals looking for new ways to solve our local economic challenges.

“If you’re smart about local investing, you can do this in a way that provides substantial, stable financial returns and lowers the risk of Wall Street investments,” continued Michael. “Plus, these commonsense local investments wind up strengthening your community, your local resilience, and your tax base.”

If there’s enough interest generated at our introductory workshop, we’ll work with Michael to offer a full workshop on this topic in our region (hopefully live!).  The workshop would cover the twelve types of local investment opportunities available in almost everyone’s backyard (some that are likely to beat the returns from Wall Street).  It would also highlight what next steps we can take to shift millions of dollars of capital into local businesses struggling to survive the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Workshop participants will learn a fundamentally new way of thinking about their world, their community, and their money,” stated Michael.  “And a fundamentally new way of acting.” 

Michael Shuman, a leading visionary on community economics, serves as Director of Local Economy Programs for Neighborhood Associates Corporation and Adjunct Professor at Bard Business School in New York City. He is also a Senior Researcher for Council Fire and Local Analytics, where he performed economic-development analyses for states, local governments, and businesses around North America. His three most recent books include “Put Your Money Where Your Life Is: How to Invest Locally Using Solo 401ks and Self-Directed IRAs”; “The Local Economy Solution: How Innovative, Self-Financing Pollinator Enterprises Can Grow Jobs and Prosperity”; and “Local Dollars, Local Sense: How to Shift Your Money from Wall Street to Main Street.”

Thank you to our event partners: Green Energy Options, Greater Keene Chamber of Commerce, Monadnock Food Co-op, The Local Crowd, Vital Communities and Hannah Grimes Center for Entrepreneurship.  We hope you’ll join us!

Before we close, we wanted to share a few TLC Monadnock updates.  First, a really big thank you to everyone who contributed to our TLC 4WARD crowdfunding campaign that wraps up on August 31.   All six of our participating businesses surpassed their goals.  Collectively, we raised over $14,000 from 253 supporters for Archway Farm, CC&D’s Kitchen Market, Monadnock Food Co-op, Orchard Hill Breadworks, Prime Roast Coffee Roasters and Village Roots Permaculture Farm:

Two full crowdfunding campaigns ran on TLC Monadnock during the pandemic.  The Keene Sentinel raised $46,986 to help local journalism thrive and Sharing Housing collected $10,203 to support the development of an online course that will teach people how to create healthy, happy shared homes (a great way to boost affordable housing options in our region).  View all our past campaigns at

Please check out our latest live TLC Monadnock crowdfunding campaign from Friends of Public Art:  They’re working to transform a negative space at the Keene Airport into a welcoming sculpture park.   They hope to raise enough funds to purchase their first sculpture, created by local artist Adam Schepker with reused materials from the airport.  They will place this sculpture next to the newly formed Mt. Monadnock Labyrinth by Katie Schwerin.

Finally, thank you all again for your support for these campaign teams and TLC Monadnock as a whole.  Together, we collected $212,584 for twenty-four crowdfunding campaigns — campaigns that build a more local, green and fair Monadnock Region.

The Crowd Expands: Alstead, Jaffrey and Peterborough Join The Local Crowd Monadnock

In 2017, The Local Crowd (TLC) Monadnock — a locally based crowdfunding platform — supported campaigns based in Keene, Chesterfield, Hinsdale, Swanzey and Winchester.  In the New Year, we’re excited to announce that we’re expanding into Alstead, Jaffrey and Peterborough, too!  What does that mean to you?  It means that if you have a great idea — one that strengthens your local economy and community — and live in one of these eight towns, you can apply to launch a crowdfunding campaign with TLC Monadnock.

If you’ve heard of Kickstarter and Indiegogo, you might understand how crowdfunding works.  However, TLC Monadnock is different from other crowdfunding platforms.  It’s designed specifically for rural communities.  Also, you’re not alone when you launch a campaign with TLC Monadnock — we provide education, support and hyper-local tools to connect local businesses, organizations and community groups with the capital they need to thrive.

These differences recently earned us a Crowdfundie Award presented at the Global Crowdfunding Conference in Las Vegas. This award recognizes outstanding contributions to the crowdfunding industry.  People are beginning to notice what our community is doing to inspire more local investing!

2017 Recap

Since we launched in March, four crowdfunding campaigns have collectively raised $34,946 from over 200 individuals.  Our most recent campaign, the Bicycle Mayor of Keene, met its $1,300 goal just five days after publicly launching.  Tiffany Mannion, the inaugural Bicycle Mayor of Keene will focus on three areas during her two year term: education, connection and creation.  TLC Monadnock funded her first goal, to create an online hub that connects our community of riders to each other.  Connect with her at

Two TLC Monadnock campaigns focused on sustainable agriculture: Archway Farm’s Farm to Table on Wheels project and Stonewall Farm’s Barn Raising project.  Archway Farm bought a Sausage Cart and traveled to various community events this summer, introducing their pasture-raised pork and other local products to new people throughout our region.  Stonewall Farm plans to invest their funds in a new barn for their small animals and offer more space for the farm’s education programs.

