The Pollination Project in the News2017-02-10T10:43:51+00:00

The Pollination Project in the News



Animal Hero – Ari Nessel in Thrive Magazine, November 2016


Executive Director, Alissa Hauser in the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy

national-committee-for-responsive-philanthropyThe email that changed everything, September 2016

“In 2014, this email from a grant applicant hit our inboxes:

“Your organization is really not treating people with respect. This is the second time I was told that there would be a delay in your organization’s decision. There were so many excuses such as staff changes, your organization’s uncertainty about my project, and hence the requirement for an external audit.”

“Yes, the deadline has been missed and even if there’s a grant now, it is too late. I am disappointed not about not getting the grant, but how you treat others.”

Read the whole article, The email that changed everything here.


TPP Founder, Ari Nessel in the Daily Good

Daily goodThe Pollination Project: An Interview with Ari Nessel, January 2016

“Deven: Good morning, good afternoon, good evening. My name is Deven and I’m your host for our global “Awakin Call”. Welcome, and thank you for joining us today. Today, our special guest speaker is none other than Ari Nessel, and someone who really embodies to this theme of power of small-scale philanthropy. The thought that came to me when I saw this name, it’s so exciting and such a powerful theme to reflect on, but there is an analogy of drip irrigation where people cultivate amazingly green things by using drip irrigation. Drip irrigation is where, literally, the plants are fed water by drips of water. There are stories of great jubilation. When a flood of water can sometimes destroy things, small drops can do magic to cultivation — and that’s the theme of our call today.”

Read the whole article, The Pollination Project: An Interview with Ari Nessel here.


Executive Director, Alissa Hauser receives a Passion Award, from The Passion Co.

the passion coAlissa Hauser – The Pollination Project, June 2015

“Born and raised in New Jersey, Hauser grew up in a politically active household, and soon moved to San Francisco to study and later work for nonprofits. Seeing an opportunity to bring more of business and startup acumen to the philanthropic world, Hauser, completed her MBA, and spent over 15 years leading, building and scaling non-profits. Looking for a change, Hauser established The Pollination Project with the support of a donor she knew. Her Berkeley based operation, gives a $1,000 grant a day  to social-change entrepreneurs. To those who are looking to do what they love, Hauser believes that making a difference doesn’t have to be hard. Most importantly, to Hauser living with compassion and spreading kindness is what is important. You do not need to start the next big company to make a difference.”

Read the whole article, Alissa Hauser – The Pollination Project here.


The Pollination Project in Levi & Strauss Co., UNZIPPED

levi-straussThe Pollination Project and LS&Co. Team Up on Environmental Grants, May 2015

“I’m always impressed with what young people can do before older people tell them that it is impossible,” said David Brower, the prominent environmentalist who spent the later years of his life mentoring youth.

Driven by the desire to support youth who show innovation, vision and leadership, The Pollination Project recently teamed up with Levi Strauss & Co. to make seed grants that give a leg up to young heroes working on environmental solutions all over the globe. Our shared goal is to develop the next generation of global environmental leaders who will conserve, protect, restore and advocate for the ecosystems upon which our civilization depends.”

Read the whole article, The Pollination Project and LS&Co. Team Up on Environmental Grants here.

The Pollination Project in Times of San Diego

The Pollination Project, Times of San DiegoGrantmakers Strive to Strengthen Philanthropy in San Diego, featured in Times of San Diego, November 27th 2014.

On Nov. 14, nearly 160 representatives of foundations, corporate giving programs, and individual donors gathered in Balboa Park for the San Diego Grantmakers annual conference to learn from national experts and local leaders about how to improve the impact of philanthropy in our region. It was a day of “Cultivating Philanthropy, Seeding Change” to develop the skills, knowledge, and connectedness of people who are passionate and strategic about their charitable giving. San Diego has fewer philanthropic institutions compared to Los Angeles and San Francisco, so it’s especially important that we work together to leverage our resources and attract outside funding to our region. The conference helps do that, as the largest annual convening for grantmakers in our region.”

Read the whole article, Grantmakers Strive to Strengthen Philanthropy in San Diego here.

