A Profile of Pollination Project Program Associate, Jamila Banks

Jamila BanksAre you curious to know about the people who work at The Pollination Project? Do you wonder how they got there, what they do, what inspires them? If you are like me, you probably answered yes!

Jamila Banks is a daily giver and one of the staff members at TPP. She is also a grantee, the mother of TPP’s youngest grantee (10 year-old Kirsten Chavis) and runs her own organization called Foster & Banks Walk in Faith Foundation. Jamila is “truly all around inspiring,” said one of her co-workers when describing her.

She lives in Los Angeles, California, a city famed as the center of USA’s film and television industry, the Hollywood sign, studios such as Paramount Pictures, Universal and Warner Brothers. People in other countries view Los Angeles as paradise, where everyone is happy and has everything. But, it wasn’t paradise for Jamila for a long time.

Abandoned by her first husband unexpectedly, she seriously struggled to support herself and her then 2-year old daughter. She went through financial issues, depression and was almost homeless at one point. This is difficult for anyone but maybe more for someone like Jamila, who is highly educated, a teacher, a counselor, and a case manager for children.

Jamila shared with me how Alissa Hauser (TPP’s Executive Director) became her mentor, her champion and how TPP helped her to get back on her feet. It all started back in 2013 when she received two grants for Foster & Banks Walk in Faith Foundation and in 2014, she started to work at The Pollination Project.

If you are a grantee, you may hear from Jamila regarding your seed grant funding, application, answering general questions. As a Program Associate, she is helping with social media (Facebook, Twitter, G+, Instagram, Flickr, LinkedIn), managing data, writing and editing announcements, among other things.

I asked Jamila what inspires her. She said: “I live to give. Each day, I strive to be a blessing to all those around me, in any way I can. I cannot save the world, and I will not be able to help everyone, but every day that I breathe, I matter, and everything I do counts.” Wow! That is truly inspiring in my world!

Jamila is a very busy mom of three now, wife, daughter, sister and continues to run her foundation. I found her to be very sensitive, caring, kind, loving, and she is right at home at The Pollination Project.

So, if you are reading this, Jamila wishes for you to find your purpose if you haven’t yet. Live it, breathe it, and walk in it daily! Would you?