What is "The Pollination Model" of Philanthropy?

by | Jan 22, 2013 | Archive

Want to learn more about why we do what we do?  Check out Alissa Hauser’s article at Philanthrogeek.  Click here to go to the article.  And if you just can’t wait to read the whole thing, here’s a short excerpt:

….By any logical standard, it is grossly inefficient to give away $365,000 a year in $1,000 increments (actually in $500 increments because our grantees have to submit a report before they can get their second $500).  It is unusual at best to give directly to people armed with passion, an idea and a plan, as opposed to giving to tried and true organizations with proven track records and a
comprehensive strategy.
Yet here we are, doing philanthropy in what some would deem a crazy way.  And we are also doing philanthropy in a way that creates exponential and priceless impact in the world.  Just two weeks in to our first year of daily grantmaking, I’m more inspired than ever about what works about what we call the “Pollination Model” of giving.
Of the projects we fund, some will take root and blossom into beautiful social change movements.  Some of them will fizzle for one reason or another.  But as pollinators, our job is not to force success.  Our job is to find those people who are so driven to launch their social change project, that nothing will stop them.  We look for them to have a practical plan for getting the project off the ground.  And then we award one $1,000 grant a day to the people/project combination that we feel is the best match for our bigger picture vision.
The popular mobilizing quote, “we are the ones we’ve been waiting for,” has never been more alive for me than when our judging panel sits down to review that week’s applications. You can’t help but renew your faith in the goodness and resilience of human beings when you read twenty thoughtful, impassioned and inspiring applications every week.

Written by Carolyn Ashworth