A Better World on $1000 a Day, Mother Nature Network

mother-nature-network-logoApril 4, 2014

“We’re not really looking for the next Martin Luther King Jr. or Gandhi,” says Nessel. “America doesn’t become great when we have a better president or better politicians. It’s when every citizen is taking things into their own hands — that’s when our world changes. The Pollination Project is our attempt to encourage everyone to take their own individual actions. It’s something that really enlivens my heart.”

Read the whole article here.

Do-gooder’s mission: Offer helping grands


From the Dallas Morning News, April 2, 2014
A year ago, high school student Michael Meng started the nonprofit Paint the World to spread the love of art to underprivileged children in the Dallas region.

Challenged by a lack of funds, Meng turned to the Pollination Project, a nonprofit that gives away $1,000 a day to support grass-roots philanthropic causes. The seed money, Meng said, was crucial to Paint the World, which now has four high school chapters around Dallas.

“Paint the World is one of the many seeds that the Pollination Project has planted and that has really bloomed,” said Meng, now a senior at the Greenhill School in Addison. “More than the substance of the grant, it’s about what the grant meant in terms of putting us out there and giving us an opportunity to be more than a motley crew of high school students.”

Founded by Dallas entrepreneur Ariel Nessel, the Pollination Project began as an experiment to award a $1,000 grant daily for 365 days in 2013.

Nessel wanted to give directly to people who were doing good instead of donating his money to large charitable organizations. Nessel used his own money to fund $365,000 in grants last year.

The Pollination Project’s mission continues today with a majority of the grant money still coming from Nessel. To date, the nonprofit has supported more than 450 grant recipients.
Read the article here.

Seed Money Sprouts Change for Tiny NonProfits: CBS Sunday Morning

CBS Sunday Morning- March 23, 2014

The 40-year-old Nessel created a foundation he calls the Pollination Project. Instead of writing a big check to an established charity, he chooses someone just getting started to receive his daily thousand-dollar donation.

“One of the challenges with the way philanthropy is currently being done is there’s such a disconnect between the givers and those who are benefiting from the work.”

He sent out his first check January 1st last year, and has selected a new recipient each day since. He gave away his 447th grant this morning — that’s $447,000 and counting.

In the past year-and-a-half, he’s awarded grants in 42 different states and in 50 countries.

In India, Raghu Makwan, paralyzed by polio, got $1,000 to delivers meals to people needier than he.

“Here he is, a man who has no legs who you think everyone else should be taking care of, and he would go every day, twice a day, in monsoons, in 105 degree heat, and bring them food. And we want to support that.”

Read the transcript here.

Laura Weiss at Nebraska Community Garden Helps Refugees Feel at Home


Last January, I moved back to my hometown of Omaha, unemployed, and began volunteering at the Southern Sudan Community Association, a refugee resettlement nonprofit. My time was spent working on English with international refugees, and Akoy, at that time, was my student. She was one of the women I was lucky enough to spend a few hours with each morning, as the five students and I taught each other about language and laughter, and shared memories of the past.

After a few weeks of discussion, we were no longer just teacher and students; we were friends. Soon I began to notice some common threads: Everyone missed their family. Everyone missed the landscapes and air of their own country. And everyone missed growing their own food.

A wonderful and necessary idea emerged: Create a community garden with refugees. Encourage self-sufficiency and provide a platform for refugees to relate closer with their new community. If anything, allow refugees to do what they missed.

With these thoughts in mind, I started writing grant proposals. In March 2013, the now-named Root Down Community Garden received funding from The Pollination Project, and the reality of the endeavor began to take shape. I met with various refugee communities to discuss the garden, and we found an arable, convenient plot in a midtown neighborhood experiencing its own community revival. Soon enough, we had 11 eager farmers waiting to break soil in their new growing space.

Read more.

Maya Shea Penn, TED Women

Watch a great clip from Maya Shea Penn‘s Ted Women Talk in 2013 in San Francisco.

Maya Shea Penn featured on the TED Blog

This 13-year-old entrepreneur is out to change the world: A Q&A with Maya Penn 

Ted Logo

Maya Penn is a tiny, vibrant force of nature. She’s an entrepreneur, philanthropist, fashion designer, animator, blogger, writer and illustrator. She runs a budding eco-friendly fashion business and a nonprofit for environmental awareness, and her mind churns constantly with new creative projects. And we should probably mention — Maya is only 13.


