Seeds: Our Blog2018-05-10T14:54:46+00:00

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.

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 [...]

Muthaf$#kas: A Grantee Update from Nikki Myers

Pollination Project grantee, Nikki Meyers, recently wrote this post for Mind Body Green about her journey into addiction recovery through yoga.  Nikki is the founder of Yoga for 12 Step Recovery and we loved the humanity, authenticity and love that comes through in her writing.  Enjoy!


Recently, grantee David Sidwell produced the first- ever Solutionaries Congress.  Building on the amazing work of Zoe Weil and the Institute for Humane Education, David explains, "Solutionaries are people who transform unjust, unsustainable, and inhumane systems into ones that are peaceful and healthy for all people, animals, and the environment."   Solutionaries Congress is a fun, debate-style competition that is about solutions to the worlds most pressing problems. The first event was a gathering of Utah high school students representing 4 different schools.  Students presented proposed solutions to some of the [...]

Inspired by Jennie Kay, the Detroit Sanctuary Project

Jennie Kay, a Detroit native, set out to do something really ambitious.  She is organizing an army of volunteers to photograph every single house of worship on every street of Detroit, Michigan.  By documenting spaces of "sanctuary" Jennie hopes to create a new kind of conversation about community.  Jennie Kay says, "This isn't a story about what is wrong in Detroit.  It isn't a story about awesome new stuff in Detroit.  It is a story about what has been right in Detroit all along." The Pollination Project funded [...]

Meet our 100th Grantee: Thomas Ponce, Founder of Lobby for Animals

Our 100th Grantee of 2013 is Thomas Ponce, a Florida 12 year old who recently launched Lobby for Animals.  Lobby for Animals is a website that provides timely, relevant, user-friendly tools and resources to animal rights activists of all ages to support them in lobbying their representatives and take action on issues affecting farmed animals, pets, animals used in entertainment, animal testing and more.  Lobby for Animals will offer video instruction on proposing bills, making convincing phone calls and writing highly effective letters.  Thomas has already created a video on [...]

Wisdom 2.0, Marianne Williamson and Community

by Alissa Hauser This past weekend I attended parts of the Wisdom 2.0 Conference in San Francisco.  The Conference, in its 4th year, is focused on the intersection of technology, wisdom and interconnection. It is a gathering of 1,500 people across the technology and "mindfulness" fields who dare to ask how to marry technology and transformation in ways where we are left more connected, more effective and more engaged in changing the world. This years' speakers included people like Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, Arianna Huffington, Congresspeople Tim [...]

Featured Grant: Keith McHenry’s Food, Not Bombs Free Skool

by Board Member and Grant Advisor, Stephanie Klempner Recently, I had the sincere pleasure of chatting with Keith McHenry, a founder of Food, Not Bombs, and Pollination Project grant winner. Via our partnership with World Peace Earth, The Pollination Project awarded a grant to fund his newest project, Food, Not Lawns. I was particularly interested in this project because I am outraged by the amount of food that people and companies/restaurants in our country (and the world) waste. And friends and I will often talk about great ideas to [...]

What Can One Person Do to Change the World?

The Highlander Center, credited with training Rosa Parks and some of the greatest social justice and civil rights leaders of our time, posted this photo on 2/1/13.  They reminded us that 53 years ago at 4:30pm, four brave students at A&T University sat down at a segregated lunch counter in a Greensboro Woolworth's store, ordered coffee, and stayed in their seats, despite being refused service, until the store closed.  These four courageous men put their bodies and lives on the line to change our collective future. Five days later, [...]

Featured Grantee: Leah Lamb, My Planet

By Peggy Hilden, Grantmaking Advisor to The Pollination Project  Watch the Trailer for "Seagulls" Each week we read through incredible applications and have an opportunity to share some of the enthusiasm, dedication and passion of the applicants – people with a deep desire to give something back to their communities. It has been a beautiful experience!  When I was invited to select a grantee to interview I jumped at the opportunity to talk with Leah, I was elated to further explore her amazing contribution to our relationship [...]

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