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Breaking the Silence with Crowdfunding

Two educators dreamed of creating safe, inclusive spaces in classrooms and schools for LGBTQ students and their allies.

They were Bethy Leonardi, PhD, and Sara Staley, PhD, both researchers at CU-Boulder’s School of Education. As part of the school’s Queer Endeavor initiative, they decided to produce a documentary film called Breaking the Silence.

Along with university and community partners, Leonardi and Staley developed a crowdfunding project to raise money for their documentary, with a goal of raising $20,000.


They launched their project in May, and in just six weeks, they surpassed their goal, inspiring 219 donors to contribute a total of $20,550. Of the seven fundraising projects that launched CU-Boulder Crowdfunding, “Breaking the Silence” raised the most money. Collectively, the projects raised more than $40,000 from more than 400 donors in six weeks.


Breaking the Silence Fund


Meanwhile, the Twisted Foundation—a local non-profit organization focused on equality, children and education—generously contributed $110,000, bringing the total raised for this effort in one year to more than $130,000.



Thanks to generous donors and creative crowdfunding, Leonardi and Staley are truly “breaking the silence” around gender and sexual diversity, so that all kids have access to safe and affirming learning spaces in schools.


Published: July 2014

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