10,000 Infamous Mothers

This is a campaign to raise 10,000 books for 10,000 mothers across 10 cities.

Sagashus
Modern Media
$5,581
pledged of $250,000 goal
60
Backers
0
Days Left
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Project Description

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Welcome!

Welcome to 10,000—where the rewards are exciting and the mission is bold  

The Mission

10 cities x 1,000 books = 10,000 mothers inspired

The mission of Infamous Mothers is to create a national platform that taps into, cultivates and releases the power of women who mother from the margins of society. The founder/CEO of this social venture, Sagashus Levingston, is a PhD Candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the single of mother of six children. Frustrated that women like her are often invisible in the media and popular culture, she decided to create products, deliver services and build a social media platform intended to extend the conversation around feminism and black mothering to include more complex narratives.

Our goal with this campaign is to gift 10,000 copies of Infamous Mothers, our coffee table book, to 10,000 women across 10 U.S. cities. We will be reaching out to mothers in low-income housing, prisons, domestic abuse shelters, drug rehabilitation facilities, and YWCAs.  Along with the books, we will facilitate workshops and create an experience that recognizes, harnesses and deploys the power of those 10,000 mothers.


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"I remember the day of high school graduation being dressed in the all-white every female graduate was required to wear. In a long flowing white dress with a front that overlapped and formed a V-shape at my chest, I appeared regal, poised. I wore white, wedged open-toe heels. Some might even consider my long neck and legs sure signs of gracefulness—had I not been stooped down banging on the basement window of the guy I was involved with.  It was one of the most important days of my life, and there I was trying to pull him from his bed to convince him to go with me, watch me graduate, support me. So much depended on his being in the bleachers, cheering.  I banged furiously, desperately... " 

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"I could see my innocence erode over time. That continual vulnerability and predatory thing, I know intimately. I KNOW how many times that walk home from school happens before you end up in the back seat of a guy’s car or before you end up at a hotel underaged. My experience as a young woman of color, I liken to the experiences of a young man of color who is walking to and from school every day pass gang members and drug dealing. There is a corrosive enticement to compromise, and over time, you find yourself weakening. Using a slave plantation metaphor, we would call it “the moment that you break.” You hear it in the conversation of pimps today, the idea of breaking a b**tch or breaking a woman."

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 The Problem

In our world today, mothers who live on the margins of society are often portrayed and imagined as problems to be solved instead of as potential to be cultivated. In our culture, blaming teen mothers for poverty is common. Fear of the "crack mother" and her "deviant babies" have become normal. Single mothers and baby mamas have become living "proof of a decline in American values." These views have been expressed in political speeches, news articles, academic research, etc. More times than not, the narratives are oversimplified and incomplete.

As a result, a culture of fear, anxiety and policing has been created around urban black mothering, in particular; it has become a staple in American culture and widely accepted abroad. To add insult to injury, even in feminist spaces that are created to acknowledge, celebrate and leverage the power of all women, the literature, policies, and the activism is often scarce, or worse, silent, about the complexity and potential of these women. Outside of adding to more literature about the plight of black families, they often fail to explore these women’s stories in a way that balances their triumphs with their challenges. They fail to include the part of the story about how many of these women went from being teen moms to entrepreneurs or single moms to PhD Candidates.  This failure hurts hurts the mothers and leaves society ignorant.

The Solution

To address this, we created Infamous Mothers, a coffee table book that features 20 women who mother from the margins of our society: teen moms, baby mamas, single mothers, moms who sex worked or abused drugs, etc. For our project, the mothers were active participants in the writing and editing of told their own stories. They controlled the narratives. They also controlled their visual stories. Choosing their own poses, outfits, artifacts (to be included in their photos) they were in command of their photo shoots.

The outcome? A powerful coffee table book filled with stunning photography and moving stories.

Last year, through Kickstarter, 263 people came together and help us complete this project. People in the U.S. and beyond helped us raise $25,000. It covered the cost of the photo shoot, interviews, makeup artist, video production/campaign marketing. We were able to complete the Infamous Mothers prototype. The book is now completed. And we are ready to print it.

This inaugural print run has to be as much about getting complimentary copies into the hands of thousands of mothers who may not be able to afford them as it is about getting books to thousands of people who can. With this understanding, we have launched this campaign to print books and provide programming for thousands of women who would otherwise not be able to have this tool/experience because of financial barriers. In the same way we created an "urban Cinderella" experience for the 20 women in our book that still inspires them today, we want to tap into, harness and unleash the power of thousands of women who are in situations that may make them feel unattractive, unworthy, and  unheard. We need your help to make this possible.

