- Associated Press - Friday, October 24, 2014

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) - A crowd-sourcing website aimed at helping Kansas communities has gone live with its first four projects.

Kanstarter, powered by the Kansas Sampler Foundation, went live Thursday, the Hutchinson News reported (http://bit.ly/1t8jX7t ). It allows people to donate time, talent or money to the four projects, which all have a common theme of improving Kansas rural life.

The four projects are helping Burdett update its public miniature golf course; assisting Plains in purchasing land to build a grocery store; supporting the construction of an amphitheater in Wilson to replace a damaged opera house; and helping build a recreation trail in Yates Center.

All raised more than $50 in the several hours after they opened.

“We’re off and starting and feel like good things will come,” said Marci Penner, the foundation’s director.

Penner described the website launch as soft, since the projects are new and everyone involved is still in the learning process.

The foundation earlier this year received $200,000 in community service tax credits from the state’s commerce department to build the website, which operates like the crowdfunding site Kickstarter.

But, in order for a group to start a project on the site, they have to show their idea is good for the community. Kanstarter will likely begin accepting applications for new projects in December to be available on the site as early as January.

“This is like a dream come true to help these rural communities,” Penner previously told the newspaper. “We wanted to do the site in a way that inspires people to help sustain rural life and Kansas communities.”

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Information from: The Hutchinson (Kan.) News, http://www.hutchnews.com

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