THE BLOG

Can Money Create True Wealth?

04/16/2015 10:29 pm ET | Updated Jun 16, 2015

Imagine someone handed you $100 out of the blue, but with one condition, that you use it to create goodness in the world with it. Would you take the money?

Yesterday morning, that's exactly what we did with the 27 people who showed up on a conference call to launch our True Wealth Challenge. Those 27 people are now "Trustees." For the next 2 weeks they will be using the $100 we gifted to them to create as much true wealth in the world as possible.

The Challenge aims to look at wealth and capital from a wider lens than the limited approach that finance and money can offer. During our conversation yesterday, Siddharth Sthalekar of Sacred Capital shared about other forms of wealth such as social capital, the ties and relationships that make communities more resilient; cultural capital, traditions and rituals that allow us to find our place in the family of humanity; experiential capital, the chance to learn by doing and connecting to others in real time all over the world.

Why would a nonprofit foundation do this? Like most other grantmaking institutions, The Pollination Project operates in the world of money, so it would seem that giving money is our business. But we believe it takes a lot more than money to change the world.

That's why our real work is not about the money. It is about creating the conditions for the kind of world we want to live in -- a world where all beings are safe, happy, peaceful and free. This kind of world needs much more than financial capital. It requires social connections, ambition, generosity, trust, ideas, knowledge, love, action, experience, talent, prayer, healing, intention, songs, rituals, water, soil, air, and so much more. We are dedicated to cultivating all of these forms of wealth through our daily practice of giving grants.

Our grantees frequently remind us of this value proposition when they tell us that the wealth created by their grant was not in the funding we gave them, but in the connections they make. They appreciate the global community of grantees, the cheerleading from our donors and staff, and the confidence gained in securing their first foundation funder. Our donors often say that they feel like they receive far more than they give to us. Even the applicants who we don't fund tell us that the process of applying helps them see their project more clearly.

Thus, the True Wealth Challenge is an extension of the grantmaking we do every day. It is an experiment in creating the kind of wealth that matters among our network of supporters, grantees, fans and even facebook followers. And it is a chance to demonstrate that life is so much more joyous when we are generous.

We will let you know what our 27 True Wealth Challenge trustees do with their $100. Prepare to be inspired.