Welcome to our blog! We use it to tell our grantee’s stories and to share more about what we are learning here at the Pollination Project.

Grantees Around the World Prove that Hope and Support are Infinite

We believe in people so we invest in people, and the latest batch of grant-recipients are proof that by supporting one another, starting with our very own communities, we can indeed change the world. We are so honored to be a small part of these advocates’ stories. Fostering peace—not violence—in rural Peru In a rural village in Peru, Rosa Sanchez is spearheading the program Niños Felices, a social-emotional initiative that fosters positive behavior, respectful relationships, self-care, self-awareness, and self-esteem in children. “Since I [...]

Philanthropy Through Youth Eyes

I was 20 years old when I received my first Pollination Project (TPP) grant. As a sophomore in college, I had recently applied to the Clinton Global Initiative Conference and submitted a commitment to action for Get Them to the Green. The project? A week-long summer camp to engage young people in Chicago with topics related to environmental science, climate change, and sustainability. My vision was grand; we’d debate the causes behind climate change, visit urban gardens in Chicago and hear from various organizations in the city working [...]

Every Piece Has It’s Part: Our Message to [YOU]th Applying for a TPP Seed Grant

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 [...]

Kindness…In All Shapes and Sizes

Global Kindness and Youth Leadership Team Members Happiness Sprinkling in Fairfax, CA. I believe in Kindness. Not just in acting kindly, but that kindness can save our world. Unfortunately, it seems to me we’ve become so busy and sometimes too greedy to take the time to help others. I say this is unfortunate because being kind makes us feel good and its contagious spreading ripples of joy. The beautiful thing is kindness comes in all shapes and sizes making it easy to be kind every day. [...]

Signs, Inspiration, and Responsibility: My Path Toward Youth Advocacy

Recently, I found myself watching a video by a veteran named Richard Pimentel. His speech on being a leader resonated with me. He said “responsibility is a word made up of two words, the word ‘response’ and the word ‘ability’.” Responsibility isn’t what someone puts on you. Responsibility isn’t your job description.” He went on to say, “we all find ourselves looking at situations and we all find ourselves with abilities and what we have to ask is: given my abilities what then will be my response to [...]

Second Annual Meditation Retreat for Farm Animal Advocates

During a highly stressful week while LA apartment shopping and managing a full schedule, I called to notify the retreat staff I would no longer be able to participate in their most generous offer. “I am so sorry but I just don’t have the luxury of taking time off” I explained. Ari Nessel calmly replied that I would never feel I have the time to take a week off and there will always be something we are dealing with in this life. He talked me through my [...]

How Can Engaging Youth Bring Them Purpose?

What a fun morning on a beautiful sunny day in San Diego County visiting with Craig Williams, a teacher at Sunset High School, a continuation school designed to give extensive help to students in need of flexibility and individualized attention. Craig received a grant from the Pollination Project back in 2013 to support his “garden pass” program and he invited us to catch up with him. The garden idea started when Craig wondered one day, how to bring his “Happy Place” from home to school. His happy [...]

Five Years of The Pollination Project

It was almost exactly 5 years ago when we started. One $1000 grant a day to a good hearted person making positive change in their community or in the world. As the founding Executive Director, I really hadn’t planned for us to make the daily grants until we had a staff and a shred of infrastructure to run it all.  But the applications were coming and media wanted to talk about us, so the day chose us-- January 1, 2013-- the day that The Pollination Project made [...]

Money Can Break Down Walls in Philanthropy

I am an environmentalist and Mexican-American with dual citizenship, and in 2012 I relocated back to my native Mexico. There is a lot of talk these days about walls between my two countries- the US and Mexico. But the wall I’ve been most focused on lately is the philanthropic wall that keeps funders separate from hardworking local activists. This wall is built upon language barriers, limited access to technology, bureaucratic aversion, and the effects of centuries of colonization. And now my passion is tearing it down! My path [...]

