In 2013, I began giving a seed grant every single day of the year to a social change visionary with a practical plan to make their community and the world a better place. Now nearly 40 others have joined me, each of them giving $1 or more a day to inspiring projects led by extraordinary individuals all over the world.
Please consider joining our Pollination Project Daily Giving Community, or simply create your own giving practice. It will change your life!
Here are the extraordinary people and projects that we are honored to support this week.
Helping People Keep Pets in New York. In Cropseyville, New York, an all-volunteer team led by Patricia Watt, Melinda Plasse and Mitch Valerien support animals and their owners through tough times by helping pets stay at home. "We believe passionately that pet owners who are going through a crisis, whether that be financial, medical or some other emergency, should not at the same time lose their beloved pets just because they cannot meet their needs, " Patricia said. Their project, The Animal Support Project, provides a variety of services such as training, grooming, transportation, routine veterinary care, allergy tests, diagnostics and other necessary services, for all species. They also work to build awareness in their local community on best practices for animal care and emergency sheltering.
Feeding Students in Georgia. Sharon Pierre discovered that at one local Atlanta school, 25% of students were performing below average and many of them were not getting enough to eat. She founded A Nourishing Start Backpack Food Program in partnership with the Atlanta Community Food Bank, to feed students who struggle in school due to economic and social conditions. It is an "out of school" meal program that will provide meals to students and their families on weekends, holidays and vacations. A community of over 100 volunteers participates in the project, serving 38 schools within the South Region Cluster of the Atlanta Public School system.
Cleaning Supplies in Illinois. During Christmas of 2013, Melissa Dalgarn discovered a number of families listed cleaning supplies as gift requests on an "angel tree" and there were no agencies within her county that offered cleaning supplies to those in need. The Mop Shop was created for Jo Daviess County residents who self-identify as "in need." In addition to the distribution of eco-friendly cleaning supplies, information on maintaining a healthy and safe living environment will be available. "We believe that if families cannot afford food, they likely cannot afford cleaning supplies...we are steadfast in our contention that living in unsanitary and unsafe environments negatively impacts individuals' health as well as their self esteem," Melissa said.
Canes by a Veterans for Veterans in Utah. Howard Fikstad, a disabled Veteran, wanted to serve other vets in need. He decided to turn his hobby, making handcrafted canes, into an act of compassion. He created Canes for Veterans in Layton, Utah, handcrafting oak canes for disabled vets which he then donates to local veterans via two VA clinics. To date, from his small shed, Howard has already made over 450 canes.
Children with Disabilities Get Around in Canada. Anna Farquhar, a middle school Science Teacher in Ajax, Ontario, launched a Canadian arm of Go Baby Go, a project aimed at bringing mobility to toddlers who have trouble moving on their own. Inspired by a doctor in Delaware who found that there are no motorized wheelchairs for children under 3, Anna and her middle school students will be converting children's motorized toy vehicles to be a way for children with limited mobility to gain some physical independence. "We are a community of problem solvers and in my classes we build all the time," Anna explains. Anna has made connections with an occupational therapist and a doctor willing to offer knowledge and support for this inspirational cause.
Fashion with a Purpose in Spain. Thanks to Mike Geer, vegans can now wear their hearts on their sleeves. Mike and his wife, both passionate vegans, started Unite For The Animals, a venture that creates t-shirts that broadcast compassionate messages, with sales benefitting their Mino Valley Farm Sanctuary in Northern Spain. "Our target audience is vegans and other animal activists who are passionate about making a difference in the world and want tools to give them the confidence to reach out to people," he said.
A Sustainable Town Garden in Mississippi. Travis Crabtree says he wants to provide his Starkville, Mississippi community with "an alternative natural sustainable option of growing food." Travis, a student in landscape architecture, is creating the Starkville Community Garden which will offer residents a green place to socialize and boast an orchard, vegetable gardens and even a small vineyard. "The garden will promote economic sustainability by reducing fuel cost to import food, providing work for students, and the production will be sold at the weekly farmer's market. The project will be influential for other sustainable projects to be pursued in my community," Travis said.
Advocating for People with Disabilities in South Africa. People with disabilities are the largest marginalized group in the world, and often among the poorest. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 65 million people worldwide require the use of a wheelchair due to a disability, and 80% of those people live in low-income, developing regions, such as southern Africa. In an effort to help, Lucinda Kerschensteiner launched the US nonprofit, Uhambo, to support people with disabilities in South Africa, including rural and impoverished areas of the Western Cape. Now they are looking to further advocate for children with disabilities by bringing in their parents as champions. Parent Champions will go into rural communities and schools where there are few services for kids with disabilities, providing support for other parents of children with disabilities.
First Rape Crisis Center in the Arabian Gulf. For almost 10 years Mary-Justine Todd has worked throughout the world as an advocate and champion for women's rights and women's health. Women's Crisis Care International, founded in the USA in 2013, operates primarily throughout the Arabian Gulf as one of the first traditional rape crisis centers in the entire Gulf region and much of the Arab world. They offer "sensitivity training" for schools, religious groups, community organizations, clinics and hospitals. They provide development and implementation of in-house hospital/clinic formal violence crisis response programs and seek to open a medium and long term counseling center for survivors of violence.
Congratulations to our grantees this week for their outstanding work to bring justice, peace, health and compassion to their communities. These are just a few examples of what a little seed money can do when put in the hands of someone with a vision and a plan to change the world.
Are you our next grantee? Please go to our website at www.thepollinationproject.org for funding guidelines and application.
Follow Ari Nessel on Twitter: www.twitter.com/pollinationproj