#ShiftHappens
Live to Give

Live to Give

The wisest thing I ever learned was to take advantage of every opportunity. By this I mean not the opportunity to expand your own sense of mastery of the world, but the opportunity to expand your service to the world. If you gain something external it can be taken...

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Forgiveness

Forgiveness

Last week, the comedian Dave Chapelle hosted Saturday Night Live. Addressing the deep division in America following the most recent political election, he urged Americans to find a way to forgive each other. I was talking about this with a friend, who took issue with...

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Invest in Kindness

Invest in Kindness

We are now beginning to realize what you may have already known would be true: a political election is not a miracle cure for COVID-19, racism, poverty, or anything else. Our deepest divisions, inequities, and suffering will not vanish magically overnight. We can’t...

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The Fine Line Between Success and Failure

The Fine Line Between Success and Failure

In a world of outcomes and data points we often measure success externally; How much money? How many people? How quickly? Success is so often viewed quantitatively rather than qualitatively, with the underlying assumption that big means better. This reminds me of an...

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Totis Viribus

Totis Viribus

Today I learned a new phrase – “Totis Viribus,” which means “with all one’s might.” Living life purposefully takes effort. It takes work to focus our path in an intentional way; being consciously compassionate is a daily and deliberate practice. It takes all our...

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Humility is a wise teacher

Humility is a wise teacher

Humility is a wise teacher. To be humble is to admit when we may not know everything, which is a prerequisite to learning and growth. It allows us to listen, which is a state of openness that assumes something new and valuable is being shared. A structural challenge...

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Sides To a Story

Sides To a Story

How many times have you heard someone say “there are two sides to every story?” We are taught to frame our thinking in these dualistic terms, with even our most significant and complex cultural conversations unfolding on this binary framework. Pro-life versus...

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What makes you happy?

What makes you happy?

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” Ralph Waldo Emerson Last week, we shared the...

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It’s the little things

It’s the little things

My father had a friend, I call him my uncle but he is so much more than that. His name is Vijay and he remains the happiest man I have ever known. He founded a large accountancy firm in his region, employing many people. He was successful and well respected in...

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The Direction of the River

The Direction of the River

It has been said that a person cannot step in the same river twice, for it is not the same river and you are not the same person. In case we needed a reminder, 2020 has shown us the relentless constancy of change. In theory, change is a hopeful thing that many of us...

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Direct Giving Promotes Diversity

Direct Giving Promotes Diversity

For much of history, giving happened directly. You saw a neighbor in need, and reached into your pocket to offer what you could to help; or perhaps a friend told you about a worthy idea, and you banded together to build a new community center or dig a well. Service...

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Beyond the horizon

Beyond the horizon

Recently, I was looking out over the horizon of the San Francisco bay. This is usually a view that inspires; the shimmering water, the blue sky, and the spectacular outline of the mountains can captivate even the most cynical of hearts. Right now, all this beauty is...

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Embracing the Pause

Embracing the Pause

When I was a monk, my days began with four hours of meditation. Today, my life looks very different and the demands on my time have increased; I have my team at The Pollination Project to think of, and I am also a husband, father, and community volunteer. Even still,...

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Jim Rivett: Guardian of the Worthwhile

Jim Rivett: Guardian of the Worthwhile

This week, Jim Rivett would have turned 62. Although I never met him, I continue to be inspired by him. Jim died in 2018, but he packed so much life and love into his years on earth that the reverberations of his legacy continue to ripple out. Jim was a boundless...

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We believe in you

We believe in you

Perhaps you have dreamed of a project that would make the world a better place, but worried you needed to wait for large donations to make it happen. I am here to release you from that misconception. I am here to tell you that you can have an indelible impact in your...

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Theory of Change #3: Inner Transformation

Theory of Change #3: Inner Transformation

As grassroots service and individual action bloom in the world, we believe it is important that each changemaker cultivates a lush and verdant inner garden, too. This is why we advance the ideas of #heartivism, which is the intersection of heart and activism.

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The New Normal

The New Normal

Life before COVID was hurried; overcrowded with overwork, overeating, overscheduling, overthinking… “over” just about everything for a great many people. Perhaps in this great collective pause, we have a moment without those distractions to think about what it would mean to build the kind of “normal” that was worth returning to.

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Foundation Giving, or “The Human Anthill”

Foundation Giving, or “The Human Anthill”

Ants can assemble themselves into living bridges or rafts to escape a flood. Although they are small, they accomplish a lot by focusing on different things and dividing jobs within the colony. But who decides what job each ant does? Who organizes foraging, or mobilizes defense against predators? Who is in charge? In short, nobody.

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Flowing it Forward

Flowing it Forward

To understand flow funding, it first helps to know who makes our funding decisions. Each application we receive is reviewed by at least three “advisors,” which is our term for members of our participatory grantmaking team. The majority of these 100+ volunteers are changemakers whose own work was funded by The Pollination Project in the past.

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On being essential, and being “other”

On being essential, and being “other”

What does it mean to be “essential”? Two weeks before he was assassinated, Dr. Martin Luther King hinted at the answer as he stood at the pulpit of a church in Memphis, Tennessee. He told the overflowing crowd that: “So often we overlook the work and the significance...

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Transformational Trust

Transformational Trust

It was a Monday in early March when I met with Lauren, James, and Carolyn on our executive team. We were starting to see the writing on the wall: COVID-19 was going to fundamentally change the world, to a greater extent than we could have ever imagined. It didn’t make sense to continue “business as usual.” In that meeting, we made a decision: we would pivot all of our focus to supporting frontline grassroots volunteers fighting COVID-19. We never looked back.

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First Responders in the Pollination Nation

First Responders in the Pollination Nation

When you think of first responders, who comes to mind? I would wager that you are picturing lights, sirens, and official vehicles. In the case of disaster relief, you might think of FEMA or the national guard.

I bet you didn’t think about the Cajun Navy.

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