6 Figure Support in 45 Minutes Sends Inner City Students to Harvard

The photographer and blogger, Brandon Stanton, thought it would be really cool to capture photographs of all New York City inhabitants, so in 2010 he set out to tackle 10,000 for starters, and plot their photos on a map. The initiative, known as Humans of New York took off to be much more than pictures, as he began to include quotes and short stories, sharing a glimpse inside the lives of New Yorkers. The collection became a blog, and garnered millions of followers on social media…plus, it’s now a #1 New York Times Bestselling Book.

What may not have been expected was that these portraits could have the power to move complete strangers to donate more than $600,000 after an inspirational post featuring a picture of a Mott Hall student in a housing project in Brownsville. The student describes the most influential person in his life — his principal Nadia Lopez.

"Who's influenced you the most in your life?" "My principal, Ms. Lopez." "How has she influenced you?" "When we get in trouble, she doesn't suspend us. She calls us to her office and explains to us how society was built down around us. And she tells us that each time somebody fails out of school, a new jail cell gets built. And one time she made every student stand up, one at a time, and she told each one of us that we matter."

“Who’s influenced you the most in your life?”
“My principal, Ms. Lopez.”
“How has she influenced you?”
“When we get in trouble, she doesn’t suspend us. She calls us to her office and explains to us how society was built down around us. And she tells us that each time somebody fails out of school, a new jail cell gets built. And one time she made every student stand up, one at a time, and she told each one of us that we matter.”

At the time this article was published, the picture had been shared more than 130K times and drew more than one million likes, prompting Stanton to dig a little deeper. He reached out to Nadia Lopez and asked how the Humans of New York community could help. Together, they decided to create a fund to provide each incoming sixth grade class an opportunity to get out of the neighborhood and visit Harvard University.

Stanton launched the campaign last Thursday and in about 45 minutes, they had raised $100,000. By Saturday afternoon, more than $600K had been raised, and donations ranging from $4 to $100 continue to come in. They have far exceeded their goal, so the extra funds will go towards summer programming for the school.

The power of a picture and a story can really move the needle — if this doesn’t illustrate the ROI tied to social media, I don’t know what does! To read the full article, visit CNNMoney.

This entry was posted in Crowdsourcing, Facebook, Non-Profit, Online Giving, Social Media, Social Media ROI, Twitter and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to 6 Figure Support in 45 Minutes Sends Inner City Students to Harvard

  1. sydhavely says:

    Absolutely great story, Erinn. Maybe a Philadelphia blogger and photographer could do something similarly and have kids visit Penn. Wouldn’t that be great?

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