Seeds: Our Blog
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.
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
I’ve rolled my eyes at the idea of being happy. With so much suffering on this earth, shouldn’t we be more concerned about leading lives that are meaningful and that contribute to the greater good than leading lives that are happy?
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 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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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. [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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.
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 [...]
Born and raised in a Western Kenyan slum, grantee David Omondi knows first-hand what it’s like growing malnourished, how it feels living in a single room with his whole family, and the difficulties of trying focus on completing school work in a crowded and often unsanitary environment. Despite these challenges, David graduated from school then went on to earn a scholarship to pursue a Medical Biochemistry Degree from the University of Nairobi. Upon completing his education, David chose to take his gifts and skills back home, to make [...]
Shari Jones is a bright young lady with a good head on her shoulders and a passion for giving back to young children in her community. She is committed to her two young girls, and making sure they get their needs met, which motivates her to help other young girls in her community have the same opportunity. Kids seem to be drawn to her warm smile and welcoming demeanor. Raised in South Central, Los Angeles, by a hard-working single mother, Shari had to learn how to take care [...]
Beginning in the 1970s, Hayu’s home country of Indonesia experienced great interest from multinational food producers. These firms sought to drastically increase food yields so they could supply a burgeoning global market. For example, genetically modified seeds for rice, known as I8 rice, were one of the experimental mechanisms that began during this time that led to 30% more rice yields.
How does a seed grant grow and sprout into sustainable, and fruitful impact? Travel with us to Kenya, where a lot of young girls are missing days, or months of school because they cannot afford it. Grantee Lila Kiwelu and her project Mdada, strives to keep girls in school by helping them pay school fees. What’s so impressive is the creative change in their business model, from initially selling fashion items themselves to raise money for school fees for girls, to now teaching girls how to make personalized, [...]
Suzan Wilmot grew up straddling the line between poverty and privilege, a foot in each world as her father struggled to raise her single handedly while doing odd jobs for wealthier families. These contrasting experiences gave her the chance to determine what is truly meaningful in life. The history we go through shapes our future and determine what we can become in life, and Suzan didn’t let this situation stop her dreams.