Our Grant Advisors
We believe that the best people to review grant applications are those who have personal experience working on similar initiatives. Our grant review team includes Pollination Project grantees and other trusted individuals working on many different issues around the world. A minimum of 3 people on this team reviews each qualified application. Together, they use the breadth of their experience to make the funding decisions for our grants
Desire Johnson-Forte is an Oakland native who received her B.A in English from Mills College (Creative Writing) and minor in Ethnic Studies. Between her full time work and passion oriented consulting: she uses shared narrative to transform the possibilities society & culture have outlined for black youth;a budding innovator of pilot-program participatory implementation & monitoring. She works full-time as the Downtown TAY Program Manager, and is a youth co-facilitator at Oakland’s Youth Impact Hub. In between time she runs her (3) social enterprises: the BIZ Stoop (educational consulting, life style curation, and youth development); Damn Good Teas (natural ready-made herbal tea beverage); and Luv Euphor (crafts & artisan goods).
Elle Morgan’s diverse experience ranges from being a counselor at a youth wilderness center, a teacher at an inner city arts/career learning center and a newspaper and magazine writer. As a freelance writer she covers topics on health and wellness, spirituality, and women’s leadership.
She lives in State College, PA with her husband Terry and their dog Willy. She is currently the director of a retreat center on 36-acres of woodland in Clearfield County where she runs her program, The Elements of New Life Scripts for at-risk youth, women and anyone interested in personal transformation.
Elli Weisbaum grew up in the world of education and mindfulness, attending her first mindfulness retreat at the age of 10. In high-school she began creating and co-facilitating workshops with her mother for parents and at-risk youth that used mindfulness as a basis for personal transformation and conflict resolution.
She is currently completing a Master’s degree at York University’s Environmental Studies program, focused on cultivating mindfulness in education. She has also worked as a producer in the film industry, and has used her knowledge of film production to create several short documentary films exploring mindfulness as a secular education tool.
Over the past three years, Elli has toured with monastics in the tradition of Nobel Peace Prize nominee, scholar and internationally renowned Zen master, Thich Nhat Hanh (a.k.a. the Plum Village Community), to bring mindfulness into schools and universities around the world. This work has included a tour of universities on the East Coast of the United States, a conference at the American School in London, organizing a program development intensive at the European Institute of Applied Buddhism in Germany, co-facilitating workshops in Bhutan, in coordination with the Gross National Happiness (GNH) Centre, along with one month of workshops for teachers, parents and students, at schools in New Delhi, India.
In the Summer of 2012, she became the international program coordinator for Plum Village’s mindfulness in education initiative entitled “Wake Up Schools”, working from their centres in France, Germany and the United States. Her ongoing work with Plum Village focuses on […]
Emmanuel is a graduate of the London School of Economics and Political Science, UK. He has enormous interest in international development and has working experience in both the NGO sector as well as the private sector. Emmanuel worked as a Consultant for CARE International, UK providing research and advisory services on its Cocoa Life Project (a partnership with Mondelez International) in Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire. He examined the role of farmer-based organizations in enhancing smallholder participation in agricultural value chains in West Africa. The work explored and better defined the key drivers and challenges of farmer based organizations in Ghana and Ivory Coast in facilitating an effective and sustainable participation of smallholders in agricultural value chains, while it also outlined recommendations for most appropriate support.
He is currently working to help build agricultural portfolios within rural communities in Ghana through private-public partnership with business and corporate organizations. He has previously worked with the Global Fund for Aids, and with the AngloGold Ashanti Malaria Control Programme in Ghana as the Procurement/Logistics Officer for its Southern Ghana operations. He is also experienced in the private sector, having worked with reputable companies within the banking, telecommunication and mining industries in Ghana such as HFC Bank, MTN and AngloGold Ashanti in the past.
Felipe is an anthropologist with wide experience in the hospitality industry managing companies in Colombia, Ecuador and United States. After many years in this industry, he left to find fulfillment in Asia, as he felt life was more than a supposedly successful career. He lived there for a few years with rural communities receiving teachings from traditional masters. He returned to Colombia to found La Juanita Finca Verde
This rural transformation platform combines ancient traditions and knowledge with vanguard developments. Establishing balanced relationships with the natural, social, and cultural environment, La Juanita Finca Verde has become a social innovation referent. Various projects including Cinético , a rural wandering cinema, ConectArte which provides education methodologies, the organization of various TEDx events at non conventional locations, are planting transformation in Colombia, to harvest well-being and peace at rural regions.
