Tallahassee Journal

Humans of N.Y. blogger raises $1M plus for students

Humans of N.Y. blogger raises $1M plus for students

What started out as a fail for blogger/photographer Brandon Stanton has turned into a major success for him and a group of Brooklyn, N.Y., schoolchildren. Stanton’s campaign to raise $100,000 to send middle school students to visit Harvard University had yielded more than ten times the goal as of Thursday night and gone viral, with still a week to go until the campaign’s end. Barring inflation, the fund now has enough to send the incoming 6th grade students of Mott Hall Bridges Academy on Harvard visits for about 25 years, plus enough to launch a scholarship.635581729623744123-AP-Humans-of-New-York

Stanton is the creator behind the wildly popular Humans of New York blog and Facebook page, which he launched in 2010 after being fired from his job trading bonds for the Chicago Board of Trade. As of late Thursday, 36,702 people had donated $1,094,686 to send the students to the Cambridge, Mass., campus. “Just amazing,” Stanton tweeted. “And in less than five days.”

Stanton takes photos of New Yorkers and sends them out via his Humans of New York blog and Facebook along with prose or a quote that describes their lives or living situations. Though often sparse with words, the snippets often give a broad picture of the person’s existence or personality. On Jan. 19, Stanton sent out a photograph of Mott Hall Bridges eighth grader Vidal Chastanet, who complimented his principal, Nadia Lopez. The photo drew lots of attention via social media and motivated Stanton to do something.

A few days later, he decided to start a fundraiser to help the school in Brooklyn’s Brownsville, a neighborhood that holds the highest crime rate in the city. Stanton latched onto Lopez’s goal of taking the incoming 6th grade class on a tour of Harvard at the beginning of every school year. On the webpage of the crowdfunding campaign he launched at Indiegogo.com, Stanton wrote of Lopez: “Since many of her scholars have never left New York, she wants them to know what it feels like to stand on the campus of one of the world’s top schools, and know that they belong. She thinks the experience will broaden their horizons and expand their idea of their own potential.”

The influx of funds will likely be cause for celebration on Lopez’s part. Though the principal could not be reached, Thursday was her birthday, according to her Facebook page. She recently revealed to the students at her school that before the fundraising campaign, she was feeling “broken” at recent events in the world that, to her, showed strains in black-white relations.