Cultivate curiosity.
Create possibility.

NYC Street Photographer Makes Possibility

This week something remarkable happened demonstrating the exponential possibilities we can create when human beings act in connection with one another.

Brandon Stanton, a street photographer in New York City and founder of Humans of New York (HONY), was approached several months ago by a representative of DKNY, who asked to purchase 300 of his photos to hang in their store windows “around the world.” They offered him $15,000. An industry friend advised him that $50 per photo was not a fair offer from a company with hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue. He asked for more money; they said no.

Turns out, DKNY used his photos in a Bangkok store window without his knowledge, and without compensation.

Brandon did something truly inspiring. Instead of personal recourse, he publicly asked DKNY to make a $100,000 donation to the Bedford-Stuyvesant YMCA in his name. He wanted the kids in his neighborhood to go to summer camp.

DKNY ended up donating $25,000 to the YMCA in his name.

But Brandon took it one step further. He started an Indiegogo campaign to raise the additional $75,000.

He believes the YMCA plays a critical role in creating some stability in the community for inner-city neighborhoods—like Bedford-Stuyvesant. $100,000 will send 300 kids to summer camp for two weeks.

This beautiful video is a real motivator—check out the joy the of community the young people (and the adults) at the YMCA have:

Brandon Stanton chose to turn this obstacle – which might otherwise have been a disheartening dead end – into possibility not only for him, but also for his community. He showed us how groups large and small can make growth happen.  Thanks to his ability to see and create possibility, thousands of human beings connected, and in addition to the joy that in itself brings, it benefits the lives of hundreds of kids in Bed-Stuy.

He says: “In some neighborhoods, the YMCA is an absolute cornerstone of the community. And that’s why this fundraiser is so important. It’s not just about the Bedford-Stuyvesant YMCA. It’s about building community.”

YMCA pool

Thank you Brandon, for creating new possibilities for how to deal with the real, often difficult – and halting if we let them – experiences that we all have.

As of this writing, there are 13 hours left in the Indiegogo campaign and Brandon and the HONY community have raised $86,820, more than $10,000 over his goal (But, feel free to add to it!).

Thank you for making possibility, and reminding us that practice makes possible.

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Karen Steinberg