How Small Seed Grants Make a Difference 2017-03-03T16:21:17+00:00

How Does $1000 Make a Difference?

Ask Our Grantees!

Our grantees share how their Pollination Project seed grant helped them build and expand their startup projects.

Erica Fugger, Wake Up Oral History Project, New York, NY

The Pollination Project has provided a wonderful community of inspiration, encouragement, and support. I was warmly welcomed to a TTP salon while I was meeting with Wake Up groups in California and have recently been invited to local gatherings in New York. These opportunities to connect with other grantees have been grounding for our project and allowed us to envision new ways of sharing resources. TTP has also helped me develop foundational tools in order to scale up the Wake Up Oral History Project and apply for additional funding. I am currently waiting to hear back about new applications—like the Spiritual Ecology Fellowship through the Kalliopeia Foundation—that would help expand our work. Our Pollination Project grant allowed me to hone essential skillsets like project management, compassionate dialogue, and harmonious collaboration.

Marie-Claire Kuja, KujaPads Initiative, Bamenda, Cameroon

What I wish you know is that you have not only changed my life but that of so many poor rural women and girls who would have been left to continue to suffer in poor conditions.). If my company doesn’t exist, they will continue to use rags, menstruation related diseases will continue, they will have no income, academic performance will remain poor, school dropout rate/early marriages will remain high and they will continue to wallow in myths and taboos associated with menstruation.

Hannah Testa, Plastic Pollution Awareness, Cumming, GA

The TPP seed grant made a big difference to my project. Because of our restricted household funds, which had been used to fund limited work on plastic pollution education, we were able to dream big and have the funds to make a significant impact. To provide a couple of examples, without the seed grant we probably wouldn’t have been able to travel around the state to talk to citizens and businesses about plastic pollution, and we probably wouldn’t have been able to attend a plastic pollution conference in CA, either. Additionally, two of the eye-catching things we showcased on plastic pollution awareness day at the Georgia State Capitol involved expenditures that I am sure we wouldn’t have been able to fund without the seed grant. This included artwork from ocean scientist Bonnie Monteleone from North Carolina as well as a “traveling quilt” that involved material and labor expenses. These two items, which comprised 50% of the total seed grant, helped to make the event on February 15th extra special and were instrumental in attracting public and media attention.

Linelly Olmeda Santos, Building Community Through Movement and Dance, Holland, MI

Receiving this grant has empowered me to develop new projects for people in the community that might be voiceless or neglected. There are numerous needs in different communities and areas of the world. In this case, seeing how these children came week after week and shared about their lives while engaging in movement, games and dance and seeing how valuable it became for them gave me a deeper understanding of the value of my work. This also gave me the opportunity to learn that it is not only about me voicing out the needs of a community, but about giving the tools so that as a community we can voice together our needs.

Deanna MacCormac, Carolina Conscious, Chapel Hill, NC

Being involved with Carolina Conscious has been an incredible learning and leading experience for me and my team. We have learned so much about how to work together to align our ideas into impactful action, especially as we all have different backgrounds, priorities, and passions. If you had asked us a few years ago how we would spend our time at college, none of us would have said that we would be working on a startup, let alone our own startup. Yet, this organization has been one of the most rewarding experiences I have had. I have loved being a part of all of it - the big picture ideas, the tiny details, the sales, marketing, operations, logistics, leadership, and most of all knowing we are having a positive impact on our community.

Yolanda R Price, Chain Breakers Project, Waxhaw, NC

One thousand dollars was a tremendous help to a group of people who are often ignored. Dealing with those impacted by incarceration can be emotional and taxing but the financial support allowed us to gather people together to express, learn and identify the problems of this situation. We are motivated to continue to serve and to provide resources to an otherwise forgotten population.

Marytza Rubio, Public Fiction Project (Makara Center for the Arts), Santa Ana, CA

Thank you for your encouragement and your support. It is so important to have someone say "Yes. We believe in your mission" because I found myself going back to that "Yes" when facing disappointments or challenges. This support provided the support to establish ourselves in the community we intend to serve and gave us the opportunity to develop collaborative relationships with librarians, artists, and city officials--relationships that will ensure our organization's long-term sustainability. Thank you for this investment in our project. Makara is thrilled to have had the early resources necessary to launch our literacy ventures in the community. Now, as we prepare to open our Lending Library & Art Center, we can continue to expand our efforts to establish a citywide Little Library network for all Sant a Ana residents. It is a major accomplishment to be able to provide books to my hometown. Thank you. The grant has made a significant difference to our team and on a personal level by providing enthusiastic encouragement and validation for our goals. It is always a risk to pursue the unknown and having the support of The Pollination Project helped embolden and empower my decision to keep moving forward from one project to the next in pursuit of fulfilling a larger vision. As a result of the generous support during our critical first year, Makara has secured a brick & mortar site for our Lending Library & Art Center.