He is investigation teacher of the graduate program of Education Projects Mediated by Technologies at the University of the Sabana.
George Reginald Freeman is a dedicated sexual health educator, feminist, researcher, circular transformation agent, and human rights defender for people marginalized and discriminated against on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.
He provides training, moral and technical support to African asylum seekers, undocumented immigrants, migrants and refugees including LGBTQI people in Spain, Germany, Belgium and France with their asylum process and court proceedings. In partnership with UNHCR Catalan Committee, George has been a champion and motivational speaker through the awareness-raising campaign titled “We listen to Refugees”, financed by different public administrations of the Government of Catalonia since 2014.
With support from The Pollination Project (TPP) in 2017, George published the first report in Spain titled “Unveil the Lens of Unspoken Reality” which highlights challenges and proffer recommendations currently implemented to minimize the rate of discrimination and other degrading and inhumane treatment asylum seekers, immigrants and refugees encounter.
He has worked extensively in national and international research on sexual reproductive health and human rights of LGBTQI people, youths, street children, and women’s human rights within the Mano River Union, especially in Sierra Leone.
George was the first person that spoke out publicly and actively engaged Sierra Leone Youth Coalition on HIV/AIDS, National AIDS Secretariat, Ministry of Health and Sanitation National AIDS Control Program ensuring that LGBTQI issues are factored in the mandate of the operational and strategic implementation plan with free access to treatment for sexual transmitted infections and condoms respectively. Regarding […]
Hana is a proud Egyptian currently finishing up her B.A at Wesleyan University in CT. Her curiosity about people around her and their stories led her to Anthropology. Nothing brings her more joy than overthinking and endlessly questioning the motivations behind the smallest of actions to place them in our common grand narrative. Hana is especially interested in stories that highlight the overarching system of oppression and the endless undercurrents of its resistance. Hana has recently entered the progressive philanthropy movement as an intern at the Indie Philanthropy Initiative. She is excited to continue to support work that is challenging the status quo of giving, centering social returns and reimagining impact by taking risks.
Ijeoma Nmeregini popularly known as Aijay Desmond is a Nigerian-born award-winning singer, a song writer, and a licensed Medical Laboratory Scientist with over a decade of experience in Laboratory Medicine. Ijeoma runs a non-profit in Nigeria known as Be-In-Health Foundation (www.bihefoundation.org) which provides free healthcare services and medication for people living in low-income neighbourhoods and rural communities with great focus on Non-Communicable (Chronic) Diseases (NCDs). The organisation’s interventions also include advocacy/raising awareness (including self-care educator programs), screening and providing support systems by way of patient referrals to local general hospitals. In addition, Be-In-Health Foundation provides water and sanitation facilities to rural communities that need them.
As the Executive Director of Be-In-Health Foundation, Ijeoma is responsible for designing new high-impact partnerships, managing relationships with important external stakeholders, and serving as an internal and external ambassador of the initiative.
Ijeoma was formerly the Head of the Laboratory Services Department of the Nigerian Navy Sickbay in Lagos and the Operations Manager Lifeblood Donor Foundation, Nigeria.
She is a Hive Alumna, a Young African Leadership Institute (YALI) RLC Alumna and in 2017, she became one of the 100 young Nigerians selected for the prestigious Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders where she trained in Civic Leadership at Drexel University, Philadelphia, USA.
Ijeoma has several certification (trainings) in the healthcare space from different universities in the United States including a certificate in Grant Writing from Appalachian State University, North Carolina, USA.
She is a member of the American […]
Iweka Kingsley is the Author of DAPPLED THINGS and the Founder of Africa-OnTheRise, an online media platform that monitors, analyses and publishes ONLY positive and progressive content on Africa, for which he received a Pollination Project grant.
He believes that conversations play a critical role in shaping people’s opinions and influencing their decisions and actions, and if we are able to change the nature of conversations that Africans have, especially with young people, then we can inspire hope and actions towards building a better continent by the year 2030.
Jacqueline has dedicated herself to social good projects both personally and professionally for over two decades, but it was Motherhood that inspired her to make a world of difference. Jacqueline is the mother of three boys (3, 4, and 7 yrs).
In 2010 she made a commitment with her oldest son to give back to the world every day for one year. They called it 365give and documented it via a blog as a way to teach others the value of giving. In 2014 she has taken 365give to new heights. Now as a not for profit organization 365give educates children in elementary schools how they too can give every day. In 2014, Jacqueline received a Pollination Project grant to support her work.
