Star Wars Nerds around the world felt a wonderful rumbling in the force earlier this week when producers revealed that Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o and "Game of Thrones" star Gwendoline Christie were cast in "Star Wars Episode VII".
This news came on the heels of director J.J. Abrams unveiling a glimpse of the new Star Wars set through an online contest. Yes a contest. But it wasn't just any contest. Through the Star Wars: Force for Change campaign, you and a friend can win a walk on role in the new film AND an exclusive trip to the Star Wars Celebration VII in Anaheim by donating to UNICEF.
Do good and get a chance to live out your dream. That is something of the motto of Omaze, the latest entrant in altruistic crowd funding organizations.
Based in California, Omaze was founded to benefit causes by giving ordinary people a chance to gain access to artists, musicians and luminaries they would not normally connect with. The company has already created amazing experiences like a chance to hang out with Laura Carmichael (aka Lady Edith) at Downton Abbey which benefited a healthy birthing organization in Haiti.
In addition to the Star Wars contest, Omaze is offering a chance to rehearse a scene and eat barbecue with "House of Cards" star Kevin Spacey.
What is remarkable is that often the fundraising accounts are started by other people on behalf of the person who needs help. For example, an anonymous good Samaritan raised more than $30,000 for a homeless teen who graduated as valedictorian of his class through gofundme.com.
On the site donorschoose.org, teachers can post requests for help to raise money for projects or equipment. This is particularly helpful for those teaching in high poverty areas where resources are scarce and salaries low. But teachers still have to come out of their pocket to make up for gaps.
Whether you are a Star Wars nerd or not, by donating online, to these or other crowd sourcing companies, you can be a force to change the world.
If you know of any other crowd funding groups, tell us about them. If you have been a force in helping someone online share that story too.