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Your Support Makes an Impact

10,000 books @ $25 =$250,000 raised

Helping us raise 10,000 books will do the following extraordinary things:

  • inspire hope in thousands of mothers
  • invite women to empowering workshops, personal/professional development coaching experiences often reserved for women NOT like them
  • remove the barrier of cost
  • place marginalized mothers at the center of national conversations about women’s issues
  • initiate our first print run
  • give thousands a preview of our upcoming conference the Talk Back (February 2018)

Stay Connected and Spread the Word!

Raising 10,000 books for 10,000 women across 10 cities is a bold and awesome goal. To accomplish it, we need an army of beautiful people to help make this possible. We need YOU!

Ways You Can help

  • become an organizational partner by gifting 100 books
  • unite with friends and family to organize four events in your city in places like hair salons, churches, daycares, community centers and become a stop on our pop up mini-tour in August 2017
  • become a super supporter by personally gifting 50 books
  • become a campaign ambassador by committing to find 25 people to gift books, and encouraging each one of them to find one more person to gift a book
  • like and follow us on Facebook and Twitter @infamousmothers.
  • share this campaign with your social media networks
  • help us get the word out to your city’s press and influencers. Click here for our  media kit

Infamous Mothers Progress to Date

This print run is one more powerful step in a beautiful  process to complete and distribute this work. Here’s what we have accomplished to date:

  • raised $25,617 with 253 backers on Kickstarter
  • contracted with Little Creek Press, selected editor, completed prototype, scheduled release date (Oct 2017)
  • developed and piloted workshop materials (which align with the book) with
    two local non-profits (this was the kickoff to Phase 2 of our work)
  • started production of the Infamous Mothers online learning platform
  • developed organizational level membership models
  • presented at the YWCA Racial Justice Summit, the annual Trauma Summit, the
    Social Good Summit, University of Minnesota-Rochester, and TEDx Madison
  • honored with the UW Outstanding Women of Color award and recognized by
    Brava Magazine as a Woman to Watch, including a cover photo
  • interviewed by NBC Channel 15, WORT, Cap Times, Madison365, Madison
    Magazine, Brava Magazine, Isthmus, and Kolumn Magazine
  • mentioned as a trending topic in Essence Magazine (August 2017)

Infamous Mothers in the Press

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August Cover
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Wisconsin Public Radio

BRAVA Magazine

Cap Times

Isthmus

WORT Radio

Madison Magazine

To learn more about Infamous Mothers as a social venture, please visit our website at www.infamousmothers.com.

Updates

The Project FAQs

1.) What is the biggest challenge we face with this campaign? How are we going to address this challenge?

The biggest challenge we face with this campaign is gathering enough support in 40 days to reach our $250,000. Our strategy is both aggressive (in a good way) and proactive. In addition to having a growing number of social media followers, our base is awesome! It is engaged, active, vocal and supportive. Part of our strategy depends on them becoming ambassadors and getting behind this work. The next strategy is about going into the world meeting new friends and gaining new support. It's about persistently reaching out to the media in different cities. It means actively traveling to new places and making connections and starting a promoting a new hashtag to promote that effort.

2.) Some people may be concerned about this campaign being a duplicate. This time last year, we raised funds on Kickstarter for the Infamous Mothers book project.

Last year, we raised money to complete the prototype for the project. That means we payed to cover the raw cost of making the book: two photo shoots in two different cities, a makeup artists, transportation cost and lodging for our vendors and some of the women. We also paid administrative costs associated with project, including Kickstarter fees, credit card processing fees, etc. We also paid for transcription costs, equipment like tape recordings, and marketing costs (a series of videos). Finally, through Kickstarter, we paid the interviewer (who is the founder of the project).

We believed we were also raising money to cover print costs. Before the campaign, we got several overseas quotes for printing. They were consistent. So we went with what we thought was the best one. Once we raised the money and started doing business with that company, we realized that there were a lot of hidden costs that was not included in the price quote. For example, the quote only included the price to make the books. It didn't include the cost to ship them from overseas. We learned later that  we would have had to rent a truck to get them moved from the port/dock where they arrived at to Madison, WI. Once we understood that, we started searching for a different publishing house. We found Little Creek Press located in Mineral Point, WI. It's woman owned. We've been working together for eight months now. The process is clear and transparent. They designed the layout of the book, provided us with an editor and have created the promotional graphics for a previous campaign as well as this one.

3.) In the last campaign, we received our rewards late. How is this one going to be different?

Kickstarter was my first crowd funding campaign. I made a lot of rookie mistakes. One of the mistakes I made was just not being thorough in my communication with companies I pursued online. I reached out to them for price quotes only. But I did not look into the quality of their work. After getting back items I wasn't satisfied with, I decided to start my search over. This delayed the process. It also meant, in some cases, I had to raise new dollars, outside of Kickstarter, to get rewards filled. I learned from that costly mistake. As someone who is no longer new to this rodeo,  I have local connections and established relationships to help get quality products and orders filled and sent to you. Again, our publishing house, Little Creek Press, which is also a design company, Kristin Mitchell Design, plays an important role in this process. They're not only reliable, they do excellent work.

