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
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.
Kahlida Nicole Lloyd
Kahlida Nicole Lloyd is a believer, attorney, teacher; but most importantly a reconciler. As the founder of Mission Reconcile, Kahlida has a love for people and a love for bringing people together.
Through the vision of Mission Reconcile, Kahlida seeks to bring together the church- the body of Christ by connecting predominantly one race churches – predominantly white churches and predominantly black churches to talk about race, racism and create organic relationships through the lens of Jesus.
Kahlida is a proud graduate of Florida State University, a predominantly white institution (PWI) and North Carolina Central University School of Law, a historically black college and university (HBCU). Kahlida holds degrees in Communication, Political Science and Law.
Kahlida believes that the answer to our hurting and divided nation is the church and it starts with a conversation. Start a conversation.
Leslie brings more than 16 years of innovative program development and management in non-profits, education, government and the private sector. Specializing in new program development, she has extensive experience in stakeholder/partner identification and recruitment, contract development and compliance monitoring, outcome-based planning and managing multi-million dollar budgets. She is the founder of Off the Sideline, a health equity focused non-profit that aims to strengthen communities by providing scholarships to low-income youth that enable them to play team sports. After starting her career in social services, she spent a decade in energy-efficiency and now works for Portland Community College where she manages a team responsible for programming hundreds of non-credit and CEU course for over 25,000 students a year. She has a BA in Environmental Studies and an MA in Political Science.
Liz Buechele is the Founder and Executive Director of The Smile Project. In 2011, Liz Buechele started writing down what made her happy. One “Happiness is” at a time. This practice of daily joy grew into The Smile Project. She has worked for several nonprofit organizations including DoSomething.org, Riverside Church, the American Heart Association, YEA Camp, and the American Montessori Society.
Liz loves being involved with The Pollination Project, first as a grantee, later as a member of the Global Kindness Program, and, of course, as a grant advisor. She has had the privilege of meeting so many members of TPP’s community and feels so grateful for the lifelong friendships TPP has given her. She is passionate about youth empowerment and kindness. She enjoys writing, running, traveling, and watching the dogs at the Union Square Dog Park in New York City.
Maria de La Soledad Saburido Alvarez
Sole has been working at SOMOS Semilla since 2015, with a big mission: spread to the community the love for seeds and the importance of seed saving for biodiversity preservation. SOMOS Semilla brings education and food sovereignty to the community, strengthening the long-term health of our environment through seed saving. We work to provide seeds and educational tools and materials. We believe that seed saving is elemental for maintaining people’s traditions and cultural identity.
Sole is from Galicia, Spain, has a PhD in Plant Biology, and is co-founder and co-coordinator fo SOMOS Semilla Community Seed Library, in San Miguel de Allende, México, where she lives with her husband and two kids. She passionately teaches Simple Living courses, about making your own natural and sustainable health and self care products, natural dyes and eco-print for textiles, and wild fermentations for make your own “medicine” foods.
More formal BIO: Soledad Saburido Álvarez has been the coordinator, together with Jennifer Ungemach, Emily C-D and Mariana Macías, of the Somos Semilla Seed Library, in San Miguel de Allende (Guanajuato, Mexico) since 2015. Born in Galicia, Spain, she has a degree in Plant Biology and she did her doctorate with a thesis based on the study of the evolution and genetics of common beans. In 2012 she arrived to Mexico to make a postdoctoral stay at the National Laboratory of Genomics for Biodiversity (Langebio), Cinvestav; and after that period she began the first […]
Maria Maneos earned her Bachelor’s of Fine Art Degree from Arcadia University located in Glenside, Pa and accomplished her Masters of Fine Art Degree from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts located in Philadelphia, PA. Her paintings have been shown extensively in the Philadelphia area in such galleries as Artists’ House in Old(e) City and Art in City Hall as well as some galleries in the New York Metropolitan area.
In 2013 she started the now nonprofit program, Brush with the Law. The idea to start this: (1) stemmed from her work at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Rehabilitation located in Philadelphia where she developed and implemented a class and worked with the patients (elderly, stroke victims, disabled veterans, dementia) of the facility using the arts for therapeutic purposes, and (2) her son’s unforeseen addiction to heroin that inevitably led to his arrest, conviction, and sentencing to prison for a non-violent offense.
Visiting him in jail brought to light for her the lack of, or for the most part nonexistent rehabilitative programming absent within most of our country’s overcrowded and overburdened prison system. Her son’s experiences shattered Maria’s illusions concerning the rehabilitative goals enshrined in the charter of correctional institutions. She soon learned that inmates for the majority of the day have few – if any – emotional, educational, or social outlets, to help alleviate, and lessen feelings of self-defeat, depression, and cynicism that ultimately further entraps them in a […]
Mary-Justine Todd, an international humanitarian expert consultant, with more than ten years of experience, has a Master’s Degree in International Public Health, from New York University, as well as a Master’s of Arts in International Studies, from the University of Iowa. Both degrees and much of her work has been focused on refugees, internally displaced people, and specifically, women from under-privileged communities, post conflict zones, and humanitarian disaster areas.
Mary-Justine is the founder and CEO of Women’s Crisis Care International (WCCI), through which she initiated the first and only violence crisis intervention program for women in the Arabian gulf and the Middle East. She is a New York State rape crisis counselor, a certification which she earned from Columbia University Hospitals in New York City, where she was also the President of the advisory board for their violence crisis response program.
She has been working in, managing and evaluating humanitarian and health programs around the world including in places such as NYC, Liberia, Tanzania, Afghanistan, Bahrain and Kuwait. She is fluent in English, Swahili, French and is learning Arabic. In 2014, Mary-Justine received a seed grant from The Pollination Project in support of her work with WCCI.