Leadership With a Listening Heart Led to My Transformation

Leadership and connecting with the community is valuable. We all have a place in our community, and it is up to each of us to seek that place. Our community can grow as much as we can grow personally. Our community can transform as much as we can transform. Our community can speak as much as we speak. Our community can connect, as much as we connect. My experiences with The Pollination Project as a Grantee and Fellow (aka Flow Funder) with the Youth Development Hub has helped [...]

Reflections on Community Grantmaking as a TPP Fellow

I must have received messages about the first announcements about the Pollination Project from about a dozen people. As a community organizer, I am constantly on the search for foundations who provide for grassroots projects, as they are so few and far between. I applied for my first grant in 2014, my second grant (for another project) in 2015 and received an Impact Grant in 2016. So when I was approached about becoming a Flow Fund Fellow, it seemed too good to be true! Me, receiving a stipend [...]

Youth Leadership in Compton

Have you ever imagined that you were a millionaire and had lots of money to donate to charities and people in need? Well, Im not a millionaire, not yet at least, but I was given the opportunity to serve as a Flow Funder for The Pollination Project's Youth Leadership Hub where I was able to give local organizations and individuals who are committed to positively impacting their community a "seed" grant. Theses grants were a thousand dollars and gave grass roots organizations the much needed support to launch [...]

Youth Leadership in LA

It has been an honor to serve as the Leader for the Youth Leadership Fellowship Program for 2016. I am so thankful for the experience and opportunity to have been involved with such spiritually rewarding, heart felt work. The Youth Development Fellowship has been an incredible experience and journey that I was blessed to share with a great team, Susan, Chris, and Kehli. The power behind us all connecting from various parts of the world to find people "just like us", "being the change" has been beyond rewarding. [...]

Youth Are Rising in CA

In the midst of today's political turmoil, numerous California youth communities are taking action to generate community health, justice, and resilience. Through our newest program, Youth Rising, we are supporting powerful youth on the ground like the Semillas collective in Salinas, CA and Brayan Cruz in Riverside, CA to realize their dreams on the ground. These youth come from communities that suffer extreme health and education inequities but that has never stopped them from doing the work that makes them come alive. The Semillas (seeds) collective has been [...]

A Grantee Love Story

Have you ever been so frustrated with a person or situation that you thought your mind would explode? We can’t do this work alone. No one can live this life alone. In this day and age, in the state of such a chaotic, and unbalanced world, everyone needs someone. We all need venting time, an ear to listen, and a nonjudgmental, empathetic, and nonthreatening space to just “be”. To be heard, to be felt, to be understood, to be accepted, to be loved and to be encouraged to [...]

Seeding Change in Kisumu, Kenya

It is 9 pm in Kenya, my phone rings and it is Franciska on the other end. She is one of the recipients of the 'flow fund' grants that I made through the Pollination Project's East Africa Hub. She asks how I am and proceeds to inform me that she is away for 3 days looking for mats made of papyrus reeds to sell in her village. With the poor maize harvest this season, Franciska and her group are diversifying their income sources by selling locally made papyrus reed [...]

Born Barefoot

The Summer Olympics are in full swing. American swimmers & gymnasts, Jamaican runners, and Irish rowers have all won gold. Eyes will be fixated on Rio until August 21st. The Olympic opening ceremonies were spectacular; could be the best ever. Of all the highlights in the opening ceremonies, one stood out to me the most; The Laurel Award. This is the first year this award has ever been presented. A man in a suit came running in with children dressed in white and they were flying white kites. The [...]

One Heart at a Time

Jude Thaddeus Njikem is an advocate for women in Cameroon. He is an educator and activist who works to end violence against women in his country, and bring about conditions of equality for women.

Why women are the first to suffer but the best to rebuild after a disaster.

Kathmandu destruction On April 25th, 2015, the worst disaster to strike Nepal in over 80 years came as an earthquake. Measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale, the earthquake lasted nearly a minute and its magnitude was even felt in surrounding China and India. Over 8,000 people were killed, over 16,000 people were injured, and nearly 3 million people were displaced. Just when it felt like things could not get any worse, a second earthquake struck Nepal a few weeks later. With continuing aftershocks striking daily and [...]

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