4.) I did not receive my reward from the previous crowd funding campaign.

Over 90% of our backers received their rewards from Kickstarter. If you did not receive your item from the first crowd funding campaign, it's for one of two reasons. 1.) You have a a reward that includes a book. We set that reward date for late 2018 (although, because of this campaign, we may be able to get them to you sooner). 2.) You did not respond to us on Kickstarter asking you for your address. Everyone who responded on Kickstarter, received their rewards. If we had to search for you through Facebook or social media, you may or may not have gotten your reward because of how difficult it became to collect everyone's information across social media.

How will things be different this time? First, I will collect addresses as soon as the platform allows. This way, the request for addresses won't be lost in a barrage of Update emails. Second, I will make the request for addresses clear in the message I send out. So look for it. Third, I will also make it clear that address can only be connected through iFundWomen.  Finally, to streamline the process, we have increased the number of service-oriented rewards. So we now have a healthy mix of products and services. This cuts down on the mailing.

07/21/2017
Digital Infamy
$25
07/21/2017
Digital Infamy
$25
07/21/2017
Monetary Contribution With No Reward
$40
07/21/2017
Digital Infamy
$25
07/21/2017
Monetary Contribution With No Reward
$50
07/21/2017
Monetary Contribution With No Reward
$50
07/21/2017
Monetary Contribution With No Reward
$50
07/21/2017
Monetary Contribution With No Reward
$100
07/21/2017
Infamous Gift Set Complete
$125
07/21/2017
Digital Infamy
$25
Monetary Contribution With No Reward
35 Supporters
Contribute
$1
Infamous Suggestions

Which 10 cities should we choose as stops on our book tour? Pledge $1 today to nominate a city to receive 1,000 of our 10,000 books.

0 Supporters
Select this reward
1942586221-1
$25
Digital Infamy

Sponsor one woman to receive books. Get some computer love with this digital version of the book. It comes with selected audio excerpts from the original interviews—only available with this campaign. Your name will also be added to our website’s page of pledgees. Available December 2017.

13 Supporters
Select this reward
IM_three
$75
Infamous Tee

Sponsor three women to receive books. Pledge at this level and receive a beautiful Infamous Tee designed specifically for this campaign. Along with it, receive a 10% discount code for your own personal copy of Infamous Mothers. Your name will also be added to our website’s page of pledgees. Available December 2017.

5 Supporters
Select this reward
$100
Infamous Gift Set

Sponsor four women to receive books. You’re pretty badass. Pledge at this level, and receive the bad girls of mothering gift set. It comes complete with an Infamous Mothers t-shirt, pen and coffee mug. Also, receive a 20% discount code for your personal copy of Infamous Mothers. Your name will be added to our website’s page of pledgees. Available December 2017.

0 Supporters
Select this reward
IM_five
$125
Infamous Gift Set Complete

Sponsor five women to receive books. This is badassness complete. In addition to getting your t-shirt, pen, and coffee mug, you also get a magnet and your personal copy of the Infamous Mothers coffee table book. Your name will be added to our website’s page of pledgees. Available July 2018.

4 Supporters
Select this reward
IM_ten
$250
Signature Infamy

Sponsor 10 women to receive books. Because you’ve decided to make such a signature move, we’re returning the gesture. Get a signed copy of the Infamous Mothers book and a message thanking you for supporting women in general and especially for supporting ones known for their infamy. Your name will be added to our website’s page of pledgees. Limit 100. Available July 2018.

2 Supporters
Select this reward
IM_twenty
$500
Special Edition

Sponsor 20 women to receive books. In honor of your awesomeness, we are creating a special edition book just for you. In it, we will include expanded stories, special acknowledgments, a new forward, additional photos, and more. Your name will also be added to our website’s page of pledgees. Available in July 2018.

1 Supporter
Select this reward
$750
Infamous Talks

Sponsor thirty women to receive books. Pledge at this level, and bring one of our talks to your office/organization for a discount greater than 50%. This offer is limited to organizations within the Madison community. Your organization’s name will also be added to our website’s page of pledgees. Limit 3. Available beginning January 2018.

3 Left
0 Supporters
Select this reward
$1,000
Infamous Rewrites

So much of the Infamous Mothers coffee table book is about rewriting stories and expanding narratives. And since we haven’t gone to print yet, there’s still time for one last revision. When you pledge at this level, Sagashus (the creator of the project) will rewrite part of her narrative to include your name. It will be an authentic inclusion that speaks to the difference you made in her life through this campaign. Your name will also be added to our website’s page of pledgees. Limit 7. Available in January 2018.

