German Village Gazette

Green Lawn Abbey

New crowd-funding initiative attempted for window replacement


Like many nonprofits in the digital age, the Green Lawn Abbey Preservation Association is turning to the internet for fundraising.

The Green Lawn Abbey Preservation Association was chosen as one of the first groups in power2give online crowd-funding platform offered by the Greater Columbus Arts Council.

The abbey's board of directors wants to restore three of the vandalized stained-glass windows on the South Side mausoleum, which is estimated to cost $27,000.

The board has about 45 days to raise money for two projects costing up to $10,000 each, meaning funds for the third window will have to be raised outside of the online program.

The city of Columbus has agreed to match funds for the restoration through power2give. Janice Loebbaka, president of the preservation association, said the online initiative opens up fundraising to a wider audience.

"We do a mailing, but that's a big expense for us to begin with," Loebbaka said.

"We have a limited distribution list so this, the power2give, is being promoted by other groups, so it does give us an opportunity to look outside of our block of usual givers."

Restoration has moved at a slow, but steady pace for the mausoleum, 700 Greenlawn Ave.

Last year, officials replaced four of 59 stained-glass windows and two double brass doors at the facility, which was built in 1927.

The good news, Loebbaka said, is the windows are expected to last 70 years.

It's not the first time the abbey board has turned to the web for financial support.

The group used Internet-based GoFundMe to raise $75 toward a $300 movie screen, used for outdoor movies held on the grounds of the abbey, Loebbaka said.

The association has made $900 so far by charging people to park, selling popcorn and circulating a donation bucket, she said.

Jamie Goldstein, spokeswoman for the arts council, said the group is the 20th organization nationwide to adopt the power2give format.

Studies show online giving is eclipsing traditional fundraising mechanisms, she said.

Overall giving rose 1.5 percent last year, compared to online giving, which increased 14 percent.

"We really feel online giving and cultivating individual donors is the new frontier in philanthropy," Goldstein said.