Our third campaign, the Monadnock Placemaker project, focused on independent retail and the power of online tools to inspire more of us to spend our dollars at locally owned businesses.  Funds from this campaign will go into launching a local rewards program this winter.  Learn more about all four projects.

Three new campaigns are now in the development stage: Safe Streets project from the Hinsdale Beautification Committee, Moving Outdoors project from the Montessori Schoolhouse of Cheshire County and Chesterfield Community Supported Solar project from the Monadnock Sustainability Network.

Once these new crowdfunding campaigns launch, you can join with your friends and neighbors to support the campaigns that inspire you — by giving any amount of money you feel able and moved to give (from $1 on up!).  Some campaigns provide rewards for your support — a thank you gift for funding their project.  Sign up for our e-newsletter to stay updated.  Just send us an email and we’ll add you to our contact list.

In Search of New Campaigns for 2018

So, now we turn to you and ask: Do you have a great idea that could use a lift? Will your project support community goals, while keeping to a budget of $10,000 or less? Are you, or is your business or organization, based in Alstead, Chesterfield, Hinsdale, Jaffrey, Keene, Peterborough, Swanzey or Winchester?  If yes, then please consider funding your project through The Local Crowd Monadnock.  We are accepting crowdfunding proposals until January 12, 2018.

Learn more about our current request for proposals.

Here’s an added incentive to submit a proposal now: TLC Monadnock will select one proposal to receive a free video, donated by 710 Main Films, to support their crowdfunding campaign.  Crowdfunding campaigns with pitch videos receive four times more funds than campaigns without a video.

TLC Monadnock is hosted by Monadnock Buy Local and supported by a leadership team that includes the Greater Keene Chamber of Commerce, Southwest Region Planning Commission, New Hampshire Small Business Development Center, Monadnock Buy Local, Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce and Monadnock Economic Development Corporation.  We’re looking for other economic development groups beyond Keene to join our leadership team.  Contact us today for more details at or 603-499-7950.

As our TLC Monadnock crowd expands, we hope you will join us.  We are collectively funding the things we want to see more of in our little corner of the world.

Friends and Family: Support Our Placemaker Crowdfunding Campaign

fb-cover-photoIt’s happening! Monadnock Buy Local’s Placemaker Local Rewards Crowdfunding Campaign is about to launch on The Local Crowd Monadnock — a locally based crowdfunding platform. Woo-hoo!

Before our official launch in mid-July, I’m first reaching out to you first, my friends and family, to gain some momentum. Campaigns that reach the 30% fundraising mark before officially launching tend to meet or surpass their goals.

First off…Thanks for ALL YOU DO to support my work with Monadnock Buy Local — and I hope you’ll feel inspired to support our latest project.

What’s Placemaker?

On the surface, Placemaker is an online loyalty platform that tracks purchases made at locally owned businesses and offers gifts and discounts to users who spend their dollars locally.

Why Placemaker?

Dig deeper and you’ll discover that Placemaker is a powerful tool to inspire more community members to shop at locally owned businesses. Placemaker will give us much needed data on how Monadnock Buy Local is inspiring our community to shift their shopping — to grow a more local, green and fair economy.

We’re also working to make Placemaker a Pollinator Enterprise — a self-funding effort that boosts other locally owned businesses while providing more fuel for Monadnock Buy Local to meet its mission.

Please take a look at our Placemaker Campaign. Be sure to watch the Placemaker video at the top of our campaign page.

Support Our Placemaker Campaign Today

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There are several ways to support our campaign:

  • Give a contribution to our campaign — click on the green “Contribute” button * at the top of our page to get started.
  • Claim a reward — purchase one of our amazing rewards in exchange for your contribution — all from locally owned businesses. Rewards ** are listed along the right side of our page.
  • If you prefer to give “offline,” please make your check out to Monadnock Buy Local and mail it to us at 63 Emerald Street PMB #114, Keene, NH 03431.

Each and every donation helps make Placemaker happen in our region!

Let me know if you have any questions. I really appreciate you and your support of my work.

Yours locally,

PS: Please share our crowdfunding campaign with your friends and family. Thank you!


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The Local Crowd Monadnock Launches Online on Wednesday

Archway Farm instagramThe Local Crowd (TLC) Monadnock will launch online on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 at noon with two 30-day campaigns focused on supporting sustainable agriculture:

  • Archway Farm’s “Farm to Table on Wheels” project
  • Stonewall Farm’s “Barn Raising” project

Both campaigns are based in Keene, NH.  Individuals can contribute online to either campaign regardless of where they live, inside or outside of the Monadnock Region.

