Letter from Our Founder Ari Nessel

Ari, Stephie and VegetablesDear Changemakers and Potential Grantees,

We wanted to take a moment to tell you about us, why the Pollination Project was born and why we are giving money to individual change-makers like you.

While on vacation in California as a 14 year old and walking along the Venice Beach boardwalk, I came across a man with a small stand. It showed the treatment and corresponding suffering of animals whose bodies became food. I read it all very intently, and then went along my merry way to enjoy the beach and sunshine, seemingly unchanged. Eight years later, after moving to California, I was walking down that same stretch of beach.

One-hundred feet ahead of me I saw the same man with a stand in front of him. In a split second, without even walking up and re-reading the material, everything he had presented to me as a young teenager clicked.

In that moment I connected the dots to how the food choices I made contributed to great suffering. That insight led to great changes in not only what I ate, but more importantly, my perceptions around how much influence even a brief interaction with a committed activist can alter the lives of others.

As a result of this one man, who took the simple yet repetitive action of standing by the side of a busy sidewalk to express his heart, my life took a dramatic change for the better. My life is now filled with a meaning, purpose, and freedom I had never dreamed of. What has grown within me is a blessed unrest; to breathe in the suffering, ignorance, indifference, fear, and selfishness of our society and breathe out well-being, wisdom, connection, love, and generosity.

I have seen and met other true heroes. People like Nathan Runkle who, at the age of 13, formed an animal rights group that has single-handedly changed the way society thinks about “food animals”. Or Julia Butterfly Hill, who sat in a 2,000+ year old tree for over two years, and thereby saved an ancient redwood forest from being cut down and energized a movement. Or Ocean Robbins, who at the age of 14 facilitated the environmental portion of two international youth summits in Moscow and Washington, DC, and at 16 founded the influential group Youth for Environmental Sanity. Each of these young individuals had a person or people who lifted them up to achieve their greatness; a parent, an organization, a community.

If you are reading this letter, it’s probably because you have your own dream of how your life matters. For some, all you need is a bit more training or some additional inspiration. For others, all you need is a little financial seed support.

I have been blessed with an education, skills, and resources that allow me to create financial wealth. Rather than let it coagulate in a bank account, my family and I have formed The Pollination Project. We bring financial resources to help manifest your vision.

We eagerly await the opportunity to read about the goodness you want to express in the world and gratefully acknowledge your intention to be the change you wish to see in the world.

The light in us honors the light in you.
Ariel & the Pollination Project Team