Matthew is dedicated to ending middle school bullying one student at a time. When his younger brother was bullied at their middle school, Mathew wanted ‘somebody’ to do ‘something’ about it. The summer of his 8th grade year, he created The Be ONE Project, a community-building and bullying-prevention nonprofit organization for middle school students.
Through team-building games, activities, and guided discussions, Be ONE fosters empathy through shared experience. Students learn to celebrate similarities, rather than tear each other apart over differences. To date, The Be ONE Project has reached more than 5,000 students across four different states. Today, Matthew leads a team of dedicated program presenters that work with students across Arizona.
Matthew is currently an undergraduate at Duke University, where he self-designed a major around the theme of positive psychology. He was a recipient of a seed grant from The Pollination Project and later named TPP’s Thanksgiving Hero in 2013.
Maulidi Hamisi Mwinyikai is from Mtongwe, Mombasa and has professional experience as a trained Environmental Activist, a renowned art and development practitioner in community development, health care, and team building. In 2000 Maulidi was trained as a peer educator, organized by Mtongwe Community Initiative, Family health options Kenya and Action Aid Kenya. From 2007 to 2013 was trained as a professional actor,
working in a theatre company, During the training he thought about the youth back in Mombasa and wondered what he could do to change their lives. When he got back home he mobilized youths and started a community based organization: Kishoka Youth Organization. The organization is an Art, Development and Environmental community based organization which does work aimed at Youth Empowerment and Environmental issues.
Maulidi is dedicated in mobilizing young people and assisting them identify their potential so as to make the world a better place, to have more influence in society by participating in positive social change and to help people reuse and reduce plastic waste in a creative way. He is excited about the opportunity to assist other grantees through mentorship and cross-pollination as an East African Leader, and looks forward to working with passion and integrity to support TPP’s grant making at the grassroots level.
Mbusa Bahweribugha Eric
Mbusa Bahweribugha Eric is the Founder and Programs Director of MUB – Home Foundation. MUB – Home Foundation is a Community Based Organization for women working to improve the living conditions of the under privileged community members who in their context includes women, children, youth, elderly, people with disabilities, people affected and infected with HIV/AIDS and those with life threatening illnesses. It is a not-for-profit, community based organization that was started in the year 2005.
Eric is a double trained teacher and has certified courses in Human Rights Approaches for Programming, Grants Management, Fundraising, Monitoring and Evaluation.
Eric believes that everybody has the potential to live a better life; given the Opportunity, Education and Motivation, anyone can become someone admirable. Nobody is a nobody, everybody is somebody.
Miriam is passionate about empowering unprivileged youth, especially girls from the informal settlements through information and computer technology, “ICT”. She believes that we are all equals but we don’t get the same opportunities. She says, “I am where I am today because I got a life changing opportunity that has shaped me to the person I am today.” Her vision is to give these youth an opportunity to education by facilitating ICT trainings in the informal settlements so they can be able to use the skills to get jobs or venture into entrepreneurship.
After graduating from NairoBits Trust with a Diploma in ICT, she has been privileged to work in different organizations including NairoBits, where she currently runs the Girls in ICT project. Miriam has also initiated her own initiative, Maendeleo Mtaa, which aims to reach out to more youths through ICT. Miriam’s objective is to reduce youth unemployment, thus eradicating poverty in the informal settlements and contributing to broader social change.
To read more about Miriam’s Pollination Project Grant, click here.
Nathan is currently a resident in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics in Chicago. He has experience partnering with clinics in South Africa to use text messaging to help people living with HIV or Tuberculosis stay healthy. More broadly, he is passionate about using low-cost and sustainable technology to improve the health of underserved communities around the world.
Living and learning through the awakening experiences of Vippassana Meditation, Inippi ceremony, and many other transformational, synchronistic events in her journey, Olympia Auset has became steadfast in her commitment to creating infrastructure for a better earth. Having lived in neighborhoods across Los Angeles throughout her life, she has become very familiar with the differences in creativity, potential, and happiness which accompany differing food landscapes. She knows that no collective shift can be had without engaging the least empowered people, and no empowerment is possible without access to quality food- so she has set out to create a building block for our collective upliftment with SÜPRMARKT.
SÜPRMARKT brings affordable produce to the people and places that need it most in a weekly pop-up and subscription service poised to create a culture of equal access and conscious consumerism across the board. Since starting in 2016, SÜPRMARKT has served up hundreds of cases of organic produce and has been featured by Afropunk, Blavity, LA Weekly, and Forbes. 1.3 million people living in South LA have access to just 60 grocery stores and 23.5 million Americans are food insecure. With innovation, information, and inspiration as the heart of its operations, this is the climate SÜPRMARKT is working to change.
In addition to her role as founder of SÜPRMARKT, Olympia serves on the board of her local cooperative grocery, […]
Paul Talliard is founder of Hands of Honour, a Social Enterprise based in Cape Town, South Africa. Hands of Honour creates jobs for people who have experience hardship by up-cycling goods for sale. The program also has an environmental element – corporations act as partners, ‘donating their unwanted goods or obsolete stock rather than sending it to landfill .
Paul is the creator of the Angel Classroom on Wheels, a fully equipped fold-up Mini-Library and Puppet Theatre designed for children in vulnerable and under-resourced early learning centres. The classroom supports three learning areas: Numeracy, Literacy and Life-Skills, and is equipped with educational aids and reading books. In 2016, 20 Early Learning Centres benefited from a sponsored Angel Classroom on Wheels, with another 20 earmarked for delivery in January/February 2017.