Stories In My Backyard (SIMBY) Starter Fund


My name is Kyra Williams and I’m a twenty-two year old multimedia content creator and social entrepreneur from Philadelphia, PA. Today, I get to introduce myself to you as the founder of Stories In My Backyard (SIMBY). SIMBY is a Philadelphia based arts, education and social change nonprofit that provides online and in-person learning to Black womxn and girls through arts workshops, community events, and creative content. This is our soft launch which means we’ll officially become a 501(c)(3) next year but this year, we just could not wait to continue the work we’ve already been doing in the Philadelphia community. This pandemic has created a need we're excited to help fill. We’ve partnered with the Philadelphia School District’s TV Station, PSTV, and this fall we’ll be providing virtual arts workshops to Black girls ages 13-24 who are Philly students. At the same time, we’ll also be building our virtual community on social media to amplify Black femxle voices in art, education and social change. Through these efforts, our goal is to create awareness and action that tackles social justice issues impacting our livelihood as Black womxn and girls. Ultimately, we’re molding creative social change agents of the future and uplifting the change makers of today. 

As the founder, my goal is to raise $50,000 by January 1, 2021 to support our volunteer efforts and to make this nonprofit an official business entity. The first $3,000 will go towards incorporation fees and the rest will cover other first year expenses to get SIMBY off of the ground: legal services, insurance, volunteer stipends, video production fees, tech hardware and software purchases, and branding and marketing fees. 

If you’d like to send a monetary gift outside of GoFundMe, here is my information:

Cash app: $StoriesInMyBackyard
Venmo: @SIMBY

Also, you can follow our journey at, on Instagram and Facebook @Storiesinmybackyard and on Twitter @_SIMBY. 

To give you some background information; I’m a 2016 graduate of J.R. Masterman High School, a 2016 Gates Millennium Scholar, a 2020 graduate of NYU Tisch’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, and an incoming graduate student of NYU Steinhardt’s digital media design for learning program. As a product of Philly public schools, I know first hand that Black youth face budget cuts, criminalization, school closings, asbestos scares and a lack of representation. Now more than ever, they need Black creative educational spaces to express themselves and to develop their voices in a world that silences them. Knowing how others have invested in me over the years, I refuse to let my personal financial hurdles impact my ability to give back to my community, especially when my service is needed during this pandemic. 

I’ve already started the work. In the video above, you’ll see that I hosted a photo workshop last fall where I co-taught ten Black girls basic photography skills. Outside of that, I've volunteered as a DJ for Philadelphia’s UAGTCA youth track meets while also photographing athletes to commemorate their experiences. As a freshman at NYU, I co-moderated a panel on diversity and inclusion in entertainment with my professor, Matthew Morrison. Upon the release of Marvel's Black Panther, I then held a roundtable discussion with my college peers to unpack themes within the film and build community around blackness at this PWI. As a sophomore, I also conducted research on Black inferiority, diversity and inclusion in public schools. And overall in my personal work, I've made it a priority to amplify the Black voice in every medium that I occupy whether it's through images I take, songs that I play as a DJ, videos I create, or topics that I cover as a writer. I've always accepted the responsibility of being the change that I want to see. So today, I’m taking my journey of service to the next level by advocating for Black liberation through creativity with Stories In My Backyard.

Thank you all so much in advance for sharing this fundraiser and investing your time, money, feedback, and resources into the realization of this vision! Your help affords me the opportunity to live in my purpose of service to the Black community. You are appreciated more than I or the Black womxn and girls you’re impacting could ever express! 

Much love,

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Kyra Williams 
Philadelphia, PA
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