Changing ourselves changes the world. In 2013, a group of daily givers, myself included, committed to provide seed funding to a fledgling social change project every single day of the year. At the Pollination Project, we continue this practice of daily giving by making seed grants every day in 2014. We welcome you to join our team, or take on a daily generosity practice in your own way! Here are the extraordinary people and projects that we supported this week.
Creating Giving Circles All Over the US. Sharon Lipinski is the founder of a network of virtual giving circles called Change Gangs: Virtual Giving Circles. "Good philanthropy isn't easy," says Sharon, "[it] requires knowledge, experience, and time." Change Gangs was founded with the belief that a small donation is a big deal, and aims to close the gap between the size of an individual's wallet and the size of impact that is being made by the donation. By pooling small donations and having the group research the problems and solutions, Change Gangs helps donation dollars to be directed in ways that create greater impact.
Community Theatre for At Risk Youth in the California Inland Empire.
Nosente Uhuti is bringing community theatre to homeless LGBTQ and youth in the foster system in California's Inland Empire. Her project, From Fear 2 Freedom, is a place for youth to explore their talents, express themselves and overcome the barriers to their aspirations. Nosente's personal experience makes her uniquely aware of the needs and she explains, "It is paramount that [these youth] know they are important and their lives have value." Together with local and visiting artists, the youth and artists create scripts detailing the challenge in their lives and solutions to those challenges, eventually acting out those solutions on stage. After the performances, the theatre group provides referrals and support to participants.
Access to Healthy Food in West Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Local botanist Daniel Lewis couldn't believe that many of his neighbors didn't have easy access to affordable fresh fruits and vegetables. With the grocery store seven miles away and without access to a car, elderly and poorer residents often had to rely on the pricey, low-quality produce on hand at the general store in town or go without. Daniel launched the West Stockbridge Community Garden and Produce Bank which will gather the veggies grown in the garden, along with produce donated from farmers' markets and get them onto the dinner tables of those in need.
Art & Healing for Survivors of Sexual Violence in Nairobi. A long-time advocate for the survivors of sexual violence, Wangu Kanja is giving hope to survivors living in the Mukuru kwa Ruben slum in Nairobi, Kenya. Her new project will incorporate dance as a path to healing and expression, as well as entrepreneurial training so survivors can generate income to support themselves and their families. "I am passionate about healing because if not addressed, this will affect their families and community," she said. "Low self-esteem, anger, resentment and doubt makes the women and children vulnerable to re-victimization."
Training Female Farmers in Cameroon. Nuah Roger Keghah is looking to build healthier soil, along with healthier lives for women and girls in northwest Cameroon. Nuah will be organizing a two-day workshop on composting and plastic recycling for female farmers. He has already hosted trainings on everything from mitigating climate change to deforestation to seed collection and storage. "The goal of this project is to empower women by training and teaching best farming practices for sustainable growing while building business and commerce in each region," Nuah said.
Mobile Soup Kitchen in Naga City, Philippines.Noel Regachuelo's vision is to turn something ordinary - an electric motorbike - into something extraordinary and needed in his community of Naga City, Philippines. Noel wants to transform the bike into a mobile soup kitchen, where volunteers would dole out hot vegan food and fight hunger and poverty in the city. Besides starting Food Not Bombs in Naga, Noel also started his own Autonomous Space called the Greenhouse Infoshop Project, where he organizes many projects like gardening, film screening, art exhibits and independent library to promote community cooperation and self-reliance, rather than reliance on the government. After the mobile soup kitchen is built, Noel plans to launch the "Mobile Soup Kitchen Solidarity Tour" around Naga City.
Mushroom Cultivation in Ngora, Uganda. Recognizing the need for rural-based families to gain economic independence through great social barriers, Agolor Moses founded the Kodike Mushroom Cultivating Project in the Ngora District of Uganda. With the increasing popularity of mushrooms as both food and medicine, Moses has designed the project to not only enhance the income of the participating families, but also support continuing education towards better farming methods, mushroom expertise and effective marketing of the yields. By improving the livelihood of the participants and create a foundational base for income generation, economic opportunity, and social awareness, the Kodike Mushroom Cultivating Project stands to truly transform the community.
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.