On Saturday, actor and CrowdRise co-founder Edward Norton launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for a Syrian refugee whose story had gone viral thanks to Brandon Stanton of Humans of New York (HONY) and President Obama. Within an hour, the initiative secured raised over $100,000 for The Scientist, a Syrian refugee featured in his “The Syrian American” series. Since then, the fundraiser has received over 13,000 donations and has raised over $380,000.
Earlier this week, Norton revealed he was moved to tears upon reading the story of an unnamed man, referred to as “The Scientist” who speaks openly about losing his wife, his home, his personal belongings, and fleeing his village:
“I saw the story and was so compelled by it. This man has suffered profound loss that would crush the spirit of many people and yet he still passionately wants a chance to contribute positively to the world. I thought the President’s words were so apt, ‘You’re part of what makes America great.’ I wanted to do something to echo that sentiment. If we don’t welcome people like this into our communities and empower his dream of making an impact with his life, then we’re not the country we tell ourselves we are.”
Backers flocked to the CrowdRise page with encouraging remarks like, “I think this highly educated and virtuous man deserves a chance for better life. I was moved to tears by his story, “ and “I hope that you are able to prosper in the United States. We all see that you exist. You have already had a great impact on many of our lives.”
Norton’s fundraiser repurposes the story of The Scientist to reflect Stanton’s signature style. Craig Newmark of craigconnects, encouraged donors by offering an additional $10,000 in matching funds to the campaign.
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