When Poverty & Disability Meet Opportunity: A Crowdfund Feasibility Study (Of Sorts)


I’m debating whether to start a crowdfund and I want to get a feel for responses. I’ve been through one before and had an incredibly stressful experience. (Apparently asking for help with paying for healthcare really pisses people off.) Now, I’m facing $8,000 in expenses for both a non-covered healthcare need and a professional development opportunity. I have already received two contributions to the wheelchair lift fund but if you’re willing to support either venture (whether via signal boosting or donations), please let me know! Also, if you have platform recommendations (or warnings), please do offer them.

The extended version

If you follow me on Twitter, you may know that I was recently accepted to an amazing research institute:

That $1050 is just the cost of the institute. Travel is another $300 & lodging for the week is more than half my rent. And then there’s food for the week. Several people suggested a crowdfund (that’s why you’re here). Many (most) people would just skip the opportunity and understandably so. However, since I had to abandon my dissertation plans to tend to my health issues, this training is something I actually need to situate me for the type of research career I want.

Speaking of health issues you may know that I’m getting a powerchair and need a lift to get it into my truck:

All-in-all, I’m looking at an $8,000 gap that needs to be filled in the next few months. It may be more if I end up having to travel for healthcare treatment. And yes, there are legal cases pending, but these things take YEARS to resolve. I may well be in my second year of actual employment by the time there’s any real movement on these cases.

Even RuPaul knows ain't nobody got time for that

Other sources of support besides a crowdfund?

Since this was a big issue the last time, Yes, I have checked . Here’s the breakdown:

  • My mother gained a bunch of emergency home repair costs *just* as she is headed toward retirement. Also? She’s a nurse. Y’all know nurses, teachers, & social workers don’t get paid anything near what our work is worth.
  • I haven’t been able to work because my place of employment shut down last summer and it’s hard to obtain and maintain a job when you never know how well your body’s gonna function but you don’t have a wheelchair, yet somehow you *do* have 3-5 doctor appointments every week. Oh yeah, and that whole thing about finishing classes and a dissertation…
    • I do hope to resume work after I get my chair (which won’t be for another 2 months. Yay, random insurance policies!)
  • I’m anemic, so selling off my blood supply isn’t really gonna work for me.
  • I can’t say from experience but I imagine it’s pretty hard to be a sex worker when endometriosis makes your insides feel like any variable combination of sandpaper, flames, stabbing knives, and vice grips.
  • Egg donation? Nobody wants their kid to have my genes. Seriously.
  • Selling material goods. OMG, please do buy my things!
    • Sadly, I don’t have anywhere near $8,000 worth of stuff to sell
  • My credit card is maxed out (yay, living and academic expenses!)
  •  Surely there are resources at that big fancy school!
    • I have talked to my Dean of Students and she is investigating the availability of some resources across the university to help with my health issues. We’re not sure if my case qualifies, however, and there’s no way of knowing how much help I would get if I do. However, the university is under pretty tight budget cuts right now, so I’m not holding my breath. (FYI: my needs don’t qualify as academic expenses. Nope, not even the research training.)
    • There are a couple of small funds for graduate student professional development but they don’t cover research training, so we’re only eligible for one of each award per lifetime and only for presenting at conferences.
    • Oh yeah, my fellowship ends this summer AND my rent goes up $200 in September. Woohoo!
      • Yes, I have applied (am applying) for external fellowships. Those decisions come down in the spring & summer, with funding distributions in the fall.

I think that about covers everything I’ve considered. So would you support my crowdfund? I’ll paste the poll here for you again, because I care about your tendons. Again, if you have platform recommendations/warnings, please feel free to share.

Umm… I’m gonna say crowdfund some more. Because saying crowdfund should help my SEO or something. Crowdfund. Shameless? Absolutely. Crowdfund.

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