Jordan King, Bold Folks Home, Conway, AR

The TPP seed grant allowed us to purchase the film gear, costumes, and printing services necessary for our Bold Folks Home Photo Booth. We wouldn't have been able to bring such a fun and enjoyable experience to local retirement communities and nursing homes if it weren't for our grant. More importantly, we wouldn't have had the credibility necessary to open doors to facilities, which are often wary of projects like ours due to liability. Funding through TPP showed that we are dedicated professionals who are passionate about making a difference.

Elizabeth Ross, People of Color: Animal Rights, Advocacy and Food Justice Conference, Northridge, CA

TPP’s financial support has allowed us to fulfill a dream that was born two years prior to the day of the conference. It was empowering to see vegans of color who are leaders in their own right, and an enthusiastic audience, engage in topics that were relevant to people of color. It was empowering to see an audience that reflected the diversity of vegans in the US.

Thomas Ponce, Lobby For Animals, Casselberry, FL

Having the continued support of The Polination Project is something that I value and appreciate deeply. I know I have said this before but knowing that someone believes in you and is willing to try and help you see your vision through, means more than the actual monetary help; it is a sort of validation that what you are doing is important. While in my heart I know I am doing what I can to help and others acknowledgement is not so much a necessity, everyone likes to feel that they are supported and TPP is the biggest cheerleading squad out there for their grantees. So to answer your question of has it made a difference to me on a personal level? the answer is a resounding YES! TPP itself, seperate from each of the grants I have received, has made a difference in my life in a positive way. I value the friendships I have made over the years both as a grantee and a grant advisor.

Patricia Gangwer, Richmond’s Little Free Libraries, Richmond, CA

The Pollination Project grant has helped our community come together around a social equity issue - which is access to literature, good books and information, and the promotion of literacy in the city. We love the fact that Richmond's Little Free Libraries are like small oases that have sprung up in many locations in the "book desert" areas of the city. Currently, there are no book stores in Richmond, CA, and library hours have been severely limited by budget cuts. We have created a community of readers of all ages, races, religions, genders and socioeconomic levels, who are dedicated to seeing Richmond's Little Free Libraries succeed in providing everyone access to books. I, personally, have met many people who belong to organizations that are now working in partnership with our project. It is wonderful that we can now mutually support each other in our combined efforts to increase and develop a literate society. I am telling all my friends and colleagues about the amazing Pollination Project and the wonderful work you are doing.The Richmond's Little Free Library project is a source of joy (and sometimes a little heartache) for me and the volunteers who work with me. Thank you so much for helping us make it happen. As a funding partner, you have provided guidance, inspiration and encouragement to those of us who took part in your many extra offerings such as webinars, salons and on-line communication. I am not on any social media, but I was still able to access so much information with your presence on Youtube, and through emails. I think the Pollination Project has spoiled me as you are so much more than just a "funding partner," but a generous, caring and mindful resource for creating positive change in our world.

Ashutosh Nirvadyaachari, Karuna Sandesh Yatra, Rajasthan, India

It was a 1,500 km foot-march by me covering 8 districts (mostly of southern Rajasthan) to spread the message of veganism through leaflets, booklets, videos, talks etc.with general public,students & teachers and an effort to meet all Jain saints, sadhvis, aryikas and other religious leaders to convince them to expose the cruelty intrinsic in animal milk to all their followers. I also delivered talks to their followers who come from far off places during this sacred period of 4 months. The Grant has certainly helped me evolve into a better person than before. My Yatra and interactions with thousands of people have taught me to be more understanding and compassionate.More importantly, I feel myself at peace. It makes me happy to see myself doing something worthy and paying my debt by doing what I was supposed to do in this 'life' ...a gift for which I'm always indebted to this world. I interacted with over 100,000 people in person while traveling about 1,500 km. Initially, I was planning to do only 500 to 800 km. But when I started, some more donors chipped in and I was able to get about 100,000 booklets so I extended my yatra to cover 1,500 km. I got support from various other regions of the country who loved the message in the booklets I had printed and asked me for it. I sent them soft copies so that they got it printed on their own and simultaneously distributed those in their cities. Influenced by the campaign, several Whatapp groups have started with members from almost all parts of the country with the sole mission to spread awareness. People mention the name of my facebook page by printing it on t-shirts, doing chalktivism etc. in other states too. These ripple effects were beyond my expectations. When I was away from my home town during the campaign period, many were regularly watching my campaign through facebook and to my surprise many told to me on my return that they are now vegan for life.

