This month, The Pollination Project (TPP) launched its Seeds to Trees campaign, seeking to raise $100,000 for its Impact Grant program in May. Ten days in, we are pleased to announce that thanks to generous donors, large and small, we have raised close to 30% of our goal. But there is much left to do and we need your help! In the coming days, we will share stories about the past, present, and future of Impact Grants. You will hear about what Impact Grants are, why they are critical to TPP’s mission, and how we see the program growing in strength for years to come.

Impact Grants – Past

People often ask how Impact Grants work and what makes them key to TPP’s mission. Each year, TPP awards Impact Grants, up to $5,000, to certain eligible seed grantees who have shown that their ideas have traction and are ready and able to achieve loftier goals. Impact Grantees have demonstrated success with their programs, have demonstrated strong management skills, and have shared detailed plans to scale their programs to bring even more good into the world. Impact Grantees have already been vetted and nourished as seed grantees. TPP is thrilled to continue to support proven performers as they grow from seeds…to trees!

Steve Barr with sick child in hospitalMeet Steve Barr. Steve is a professional cartoonist who suffered the loss of four loved ones to cancer. In 2014, he had an idea. What if he could use his skills to bring joy, hope, and a sense of accomplishment to children battling difficult illness in hospitals? A 2014 seed grant from TPP allowed Steve to purchase art supplies and defray travel costs and he started offering cartooning classes to pediatric patients near his home in Columbus, North Carolina. Word spread about how many children’s spirits were being uplifted and other artists started asking how they could help.

Steve was up to the challenge and TPP was there to help. In 2015, Steve received an Impact Grant to expand his effort’s geographic reach and to provide the necessary infrastructure so other artists could follow his example. It worked. Steve’s simple and warm-hearted idea began to brighten the days of more young patients. Starting as a one person operation, “Drawn To Help” now boasts a large base of committed volunteers that reaches hospitalized children all over the country. Steve received another Impact Grant this year to help him continue to expand this inspiring work.

But don’t take our word for it. Here is what Steve has to say about the project’s impact:

Each moment spent by a child’s bedside is priceless, and my own life is touched as deeply as theirs is. Every one of our volunteers will tell you the same thing. At the same time we are lifting the children up, they are lifting us up as well.

The Pollination Project’s initial seed grant was the first outside funding I received, back when I was just doing this as an individual. Receiving those funds played an integral role in providing not only financial support that led to the creation of Drawn To Help, but the behind the scenes encouragement and advice I received from TPP helped propel what I was doing on my own into an amazing organization that now serves thousands of pediatric patients each year, with an incredible array of talented volunteers with big hearts who visit hospitals in many different locations. None of this would have probably happened without TPP’s first grant, and their wonderful guidance along the way.

Steve Barr is wonderful. Steve Barr is inspiring. Steve Barr has truly grown from seed to tree! Steve Barr is only one of hundreds of Impact Grantees from TPP’s past who continue to bring their ideas for positive change to scale and helping make our world a far better place. This year, TPP identified at least 30-40 Impact Grant applicants with wonderful and inspiring ideas and plans but, sadly, did not get funding because of limited financial resources. Together, we can close this funding gap and assist more Impact Grantees as they make dreams come true. Please consider a gift to Impact Grants today. Remember, your own impact will be doubled thanks to a dollar for dollar match pledged by an anonymous and generous friend of TPP.

Thank you so much!

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