Elizabeth Agnello and Her “Brave Little Fighters” Know What a Heaven’s For

by | Aug 15, 2019 | Seeds: Our Blog

Elizabeth Agnello couldn’t help but get emotional. She had just received an unexpected check for $2,500 from a local who, despite not having an ill child of his own, believed in the mission of her Buffalo, NY-based non-profit, Brave Little Fighters (BLF), which aims to ease the heartache, uncertainty, and fears of children with life-threatening and terminal illnesses through carefree, free-of-charge outings with their families.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Agnello said, the pure joy clearly evidenced by the crack in her voice. “We are so reliant on the generosity of our community … it’s so wonderful that our community members feel as though they can be a part of contributing to [BLF] and making it grow as much as possible.”

In addition to the generosity of her community, who Agnello said welcomed her organization with “open arms,” Agnello credits the initial seed grant she received from The Pollination Project as a reason for BLF’s success. “We gained credibility as a result of the TPP grant, and in many ways, it’s responsible for the donations we’ve received since and the additional grants that we hope to come later.”

Focused on serving families in Buffalo’s close-knit community, BLF has also received media attention, including articles in The Buffalo News, the Bee and Sun newspapers, Sweet Buffalo, the Penfield Post, Spectrum News, and Totally Buffalo. The organization, which just received its seed funding from TPP last December, has already grown to service an incredible 125 families.

“We used the TPP funds to throw a Christmas party … we had a beautiful luncheon at the American Legion. The venue was donated because the veterans were touched by our mission. We had a veteran dress up like Santa Claus, and Our Lady of Charity, a local church, donated 75 beautifully wrapped toys. Along with raising our profile, the party gave the children a wonderful outing and provided the parents and siblings of the children an opportunity to form friendships and support circles.”

Since their inception, BLF has already had an astounding 15 outings and hopes to increase that number to 22 by the end of the year. “Our mission resonates with so many Buffalonians, and we have been so fortunate to have received so many in-kind donations for the outings.”
Along with founding and running BLF, Agnello somehow also manages to work a full-time job—but she’d love for BLF to be her main gig one day. “My most sincere hope is that we will be able to achieve sustainable growth … that five years down the road, BLF is a household name. We’re achieving at a pace where that is possible. The more we welcome, the more we can do.”

So, what keeps Agnello going, especially on those days where she’s working full-time, planning outings and events, and writing grants? “I do this work because I’m so passionate about it; ever since I was a young child, I felt a strong empathy for the most vulnerable children. But, I think there might just be a little more than passion at work, too … I want to serve a purpose much greater than myself and that is contributing to the lives of children who don’t have it nearly as easy as others, but who want to be treated or looked at just like everyone else — they truly want to fit in and find a place of belonging. I think our mission helps [with that] a lot, for when they become part of the Brave family, it connects them with others facing similar levels of uncertainty and isolation.”

Agnello also shares a quote that motivates her every day, a quote that her father, who passed away of pancreatic cancer, used to say to her: “Let your reach exceed your grasp, or what’s a heaven for?”

TPP is thrilled to have supported Agnello and BLF, and we know that nothing is beyond their “reach.”


It's Volunteer Month! 🌟 🌟 🌟 Today we celebrate our grant advisors working on Economic Development focus area.

By meticulously selecting projects for our seed grants, they're not just funding ideas—they're empowering communities and sparking transformative change. 

Join us in celebrating their invaluable efforts and the positive impact they're creating together!

🔸 Eric Anorrey (Ghana)
🔸 Mariam Nakiryowa (Uganda)
🔸 Jean-Marie Zihalirwa (DRC)
🔸 Emily Logiron Asekon (Kenya)
🔸 Georgia Bernbaum (USA) 
🔸 Herve Tsoala Kuete (Cameroon)
🔸 Jackson Bizimungu (Rwanda)
🔸 Okumu Dickson (Uganda)
🔸 Samuel Litunya (Kenya)


#volunteermonth #volunteer #heartivism #economicdevelopment #change #empoweringcommunities
The Green Earth Initiative (#Cameroon) is a project dedicated to educating and empowering students about climate change, sustainable development, and environmental challenges, that has received a seed grant from The Pollination Project in 2023. With a focus on fostering environmental protection and conservation, the initiative establishes Eco-clubs and Environment Clubs in schools, providing students with the tools to learn, engage, and take action in their communities.

Since receiving the grant from TPP, the Green Earth Initiative has expanded its reach, now encompassing 9 additional schools across two regions/cities, surpassing its initial goal of 5. 
This expansion was made possible by the overwhelming interest from school authorities and the growing number of volunteers and team members.

Through the support of TPP and other partners, the project's environmental education programs, awareness campaigns, and initiatives have impacted over 8000 students in two cities of Cameroon. Additionally, the initiative has planted over 600 trees, launched 5 Environment/Eco Clubs, and distributed over 150 adapted waste bins produced from recycled plastics, contributing to proper waste management practices.

The seed grant from The Pollination Project has been instrumental in catalyzing the growth and success of the Green Earth Initiative, enabling it to make a tangible difference in the lives of students and communities, while fostering a culture of environmental stewardship and sustainability. 

#environmentprotection #seedgrant #heartivism #environmentaleducation
It's Volunteer's Month!!! 🌟 Celebrating our family of Grant Advisors 🌟

With 80 grant advisors, all experts in their respective fields and many of them former grantees, The Pollination Project is powered by a wealth of knowledge and experience. Their service is not only precious but also essential, as they bring unique insights and understanding to the application process, ensuring that resources are allocated where they can have the greatest impact. 

🎉 Today we celebrate our incredible grant advisors in the HEALTH & WHOLENESS focus area! 

🔸 Ben Kilama (Uganda) 
🔸 Kosa Jimmy (Uganda) 
🔸 Marina Haque (USA) 
🔸 John Ebong (Nigeria) 
🔸 Nzayisenga Emmanuel (Canada)
🔸 Rodger Mwanza (Zambia) 
🔸 Emmanuel Dushimimana (Rwanda) 
🔸 Nelly Hellen Onditi (Kenya) 
🔸 Daniel Ayodele Femi (Nigeria) 
🔸 Christopher Nwafor (South Africa)

Our heartfelt gratitude to these dedicated individuals for their invaluable contributions 🙏

@jim.kosa.5 @manud05 @duemmanuel @nelly.hellen1 @daniel_ayodele_femi 

#health #wholeness #grantmaking #grantadvisor #volunteermonth #volunteers #grants #heartivism #volunteersweek #nigeria #southafrica #uganda #rwanda #zambia #canada