Dave Wylie, Khanyisani – Youth Music Development, Kwabombo, South Africa

The TPP grant has given us as a TEAM a real perspective on the dedication needed to get this project off the ground. Making a real difference in our communities is hard work and it takes a range of skills that we really were unaware of when starting out. We have grown immensely over the last year and realised that just getting the funding is a small part of the bigger picture. We have grown as individuals in ways we would never have without the influence of the TPP grant. The biggest lesson through this process was learning where our individual weaknesses are and through this process strengthening our small organisation in ways we would have never been able to do without TPP.

Carol-Ann Nelson, Adventure Based Rehab, Bend, OR

Receiving a TPP grant is much more than just the funding! I have gleaned great insight from the private FB group, learned about fundraising and planning from the webinars, and I have been encouraged by others who are working hard on critical issues across the globe. TPP is a community of world-changers who will give advice, cheer you on, connect you to other resources, and inspire you to keep doing great work! I just want to share my wholehearted appreciation for the grant. The positive press we received went as far, if not further than the actual funding. We have made some incredible connections in our local and regional community, and our program has garnered interest from individuals outside the state. Thank you for the ongoing resources via the facebook page, and for your support in our project!

David Benjamin, Chess for Success, Norfolk, VA

When I started the project I knew that it would be beneficial to the kids. In addition, I enjoy playing chess, so I knew that it would be fun for me as well. However, I did not realize how amazing I would feel after seeing the kids learning, laughing, and connecting with me and the other officers. I now know that we are not only helping these kids with their academics, but that we are building positive relationships with them. The main goal of the project was to increase the children's math and reading scores. A secondary goal was to build positive relationships with the children and thereby with the community in general. The preliminary test results indicate that there has already been an increase in the reading scores for most of the children in the Chess for Success program. I anticipate that we will see additional increases in those and the math scores as time goes by. In terms of relationship building, I definitely think that we are successful - the children are genuinely happy to see us when we arrive and I can tell from our interactions that we have formed lasting friendships.

Chijike Ndukwu, Rural Grain Storage Project, Nigeria

We believe that our lives cannot be complete no matter how successful we are, if many people around us or we know, are in poverty, pain, and despair. We believe that our world will be a better place, if, everyone would have the opportunity to reach their social and economic destinies. This can be achieved if everyone who knows can teach someone who knows not; and people who have anything at all - food, clothing, housing, tools, technology name it, can make it available to those who have not so that they too can reach the expectations of their lives. In this project, we put hope in the thoughts, smiles on the faces and one of the best technologies in maize storage in the hands of poor women in a remote part of the world. Our faces lit up as the faces of the poor women lit up with smiles of hope. It brought tears of joy in our eyes and we cannot but be happy that we could make them believe that next farming season will change part of their lives.

Olaoluwa Abagun, The Girls’ Podium, Nigeria

The seed grant has made a whole lot of difference in my personal motivation to empower girls, as well as my team's dedication to making a difference. I felt a huge sense of validation after receiving the seed grant. From my local community, I could see and hear TPP cheering us on and encouraging us to amplify our impact with The Girls' Podium Project! It felt rewarding to know that TPP was holding my hand at a crucial stage of my leadership journey, by believing and investing in the potentials of adolescent girls in my community. I am full of gratitude to The Pollination Project for giving my ideas wings to fly and limitless skies to soar. Thank you for investing in Nigerian adolescent girls!

Charles Orgbon, Greening Forward, The Bronx, NY

Greening Forward funds and trains young people around environmental issues. With the support of The Pollination Project, we were able to re-design and re-print our curriculum resources that help teach young people about environmental leadership skills such as grantwriting, grassroots outreach, volunteer management, and more. Students often ask, “Where do I start?” when it comes to environmental change-making. Our youth-developed, youth inspired resources provide concrete ideas for young people to take their passion for environmental issues and create meaningful action. With the grant from TPP, we were able to share these resources with many students in the United States, as well as translate them into Spanish and share them to students in Chile.

Jane Wafula, Splendid Generation Talent & Mentor-ship Program, Kenya

Thank you for being there. I am motivated to put more energy in my project and be the change I want to see in my community. Personally, I am very interested in building stronger relationship with the Pollination Project offering my skills and talents whenever required in mentoring other grantees or supporting the Pollination Project achieve its goals in whatever capacity that am called upon.