Meet Marcus Toscano, London Royal Academy’s newest student, thanks to crowdfunding.
This virtuous Brazilian violinist was accepted by one of the most competitive music institutes in the world. Only two spots were available. I was told he beat candidates from 40 countries. Imagine how frustrating it would be if he couldn’t join the program. He didn’t have the money to afford a year of study abroad. That’s when crowdfunding solved this problem for him.
Toscano set up a campaign page at the Brazilian crowdfunding website Benfeitoria. Within three months, the campaign goal of $30,000 has been overcome with more than 400 donations. You can still help for another week.
From an American perspective, the value may seem easy to achieve, but it is a lot of money in Brazilian currency. I come from a middle class family in Brazil and I made sure I had a scholarship in order to fund both my tuition and expenses for my master’s degree in London. I guess I wouldn’t have gone if I had to pay it by myself. A student loan is not a reality in Brazil: interest rates are too high and banks don’t give high amounts to people who cannot prove that they can pay it back – like students.
After this background information, you will have to agree with me that Marcus Toscano made a remarkable achievement. Especially if you consider that crowdfunding is not as common of a concept as it is in the US. I am proud of Marcus Toscano and how he creatively managed to pursue his dreams. He will be the third Brazilian violinist to graduate on the Royal Academy.
Toscano’s challenge is not over though. He guaranteed the first year of study, but he will have to find a way to fund the second year. I hope the internet will help him once more.
Not familiar with crowdfunding?
Crowdfunding is a social networking tool to collect money for projects. You sign up for one of the many tools available, announce the details of your project, and individuals contribute with money. Rules vary from one tool to another, but in general you only receive the money if you reach a certain goal. If not, the money goes back to the donors.
Marcus Toscano persuaded donors by sharing his life story on his crowdfunding page, but a video with a comedian helped spread the word. You can watch the video below. No worries if you don’t speak Portuguese: subtitles are provided. : )