You’re HERE. Reading this blog. Trying to figure out – “should I go for a Pollination Project seed grant?” [Hopefully] You’ve checked out the website to see the photos and videos of people doing the things they love, working with and for the people they truly care about: and in this case, you’re seeing the smiling/inquisitive/accomplished/supported faces of kids, teens, youth, and young adults from around the world. And the world as we know it is … well, a large place to be.
The earth is over 4.5 billion years old, and there are more than 7 billion people living in, on, and around it: it is safe to say that humankind has probably been thinking about itself for as far back as we were able.
A significant part of these thoughts has centered around our relationships to children, the children of those once children, and so forth (or else we might not be here having this conversation). Throughout the earthly timeline, the age ranges in our populations have fluctuated. Yet, in the 21st century – we can say that nearly 1 of every 2 people inhibiting a living body on the planet called Earth would be considered “young” or “youth.” To bring this discussion closer to home, in the United States at least 25% of the people are under the age of 21; and Millennials in general are the largest group of people on the planet at this time.
Everyday, young people grow keen awareness that the state of our existence is often dependant on our interest to do something. Youth are not sitting back when it comes to ending gun violence in neighborhoods and schools. Youth are not sitting back as the trash gyres in the ocean are piling up on shores and harming the life cycles of marine life. Youth are not sitting back as preventable health epidemics sweep their state. Youth are not sitting back as realities of migration make sensible one narrative and cast shame on non-Eurocentric movements. Youth will not and should sit back. When we look at collective histories across the globe: it is often the youth who are organizing, it is often the children who demonstrate compassion, and sometimes there are those adults (parents, teachers, supervisors, legislators, etc.) who vacate the platform for the youth voice to emerge. So, this is no time to sit back – rather this is the time to shift opportunity so the youth can fulfil the passion-purpose that we are all here to live out.
So you are here, and you’ve decided that “yes, I am going to apply for a seed grant – but I’m not sure I can get funded to run this program for youth.” Perhaps you are part of that 25-30% of the USA we call youth. Or perhaps your youth is behind you, but you know that you have some know-how that should be imparted, some wisdom to share, or a calling to serve our young people. Perhaps you already even have some volunteers who are ready to help, a space for your work, or the other initial pieces which support your dream.
You may never had applied for a grant or funding to make one of your ideas become a reality – but you know the work needs financial support to acquire tools; cover transportation; build awareness; get instructor(s) to work with this group of young people; and more. Wherever you are in the USA, however old you are, whether you are part of a formal organization or not, you can submit your project idea for a $500-$1000 grant to work with young people living in communities you have relationship with– and we look forward to reviewing your application!
The Youth Leadership Program is chaired by five unique leaders throughout the U.S. We (like you) have made a commitment to deliver and grow community placed programs that work for the betterment of young people. We (like you) believe there is a need for more intentional service learning, hard and soft skill development, pathways to leadership, and fulfillment of general life necessities. We are not your average “I say jump – you say how high” kind of leaders when it comes to working with youth. We know that it is an ongoing process that really is about the experience of the young people we work with.
We (like you) know that there isn’t simply one way to do this work. We believe in taking risks, supporting new ideas, and that no stone should be left unturned as we work to reveal and support the ways that the youth of today will innovate, sustain, and scale the future of a just world for all. After all, did you know that the youth of today are the most diverse (ethnically, nationally, and “socially connected”) generation to date; yet, simultaneously, they are often the most under resourced bunch of innovators? We (like you) started with a mental note, that became a conversation, that became the idea for a plan, that then became a strategy to implement – with a goal to positively affect the lives of younger people and those around them.
We know that the true value in a project isn’t always reflected in the numbers (though they are very important to have). We know that value of a project is built over time by way of social capital, visibility, and willingness of the community to commit to this new venture. We value these things as we read your applications, whether it is the interest of your close community that affirms your project idea; the interest of the young people who want to participate; or the people who want to volunteer and/or donate their resources to support the project. We want to know your stake in this work. Use this application to bring your authentic truth to the forefront. Tell us honestly why you care, where your confidence in your ideas success comes from, and especially what you have done so far to make this idea a reality. You don’t have to have all the bells and whistles – even our team is “still learning,” using free/freemium platforms or services to run our programs … however, we can literally show and tell you the picture(s) of our impact with young people.
We are seeking applicants who are passionate, well intentioned (less saviours, more collaborators), and have a demonstrated connection with the community. We want to know that you are in this work from longer than a one-time-one-project timeframe, and that you’ve been resourceful to move your project forward. We cannot guarantee that all proposals will be funded – and this should not stop you. We can promise that our fund will be used to launch seed stage projects that at their core, to benefit youth in a relevant and timely way. We look forward to expanding the TPP Grantee Network – and we can only do that with (YOU)th!