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#ShiftHappens
Sharing is Caring

Sharing is Caring

"Sharing is caring" is a common phrase, yet it carries a rather uncommon meaning. A meaning that is powerful and extremely important for us to understand. To truly express the deepest caring, one must express it through the act of sharing. To share means to give...

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The Greatest Gift

The Greatest Gift

The highest expression of humanity is the spirit of serving others. In my humble opinion, our existence is inseparable from the concept of service. Everyone is serving someone or something - a nation, cause, family, one's self. Service that is directed inwards; seeks...

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Perfectly prepared

Perfectly prepared

When I entered highschool, I was blessed to have a wonderful home room teacher who went above and beyond by sharing life lessons with us. One thing he would often say was, “Perfect preparation prevents poor performance.” Often we long for spontaneity and to live in...

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#PreparedToServe Campaign – More than a feeling

#PreparedToServe Campaign – More than a feeling

How do you define care? According to the dictionary, the definition is, ‘the provision of what is necessary for the health, welfare, maintenance, and protection of someone or something.’ Care, much like its companion love, is more than a feeling. Care is an active...

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Advanced Disconnection

Advanced Disconnection

The advancement of technology has revolutionized the way we live. We have access to untold amounts of information at our fingertips, the ability to get to know people thousands of miles away, and instant shopping with next-day delivery.  In comparison to the days of...

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Conscious Feeling

Conscious Feeling

About a year ago I had surgery. I was fortunate to have a wonderful team that, even all this time later, I still recall with tremendous gratitude. Under their skillful care, the difficulties I faced for some time were healed.  Lately, I’ve been thinking in particular...

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The Place Where We Are Kind

The Place Where We Are Kind

This week, I am drawing inspiration from the Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai. In particular, his poignant piece “From The Place Where We Are Right.”  From the place where we are rightFlowers will never growIn the spring. The place where we are rightIs hard and...

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Greatness and Perfection

Greatness and Perfection

“You are not ready for independence. If we were to grant it, you would make so many mistakes.” This is the response Mahatma Gandhi received from the ruling British as he petitioned and advocated for the freedom of India.  With deep thought and gravity, Gandhi...

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Planting Seeds or Stones?

Planting Seeds or Stones?

Lately I have found inspiration in the writings of the Polish-born American Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel. Heschel’s own life was a testament to the power of the human spirit. His father died when he was just a child, and many more of his family members were murdered...

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What Philanthropy Can Learn From Afghanistan

What Philanthropy Can Learn From Afghanistan

Recently, I read the report of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction titled “What We Need to learn: Lessons from 20 Years of Afghanistan Reconstruction.”  I wanted to understand how the investment of two decades and $145 billion in...

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Heart Like a Mirror

Heart Like a Mirror

"The heart of the person before you is a mirror. See there your own form."  -Shinto proverb Most of the world’s great faith traditions teach the centrality of loving your neighbor as yourself. Iterations of the “Golden Rule” have been spoken in temples, mosques,...

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Real Friends

Real Friends

There are over 7 billion people on the planet, each born with a drive to connect. The explosion of technology means we can digitally meet new people from all over the world. Social media “friends” lists can number in the thousands, a testament to our innate interest...

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My Friend, Death

My Friend, Death

Amidst this extended season of loss and grief, my family experienced another last night. My wife’s beloved cousin left this world from cancer, leaving behind young children and a family that will deeply miss him. These moments in life, when the loss of a loved one...

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A Truer Picture

A Truer Picture

Suppose two people are on opposite ends of a vast and lush forest that stretches for many thousands of acres. One stands beside a rushing stream, watching the light play on the water. The other is in a heavily wooded thicket, so dense that very little light filters...

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Listening is Revolutionary

Listening is Revolutionary

There is a quote attributed to Abraham Lincoln that inspires me: "I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better. " So much of our social discourse has dissolved into stalemates. Now more than ever, listening may be the most revolutionary heartivist act that any...

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Banyan Grove: A Space for Heartivists

Banyan Grove: A Space for Heartivists

Inner transformation has been a foundational principle of our theory of change since our inception. We firmly believe that in order to change the world, we also have to change ourselves.  We are excited to announce that Banyan Grove, the retreat space in West Marin,...

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Make it your problem

Make it your problem

“Let me drop everything and work on YOUR problem.”  I recently saw this written on a tin sign in a novelty store. It was on a wall next to another that read “I may be old but at least I got to see all the good bands,” flanked by one reading “I’m sorry for what I said...

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Becoming Justice

Becoming Justice

Over the last year, much of America and the world waited with heavy hearts for the outcome of the case against Derek Chauvin.  This wasn’t just a fight for George Floyd. This wasn’t just a fight against Derek Chauvin. This was a fight for the soul of a nation, a fight...

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The Entire Ocean in a Drop

The Entire Ocean in a Drop

One person can’t make a difference. - 7.8 billion people At The Pollination Project, we often say that the greatest untapped resource for social change is the potential for goodness within each human heart. I’ve lived long enough to know that one person can not only...

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Activism, Identity & Service

Activism, Identity & Service

The scholar Juana Rodriguez defines activism as “an engagement with hauntings of history, a dialogue between memories of the past and the imaginings of the future manifested through the acts of our own present yearning.” Her work examines the relationship between...

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Never Waste A Good Crisis

Never Waste A Good Crisis

The New York winter was beginning and I had just made a decision that was going to change life as I knew it. After a deep and prolonged time of contemplation, I came to a realisation - I had grown as much as I was going to grow as a monk. The time had come to hang up...

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Activism Takes Both Hands

Activism Takes Both Hands

Growing up in a working class town to immigrant parents, I found myself in the same kinds of mischief common to young boys the world over. And like many children, I was adept at justifying my actions whenever I was caught. Particularly in cases where I felt I was the...

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Seek and ye shall find

Seek and ye shall find

I have a dear friend who is a gifted biologist. Hiking with her, she always manages to notice a ring snake among the leaves, the curved tail of a salamander just below a river rock, or the fluttering wings of some reclusive bird species high up in the canopy. I...

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Seeds to Trees

Seeds to Trees

Here in California, the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada range are the only natural habitat of the Giant Sequoia, the largest trees on earth. The majesty of these living giants is truly something to behold; some have even been measured to be more than 300 feet...

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Friends and Enemies

Friends and Enemies

“Every year, we receive many more applications than we can fund. While we value your work, we regret to inform you that we are unable to fund your application at this time, but wish you the very best in the future.”  Anyone who has experience in seeking grant funding...

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Living Your Legacy

Living Your Legacy

As you will read in our “Changemaker of the Week” blog this week, many of us are thinking of our friend, changemaker, and advisor Paul Talliard who recently passed away. Have you had moments like this that leave you considering the idea of legacy? When I am overcome...

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A Blade Of Grass Is The Journeywork Of The Stars

A Blade Of Grass Is The Journeywork Of The Stars

“A blade of grass is the journeywork of the stars.” -Walt Whitman What does the term “grassroots” bring up for you? For many it hearkens to street protests and the counterculture revolution of the 1960s. Perhaps for others it connotes efforts a lack...

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The Hole-y Bucket

The Hole-y Bucket

Earlier this week, our friends at Service Space retold Gopal Dada’s story of “The Hole-y Bucket” in their “Awakin Weekly” email. I was so moved by it and the significance I think it holds for our work at The Pollination Project that I felt compelled to share it with...

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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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