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.

The Ties that Bind Us: Mary Justine Todd

After nearly three years of thoughtfully and tirelessly working through regional, cultural and political challenges, Pollination Project grantee Mary-Justine Todd has just opened a full scale crisis center for victims of domestic and sexual abuse in the Middle East. Trained to recognize signs of abuse by Todd’s organization, Women’s Crisis Care International, hospital staff in Manama, Bahrain are able to alert a team of around-the-clock volunteer counselors. Within minutes, a WCCI counselor arrives and offers, Todd said, “emotional support for the victim, as well as logistic support and information [...]

Helping Fiji Weather the Storm: Rebuilding, Resiliency & Returning Home

On February 20th 2016, Tropical Cyclone Winston hit Fiji. The strongest storm ever to make landfall on Fiji, this category 5 cyclone caused devastating damage to communities all over the islands. Efforts to rebuild have already begun, and in this guest blog post we hear from The Pollination Project grantee, Janet Lotawa, about the impact of the storm on the communities in which she works. For ten families in Tukuraki village, in the western region of Fiji's main island Viti Levu, cleaning up after Cyclone Winston is a [...]

If you feel like giving up

Sometimes trying to see how we can make a positive impact in the world is daunting. It is easy to feel like we are too small, and that the problems facing our planet are too big and too many, for us to make a difference. It is at these times that we look to our grantees, and realize that together we are not too small to make an impact. These extraordinary people have committed themselves to taking action where they can, and we count ourselves lucky to be able to play [...]

Adriana Bueno & the BiblioVan – Part 3 of 3

This is the end of my interview with Adriana Bueno, Founder of Habitat Sur, in the Colombia Amazon. She tells us what is ahead, what's working / not working and how we can help. In Part 1 and Part 2 she shared how this colorful “mobile” children’s bookstore/library on wheels was born, how tree cutting in the Amazon Rainforest affects us all and more. – Margarita Cramer Working Together   MC: What action do you want the reader of this blog to take? AB: If you are reading [...]

Adriana Bueno & The BiblioVan Part 2

In Part 1 of this interview with Adriana Bueno, Founder of Habitat Sur, in the Colombia Amazon, she shared how the Bibliovan was born and what she had to overcome to be where she is. Here, she shares what breaks her heart (like tree cutting in the Amazon Rainforest), how to get involved, step by step process of the Bibliovan project and more. – Margarita Cramer What Did I Do Today to Make a Difference? MC: What inspires you? AB: Brave people who take action and pursue their [...]

Art & Culture in the Colombian Amazon and How You Can Get Involved

Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing Adriana Bueno, the young founder of “Fundación Hábitat Sur”  in the Colombia Amazon Rainforest. Her foundation is the recipient of two grants from The Pollination Project for her BiblioVan endeavor.  She shared with us, among many things, how arts and culture is transforming the town where she was born.  The conversation was so inspiring, that we made it into a three-part series.  – Margarita Cramer What is life without inspiring people? Part 1: MC:  How did this project find you? (How [...]

A Daily Inspiration That Works – An Interview With Jacqueline Way

Jacqueline is the founder of 365give, an innovative educational program that teaches elementary school students to do one thing every day to give back to the world. When Jacqueline became a parent, something wonderful happened that continues to be a daily inspiration. Read on to learn how the program started and how it is moving along … What is your project/what is your social change work? Our vision is to educate little kids in school how to create positive changes around them. Teaching life skills to students is [...]

Travis Hysell & Innovation/Design

I met with Travis Hysell on an overcast day in late May. We spent the afternoon talking about the various projects of the Legacy Initiative in the very coffee shop where many of the community enrichment ideas of the three year old, all volunteer run organization, have been spawned. At one point, we ventured to the trunk of Travis’ car where he keeps supplies handy to serve the community at a moments notice. From his Batman costume, to latex gloves or bottles of water, there is no doubt [...]

Every Day that I Breathe, I Matter, and Everything I Do Counts!

A Profile of Pollination Project Program Associate, Jamila Banks Are you curious to know about the people who work at The Pollination Project? Do you wonder how they got there, what they do, what inspires them? If you are like me, you probably answered yes! Jamila Banks is a daily giver and one of the staff members at TPP. She is also a grantee, the mother of TPP’s youngest grantee (10 year-old Kirsten Chavis) and runs her own organization called Foster & Banks Walk in Faith Foundation. Jamila [...]