Each campaign will offer a limited number of rewards to individuals who give at certain financial levels.  For example, Archway Farm offers a Sausage Club to individuals who give $75.  Sausage Club members receive one pound of four different kinds of Archway Farm sausages, each featuring an ingredient from a local farm.  The first sausage is a Cheddar Smoked Bratwurst made with Stonewall Farm cheese.

A kick-off celebration is scheduled at Stonewall Farm on Saturday, March 18, 2017 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The Local Crowd Monadnock Launch Party includes food samples, children’s activity stations and hayrides. Members of TLC Monadnock’s Leadership Team will attend to answer questions and handout resources.  This event is free and open to the public.

Register today

About The Local Crowd Monadnock

TLC Monadnock is a locally based crowdfunding platform that empowers individuals to support the businesses, organizations and initiatives that grow wealthier and healthier communities in the region.  Crowdfunding, or the practice of raising funds to support a project from a large number of people, is a viable alternative to recruiting businesses from outside the region to boost economic activity.

This project is part of a two-year research study funded by a USDA Small Business Innovation Research grant to gauge this platform’s effectiveness in rural areas.  During its pilot phase, TLC Monadnock will only accept campaign proposals from businesses, organizations or community initiatives based in Keene, Chesterfield, Hinsdale, Swanzey or Winchester.  TLC Monadnock will give preference to campaigns from these communities that align with their respective city or town’s master plan and contribute to a local, green and fair economy.

TLC Monadnock is a collaboration of regional economic development organizations working to cultivate a stronger ecosystem of investors, service providers and local economy champions.  A team of community leaders from Southwest Region Planning Commission, Monadnock Buy Local, New Hampshire Small Business Development Center, Greater Keene Chamber of Commerce, Monadnock Economic Development Corporation and Hannah Grimes Center manages this crowdfunding platform.

Discover more details and updates or contact Jen Risley at or 603-499-7950.

Raising New Hampshire: The Early Years

Kids Children Diversity Happiness Group Education Concept

Impact Monadnock Presents – Raising New Hampshire: The Early Years

Watch the Film & Join the Conversation

WHERE: Keene Middle School Auditorium, 167 Maple Ave., Keene

WHEN: Wednesday, February 17, 2016, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

What steps can we take to ensure
 Monadnock Region children reach their full potential?

The evening will include opening remarks from Senator Molly Kelly as well as a group of panelists discussing their thoughts and listening to what you have to say.

Panelists include:

José Montero, MD, MHCDS, VP of Population Health and Health System Integration at Cheshire Medical Center; Jackie Cowell, Executive Director of Early Learning NH; Detective Bob Collinsworth, Keene Police Department; David Beauchamp, Assistant Superintendent from SAU 47; Karen Dunnigan, a parent with 2 children in the Fall Mountain School District; and Brittany LaFleur, an Elementary Education major from Keene State College.

This event is FREE and open to the public!

This screening of Raising New Hampshire is made possible by Impact Monadnock in partnership with Monadnock United Way, Endowment for Health, and Healthy Monadnock.

For more information on the Raising New Hampshire film, go to the Endowment for Health website.

The Raising of America

Watch the trailer for the documentary The Raising of America. The Raising of America is a five-part documentary series that explores the questions: Why are so many children in America faring so poorly? What are the consequences for the nation’s future? How can we do better?

To learn more about the series, visit

Pollinator Enterprises: Growing Jobs and Prosperity

From the Local Economy Solution: By Michael Shuman

A “pollinator” is a self-financing enterprise committed to boosting local business.  Some pollinators are for-profit businesses, some are nonprofits, but all allow a community to undertake one or more of five key economic development functions — planning, purchasing, people, partnerships and purse — with far greater efficacy and at a substantially lower cost than typical, taxpayer-funded programs.  All of the following models deploy business frameworks that ultimately aim to avoid dependency on government grants or charitable contributions: 28 Models of Pollinator Enterprises

local-economy-solution-banner-300x182What Pollinator Enterprises are active (or in the works) in the Monadnock Region? Please share your knowledge in the comments section below.

Here’s what we’ve gathered so far:

Planning Pollinators

Purchasing Pollinators

People Pollinators

Partnership Pollinators

Purse Pollinators

Local Investing Inspiration from Vermont

Vermont Dollars, Vermont Sense

Michael Shuman

This is the first in what we hope will be a series of state-specific handbooks to spur local investment across the United States. Each handbook will be filled with local examples and information, modeled on this first edition focused on local investing in Vermont.