7 Left
0 Supporters
Select this reward
$5,000
Infamous Private Talks

Sponsor two hundred women to receive books. The Experience tour is as much about you as it is about the women we call Infamous Mothers. While we’re in your city, let us spend quality time with your small group or organization. We’ll do a book reading just for you, answer your questions, and talk to you about some of our secret behind-the-scene processes, experiences and revelations. Your group/organization’s name will also be added to our website’s page of pledgees. Available during the 2018 tour.

0 Supporters
Select this reward
$10,000
Infamous Scholarship

Sponsor four hundred women to receive books. Pledge at this level and receive an institution-wide lecture and Q&A session about the research that shaped this work. In addition to that, while visiting your city on tour, the author is willing to guest teach a 50-90 minute class (based on the coffee table book) in literature, writing or Afro-American studies. Your institution’s name will also be added to our website’s page of pledgees. Available during the 2018 tour.

0 Supporters
Select this reward

Rewards

Monetary Contribution With No Reward
35 Supporters
Contribute
$1
Infamous Suggestions

Which 10 cities should we choose as stops on our book tour? Pledge $1 today to nominate a city to receive 1,000 of our 10,000 books.

0 Supporters
Select this reward
1942586221-1
$25
Digital Infamy

Sponsor one woman to receive books. Get some computer love with this digital version of the book. It comes with selected audio excerpts from the original interviews—only available with this campaign. Your name will also be added to our website’s page of pledgees. Available December 2017.

13 Supporters
Select this reward
IM_three
$75
Infamous Tee

Sponsor three women to receive books. Pledge at this level and receive a beautiful Infamous Tee designed specifically for this campaign. Along with it, receive a 10% discount code for your own personal copy of Infamous Mothers. Your name will also be added to our website’s page of pledgees. Available December 2017.

5 Supporters
Select this reward
$100
Infamous Gift Set

Sponsor four women to receive books. You’re pretty badass. Pledge at this level, and receive the bad girls of mothering gift set. It comes complete with an Infamous Mothers t-shirt, pen and coffee mug. Also, receive a 20% discount code for your personal copy of Infamous Mothers. Your name will be added to our website’s page of pledgees. Available December 2017.

0 Supporters
Select this reward
IM_five
$125
Infamous Gift Set Complete

Sponsor five women to receive books. This is badassness complete. In addition to getting your t-shirt, pen, and coffee mug, you also get a magnet and your personal copy of the Infamous Mothers coffee table book. Your name will be added to our website’s page of pledgees. Available July 2018.

4 Supporters
Select this reward
IM_ten
$250
Signature Infamy

Sponsor 10 women to receive books. Because you’ve decided to make such a signature move, we’re returning the gesture. Get a signed copy of the Infamous Mothers book and a message thanking you for supporting women in general and especially for supporting ones known for their infamy. Your name will be added to our website’s page of pledgees. Limit 100. Available July 2018.

2 Supporters
Select this reward
IM_twenty
$500
Special Edition

Sponsor 20 women to receive books. In honor of your awesomeness, we are creating a special edition book just for you. In it, we will include expanded stories, special acknowledgments, a new forward, additional photos, and more. Your name will also be added to our website’s page of pledgees. Available in July 2018.

1 Supporter
Select this reward
$750
Infamous Talks

Sponsor thirty women to receive books. Pledge at this level, and bring one of our talks to your office/organization for a discount greater than 50%. This offer is limited to organizations within the Madison community. Your organization’s name will also be added to our website’s page of pledgees. Limit 3. Available beginning January 2018.

3 Left
0 Supporters
Select this reward
$1,000
Infamous Rewrites

So much of the Infamous Mothers coffee table book is about rewriting stories and expanding narratives. And since we haven’t gone to print yet, there’s still time for one last revision. When you pledge at this level, Sagashus (the creator of the project) will rewrite part of her narrative to include your name. It will be an authentic inclusion that speaks to the difference you made in her life through this campaign. Your name will also be added to our website’s page of pledgees. Limit 7. Available in January 2018.

7 Left
0 Supporters
Select this reward
$5,000
Infamous Private Talks

Sponsor two hundred women to receive books. The Experience tour is as much about you as it is about the women we call Infamous Mothers. While we’re in your city, let us spend quality time with your small group or organization. We’ll do a book reading just for you, answer your questions, and talk to you about some of our secret behind-the-scene processes, experiences and revelations. Your group/organization’s name will also be added to our website’s page of pledgees. Available during the 2018 tour.

0 Supporters
Select this reward
$10,000
Infamous Scholarship

Sponsor four hundred women to receive books. Pledge at this level and receive an institution-wide lecture and Q&A session about the research that shaped this work. In addition to that, while visiting your city on tour, the author is willing to guest teach a 50-90 minute class (based on the coffee table book) in literature, writing or Afro-American studies. Your institution’s name will also be added to our website’s page of pledgees. Available during the 2018 tour.

0 Supporters
Select this reward