The Choiceless Choice

Have you ever known you had to make a certain choice without knowing exactly why? Somewhere, somehow, in the middle of your stomach, you have a “gut” feeling that says you must act. As we listen to this deeper voice, we are listening to what some call intuition. It is not a choice led strictly by information that fits on charts or graphs, but rather a deep knowing that we have to follow. In a conversation with Arun Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson, I was sharing about my choice [...]

What is Wrong With What We Eat? Healthy Food Heals!

Did you ever wonder what pushes people to start a non-profit whose primary purpose is to help others? I am in awe of the change makers like our grantees at TPP. I wonder who and what gives them the strength to get started, the energy to keep going, what inspires them, what scares them. I spoke recently with Jenny Lowrey, founder of From the Ground Up, a young non-profit organization in Chico, CA, that is about growing and sharing healthy food as well as educating about it.

Our Passion is You

The Pollination Project recently won a Passion Award for being one of the most passionate nonprofits in the Bay Area, CA! Want to know what we really passionate about?

Planting Seeds

You know the “Be the Change You Wish to See in the World” quote attributed to Mahatma Gandhi? At the Pollination Project, we loved it so much, at one point we considered naming ourselves the “Be the Change” Foundation. I come from a nonprofit background and have been fundraising for nearly two decades. I have had delightful experiences where a funder has stood by my organization’s work year in and year out without much question or concern. And then I’ve had funders who have flaked out on their [...]

Applicant’s Bill of Rights

In early 2014, there was a breakdown. An applicant was waiting nearly 3 months to get a response from us about an application she submitted.  She was told by different people, "we'll let you know in 6 weeks," and "here's our last question" followed by three more rounds of questions. Honestly, we handled her application badly, mismanaged timelines, and by the time we funded her, it was too late. The window of time to do the project had come and gone and she bravely gave us feedback about how [...]

The 21-Day Kindness Challenge

The 21-Day Kindness Challenge launched on September 11th. 98 countries. 6000 people. And a collective tidal wave of good that inspired many — including young rapper-activist “Nimo” Patel at the Gandhi Ashram in India. Nimo wasted no time channeling that inspiration into an infectious music video.

Project Backlash: YAY!

Imagine driving down a busy street in a bad mood and seeing a lighthearted happy flash mob holding signs that say, "It's going to be okay."  The Happiness Sprinkling Project, one of our most recent grantees, has taken place pop-up style in 20 cities all over the US.  What's not to like, right? Well, this editor at the online blog, Portland Mercury, found something not to like and we wanted to take an opportunity to share it.  (It is the first piece of negative media we've seen about a [...]

Report from the Plains: A Keystone XL Pilgrimage

This Spring, we funded Shodo Spring, a Zen monk, and a team of people walking from Hardisty, Alberta, Canada to Steele City, Nebraska (the route of the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline/Great Plains section).  The Compassionate Earth Walk is in its 16th day and Shodo is keeping an almost-daily blog about life on the road.   We offer a deep bow of thanks to Shodo and the many committed pilgrims involved in the Compassionate Earth Walk to take on this profound act of peaceful protest, compassion and spiritual pilgrimage. [...]

Putting Yourself Out There Takes Courage

Nervous about putting yourself in a vulnerable position and applying for a grant? What if we don't fund it? Will you have the courage to try again? Will you persist with your change making idea no matter what? We sure hope so! Here's a little inspiration about a surfer who had the ultimate reason not to put herself out there again (a shark attack that left her without an arm) - and yet she did it anyway.  Read her story.

What it Means to Give Birth to a Dream

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. -Goethe Laura Weiss was awarded a Pollination Project grant his past winter to build a community garden for refugee populations in Omaha, Nebraska.  On her blog, Laura admits that when she was given the cash,  "I uhhh.. had no idea what that meant." This is what happens when a dream is born.  You feel it in your heart and it just won't let go.  You carry it with you, and then it starts [...]

Bérangère Maïa Parizeau & Noam Chomsky

We gave Maïa a Pollination Project grant to help her make a documentary about Professor Noam Chomsky and his commentary on our planetary environmental crisis.  See the original grant announcement.  We enjoyed her update so much, we wanted to share it! "Meeting Professor Noam Chomsky at MIT in Cambridge was by far one of the most beautiful experiences of my life.  His presence is truly extraordinary.  Reed Rickert and I arrived 10 minutes before the interview to set up.  Professor Chomsky was on the phone.  His secretary, Bev Stohl, suggested [...]

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