An Invitation from our Founder, Ariel Nessel
Since we launched The Pollination Project in 2012, I have been surrounded by people who’s lives are an expression of love. I have learned so much from our grantees, volunteers, advisors and our larger community.
If knowledge is really a progressive realization of our own ignorance, then I have definitely taken a big step forward in figuring out how my life can best be of service to myself and others.
Giving every day has showed me that together, we have limitless potential. To that end, I want to share a story that originally appeared in Dan Millman’s newsletter in 2005:
George, a Berkeley graduate student in mathematics, arrived late to class and quickly copied two problems for the day from the blackboard, assuming they were the homework assignment. He found them extremely difficult—the hardest the professor had ever assigned. He worked late into the night, and the next night as well, trying without success to solve them. But he persisted, and several days later, he experienced a breakthrough. George slipped his solutions into a pile of papers on the professor’s desk the following day. On a Sunday morning not long after, George was awakened by a pounding on his door. George was surprised to find his professor, who exclaimed, “George, you’ve solved them!”
“Yes,” George answered. “Wasn’t I supposed to?”
The professor explained that those two problems were not homework, but famous problems that had puzzled the world’s leading mathematicians— problems that George had solved in a few days. George Dantzig is now a mathematics professor at Stanford University. His feat may have inspired the critical plot point in the film Good Will Hunting. If George had known that these were two famous unsolved problems, he might not have even tried to solve them. But what George expected was doable, he did.
We are working to solve problems on our planet and in society that too many people conceive to be insurmountable. They have lost sight of their own inherent goodness and their capacity for compassionate wisdom. We have been told over and over again that people won’t change and the world cannot be moved. Yet I’ve had the daily privilege of funding people who never seem to have got that memo. A small grant of $1,000 does so much more for a fledgling social change leader than I ever even realized. (Please read a few quotes from our grantees about what $1000 can actually do).
I see only one possible future, and that is a spiritually fulfilling, socially just and environmentally sustainable human presence on the planet.
The seeds are planted in each of us. They only lack, as Thich Naht Hanh says, the conditions of sun, heat, rain, and compost in order to blossom.
Every day brings forth a new opportunity to plant a seed of generosity, compassion and possibility. Each seed we plant has the potential for exponential impact, far beyond just the dollars we give. Together, we can surely create the causes and conditions for the unmanifest to manifest.
It would be an honor to welcome you into our daily giving community.
- Ariel Nessel, Founder & President, The Pollination Project
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