Maya’s story began with a humble piece of fabric she found lying around the house. She transformed that little scrap into a zebra-print headband embellished with a butterfly. She called it “Zebra Fly.” That experiment led to more handcrafted accessories, and soon, she was getting stopped on the street by admirers who wanted to know where she bought them. That was when she knew she had stumbled onto something big.


Read more. 

See Maya’s Grant Announcement.

Laura Lavigne’s Happiness Sprinkling Project on NBC Los Angeles


Laura Lavigne’s project, the Happiness Sprinkling Project, has really gone viral!  Check out this coverage at NBC Los Angeles:

“If you’ve ever sat at a stoplight — and let’s assume that you have, at least once or twice, if you’re in possession of a driver’s license — and seen a furry, balloon-holding mascot promoting a local business or a group of kids waving “Car Wash Fundraiser” signs, you’ve likely done something people are not wont to do in traffic.

You smiled.

Now take that cheery moment and add dozens of students waving signs that say “Live Your Dream” and “You Rock!” and “Why Not?” Would you smile? Yes. Would you immediately search the internet upon arriving at the office to find out what the heck that was? Definitely.”

See more.  

Elle Morgan in Centre Daily News, State College, PA

Elle Morgan, founder of the Elements of New Life Scripts, was just featured in her local paper in State College PA.  Elle also won a 2013 Impact Grant from the Pollination Project due to her outstanding use of her first seed grant.

“Sometimes, a little bit goes a long way.

For State College resident Elle Morgan, it only took a $1,000 grant from The Pollination Project to help make a dream come true.

The grant enabled Morgan, an instructor at the South Hills School of Business & Technology, to set up a 36-acre nature camp called Half Moon Hollow on land she acquired in Clearfield County. The camp’s mission is to help troubled teens turn their lives around. Morgan uses the power of nature and nurture to help and heal wounded souls.


“One person can make a difference, and these projects are happening around the world,” Morgan said. “You can see projects in Kenya and South Africa and all the way to the United States. Little projects that can impact people in such great ways just makes the world a better place.”


The Pollination Project is an organization that provides startup money to eligible people who work to make the world a better place. Morgan said the organization started about a year ago, which is when she initially applied for the grant.”

Read the whole story here. 

Stephanie Salisbury and Andie Kingsbury’s project on local news in South Bend, IN

Fox 28 Elkhart, INGrantees, Stephanie Salisbury & Andie Kingsbury and their project, Green Olive Ministries, just received local news coverage in South Bend, Indiana.

“A group of women in Elkhart is trying to help new moms save money.  Green Olive Ministries  plans to teach moms struggling to make ends meet to make their own cloth diapers.

Organizers Andie Kingsbury and Stephanie Salisbury have received a $1000 grant from The Pollination Project and are running a fundraising effort through Indie GoGo.

By the end of March, they hope to start their first three month training session, where they’ll teach ten women to make their own set of cloth diapers.”

See the video & read the transcript at Fox 28’s website.

Vincent Atitwa’s Project Profiled in Africa Business Daily

Africa Business Daily

Youths fight poverty with sweet potato venture

Undeterred by unemployment and poverty, a Kakamega County youth group has ventured into the extraction of juice from yellow potatoes.

The youths have been eking out a livelihood from unyielding soils, which can no longer support food production after being put under sugarcane farming for nearly three decades.

Read More about Vincent Atitwa and his project.

Read the article in Africa Business Daily.


Ari Nessel in Green Source DFW

Green Source DFWAri Nessel, Pollination Project founder and President, makes his living as a real estate redeveloper.  Check out this article in Green Source DFW about his eco-friendly and mindful approach to his “day job.”

As a devoted yoga practitioner, Ariel Nessel understands the importance of balance. As a green developer, the Dallas-real estate mogul has found a way to apply that balance to his professional life as well.

His journey began after after he became involved in the multi-family sector in 1997. When he worked on expanding a mobile home park, the need to tear down trees and impact the environment fostered a belief that his work needed to become congruent with his values. That belief led him to the practices, which now drive Nessel Development.

Read the article.