Jenna is an event coordinator, humane educator, and solutionary (a solution-oriented individual who consistently endeavors to create healthy, compassionate, and regenerative communities). Making the decision to be vegetarian at the age of 5, Jenna has always been motivated by the reward of making the world a better place. At 14 years old, Jenna initiated her first animal education program at a unique sanctuary, the same year she began college and adopted a vegan lifestyle. She has a B.S. degree in Integrative Biology, a Master of Arts degree in Humane Education, and has spent over 12 years researching the solutions to and consequences of problematic cultural eating behaviors. Jenna is an ambassador for the movement of transforming humans from a problematic species to a solutionary species and is an active event director and member of the Advisory Board for the non-profit organization, Solutionary Events. She is also the Executive Director for Vegetarians of Central Florida, an organization responsible for two of the largest vegan festivals in the country, and a member of the Board of Directors for Vegan Business Center, an initiative with the goal to support new vegan businesses. In addition, Jenna recently joined the Board of Directors for a new non-profit called VeganEvan’s Mission, a humane education program intended to change school cafeterias by empowering children in leadership positions to advocate for their health. She credits much of her success and advocacy accomplishments to the support and encouragement she […]
Jennie Kay is a long-time advocate and promoter of creative environments and safe spaces. In her professional life, she freelances as a Communication Design Specialist and spent several years working with the Burning Man Regional Network facilitating opportunities for community building, connection and free expression.
Jennie Kay is the founder and executive director of The Detroit Sanctuary Project, a community photography project aimed at capturing an image of every house of worship in the City of Detroit. Originally from Michigan, she lived on California’s Central Coast for fourteen years, however she currently resides in Seattle, Washington and is seeking any leads on fashionable wellies
Jenny Nuccio is the Founder and President of Imani Collective—a non-profit woman-empowerment program focused on defeating generational poverty through education and employment opportunities in Mombasa, Kenya and surrounding communities. The collective facilitates change by underscoring the innate value of each woman while encouraging her to learn, create, and grow to her fullest potential as an artisan, and received funding from The Pollination Project in support of this work.
With a bachelor’s degree in Leadership Development and a master’s degree in Leadership Education and Communications, Jenny has a well-rounded background in both academic research and practical application for implementing long-term solutions to the global challenge of disenfranchised women and children in developing regions. Having lived as an integral part of her Kenyan community since 2013, she is committed to the collaborative advancement of equitable opportunity for the friends she works with every day, as well as for marginalized populations world-wide.
Jenny is currently completing her Doctorate of Education in Leadership Education with an emphasis on leadership within international contexts.
She also is a lifestyle blogger and educational speaker.
In 1994, when I was about 7 years old, my parents left the village to settle in the City due to the civil war unrest in Northern Uganda. From that time until 2010 when I returned home, I lived away from my home. While away, I earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Information Technology from Nkumba University in Uganda. Once I had completed my degree, and with the spirit of volunteerism and compassion that I had towards life, I wanted to use my new knowledge and experiences gained in Information Communication Technology, leadership, debate, and sports to help my community.
So now I see myself at the forefront in helping my community recover from the destruction caused by the 23 years of civil war unrest in Northern and Uganda as a whole. This is specifically being done through formation of Community Based Organizations such as Northern Uganda Debate Society, Acholi Youths for Sustainable Development, and Kitgum Basketball Association – a basketball project for which I received a TPP grant.
In addition to my work with these organizations, I am also helping to guide and mentor groups and individuals to bridge the information gap between them and the world by promoting ICT. Again With all these experiences, I see myself as one of the next generation of change makers that will help make the world a better place to live in.
Jude Thaddues Njikem
Jude Thaddues is a youth leader with over half a decade of experience on issues of Human Rights, Gender and Youth Participation. While in secondary school, Jude started an initiative called Youth for Equality: a student initiative that raised awareness on the rights of young people. Since that time, Jude has organized conferences and symposiums and built partnerships with other organizations to empower youth and fight inequalities that girls and women face. Jude’s work focuses on issues such as child marriage, female genital mutilation, and gender based violence, while promoting Human Rights for all.
Jude is Associate Fellow at the Royal Commonwealth Society; currently Cameroon country coordinator for the Organization of African Youth; Youth Advocacy Team Member with the United Network of Young Peace builders, where he and his peers advocate for youth inclusion in peace building at the UN; and a Board Member of the Centre for Education and Entrepreneurial Development. Jude has also carried out research into the role of young people in ending child marriage, as well as research into African Youth Development.