Crowdfunding For Veterans: A Detroit Startup Gives Back

By Noelle Sciarini on August 4th, 2014 / Comments

It all started when entrepreneur Roger Mensah started a restaurant project on Kickstarter, a crowdfunding website. After getting a good look at the crowdfunding platform’s company history and technological requirements, Mensah was inspired to create his own fundraising website with a slight twist: all of the projects would be created by military veterans and first responders such as policemen or firefighters.

“It was right around the time that people were coming back from Afghanistan and Iraq, and I knew the transition to civilian life could be difficult,” Mensah said. “I knew I wanted to help them out in any way I could, even if it was just giving them a chance to get their ideas off the ground.”

And with that, Endless Crowds was born just over a year ago. The website functions much like Kickstarter where users can post a description or video of their project and then others can choose to donate to it. Mensah is hoping to raise as much as $50,000 per project, and has one campaign up and running right now aiming to help homeless veterans in the nation.

One project in particular that Mensah is most excited about is the creation of The Veteran Games, an Olympic-style sporting event just for veterans and their families. Currently still in development, The Veteran Games are envisioned as being a place where “Service members can participate in events and raise awareness for their while they are transitioning back to active duty or to civilian life.”

Mensah hopes to eventually host these games within historical venues around the metro Detroit area, such as Belle Isle State Park. “[The Games] are an opportunity for veterans and their families to become part of the movement of people who are re-engaging with a city that was once abandoned.”

Endless Crowds serves this niche nationwide, but it is based in Detroit where the Bankrupt city has faced dire cuts in both police and firefighting departments. So many cuts have been made for firefighters that recent documentaries such as Burn have caught the nation’s eye. Endless Crowds may just be able to help Detroit where extra funding is desperately needed.

“Ingenuity and vision transformed Detroit, 70 years ago, and changed America. Perhaps they can do it again,” said Mensah.

For more information about Endless Crowds, please visit their website.

About the Author

Noelle Sciarini

Noelle Sciarini is a recent graduate from Michigan State University. Now an Ann Arbor resident, she fills her spare time with reading, writing, and the occasional road race. Find her on Twitter: @NoelleSci.