Thomas Ponce Creates Bill In FL to Ban Shark Finning

WESH Orlando13 year old grantee, Thomas Ponce, convinced Florida State Legislators to file a bill banning the cruel act of shark finning in that state.  Read more from Orlando’s WESH news.


Maya Shea Penn Shares Stage with Ashton Kucher at Ted Youth

Ted Youth- Maya PennGrantee, Maya Penn, was recently featured at Ted Youth in New Orleans.

Maya Penn is an entrepreneur who makes eco-friendly fashion, and who had the chops to build and maintain her retail website. Did we mention that she is also 13 years old? Here at TEDYouth, Penn shares why she decided to open a shop in the first place — because people always commented on her creations — and why she decided to branch out into animation. “I didn’t have a business plan. I was only 8!” she says, to laughs. Her advice to the crowd? “Do what you love, have fun and just go for it.”

Shodo Spring’s Compassionate Earth Walk at Between the Lines Radio

Shodo Spring, Compassionate Earth WalkGrantee, Shodo Spring and the Compassionate Earth Walk were the subject of a powerful interview at Between the Lines Radio.  

From July to early October, Shodo Spring, a 64-year-old Zen Buddhist priest, who is a mother of two and grandmother of four, led a walk from the tar sands oil extraction region of Alberta, Canada to Nebraska, 1,300 miles along the proposed route of the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline project.


Tree and the Free Farm in Mission Local

The Mission Local News Blog posted this story about our grantee, Tree, and the Free Farm.


The Mission Local News Blog posted this story about our grantee, Tree, and the Free Farm.
A three-year-old community farm in the Western Addition that distributes free food in the Mission and elsewhere is being forced to dig up its roots to make way for a church and a new affordable housing development.

The Free Farm’s founder Dennis Rubenstein, known as Tree and the man who also runs Sunday’s Free Farm Stand in the Mission, said the St. Paulus Church had been a “wonderful” landlord during the time he ran the farm on a third of an acre at Eddy and Gough.
Tree Mission News

Sebouh Bazikian featured on KABC Los Angeles (ABC Affiliate)

Grantee, Sebouh Bazikian of Bikes For Orphans was featured on the ABC local news in Los Angeles. “Cool Kid Gets Bikes to Orphans”

Jeff Kirschner & Litterati in USA TODAY

USA Today LogoMeet a former tech entrepreneur who, thanks to a parental epiphany, has become obsessed with trash. And he’s convinced that deep down many of us share his abhorrence of litter and want to do something about it. That’s the driving force behind Kirschner’s, a site that aims to leverage social networking as a means to help clean up the planet.


Read the Article:  Change Agents:  Jeff Kirschner’s Litterless World in USA Today.
Read about Jeff & his Pollination Project grant award.


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.

Borgen Magazine: Small Grants Combine to Make Real Change


Borgen Magazine posted an article about our approach to making micro grants.  Also profiled in the article is grantee, Ayla Schlosser.  

“We’ve heard of the big dogs in global philanthropy, those monster pocketbooks that shell out millions and billions of dollars to worthy causes around the world. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Warren Buffet Foundation, to name the top two, do a wonderful job of sponsoring efforts in the fight against global poverty every day. Their contributions to these important efforts are what make large organizations capable of taking on significant, long-term programs that aim to have deep impact for large communities, if not entire countries or international regions.

What we hear much less about, though this is changing, are the many micro-projects that focus on single community issues or even something as small as building a single school house.”

Read the whole article. 

DeJuana Golden in the Long Beach Press Telegram

Long Beach Press Telegram

Grantee, DeJuana Golden was recently profiled in the Long Beach Press Telegram for her project, Special Shades of Color.


“When DeJuana Golden had her first child, CJ, she was excited and nervous; like most mothers, she was looking forward to holding

her new baby. Shortly after CJ was born, however, Golden was shocked when the doctors said her son had Down syndrome. After entering the first grade, however, CJ was exhibiting behaviors that were not consistent with Down syndrome. He was picky with his food, and when he did eat, he demanded to use the same bowl and same spoon each time. He also stopped talking…”

Read more

Robert Scappini on WPRI Eyewitness News Channel 12

WPRI LogoGrantee Robert Scappini, a social studies teacher in Central Falls, RI, used Pollination Project funds for this!