08/11/2014 06:22 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

A Hand Up, Not a Hand Out: This Week in Daily Giving

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. Nearly 40 others have since 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.

A Snowball of Generosity in Raleigh, North Carolina. Mac Winslow was inspired by his 7-year-old son who raised more than $300 and gathered 1,400 pounds of food for hungry people in the community. Mac wanted to find a way to continue to encourage his son and other children to harness the power of generosity amongst youth. Mac founded Start a Snowball, an organization that aims to inspire and fund young people to start their own community service projects. They aim to provide a library of resources for kids and their families who want to do good, develop an online community of young philanthropists and give small amounts of seed money to projects.

2014-08-11-14550732814_a622831445_z.jpgLet the Garden be Your Teacher in La Mirada, California.
Lori Clock, a longtime elementary school teacher, is teaching gardening while simultaneously introducing her students to long term life lessons. Lori's Spade Brigade Resiliency Garden trains young people to become experts in growing vegetables through researching soil types, Ph levels, planting and watering requirements, pruning, fertilizing, harvesting, and learning healthy recipes. In addition to these basic skills, students learn the importance of decision making, problem solving, delayed gratification, and healthy eating habits.

Saving Dog's Lives in Dover, Ohio. In its first year, Susie Schupp's organization, Royalty Dog Rescue, has saved over 151 dogs from kill shelters, and facilitated 129 adoptions. Says Susie, "the heart of this organization is our people, and we are very proud and honored that we have over 50 volunteers who donate of their time and talents by fostering, transporting and caring for dogs who otherwise would have been put to sleep." Volunteers help neglected animals by creating a safe haven and giving them time to find their forever "home." Royalty Dog Rescue also strives to help educate people on the importance of spaying and neutering their pets to help prevent over-population.

2014-08-11-14667431391_5185da6fdb_z.jpgSister Schools in California and Kenya. Los Altos, California teacher Hailey Amato first connected with a teacher at The Cheery School in the Kiberia Slum of Nairobi via Skype. Now their students share songs, stories and other messages through videos. In partnership with the Cheery School, Hailey and her class are working to create a program where the Kenyan students, many of whom are frequently hungry, can eat a meal at school. Hailey says, "As a teacher I know how important it is that students have the very basics - like a full stomach- to be able to reach their potential in class."

Job Support for Ex-Offenders in Austin, Texas. Terri Roeber and a small group of dedicated offender employment specialists run the all-volunteer Austin M.O.V.E. Forward. Together, they offer job support to men, women and youth who have been involved with the justice system, aiding in their transition back into society. They require participants to volunteer in the community, "paying it forward" as part of the overall program which Terri describes, as "a hand-up not a hand-out."

Building Women Leaders through Soccer in the Bay Area, California. Brianna Russell is a soccer coach and long time player. She found a way to combine her love of the game and her passion for gender equality by creating Girls Leading Girls, a volunteer-run organization that empowers girls to become leaders in their communities, in their own lives and on the soccer field. "My hope is that more women will become athletes, will stay in the game, will build confidence and self-esteem, will have better relationships with their peers, and will eventually see themselves as coaches and mentors for other girls. Regardless of race, class, or religion, we want every girl to have the chance to succeed on and off the soccer field." Brianna believes women's empowerment is one of the key pieces to leveling the playing field for girls.

Updating Life Skills Curriculum for Inmates in Salt Lake City, Utah. Hannah Pogue and a group of teaching assistants at the Utah Department of Corrections is looking to revamp the outdated Life Skills curriculum offered by state prisons. "We are focusing on restructured lesson plans that emphasize personal growth and emotional maturation by introducing different and varied concepts, critical ways of thinking, and alternative sources of knowledge," Hannah said. Inmates are encouraged to engage with the curriculum through relevant hands-on projects that allows the information to come to life.

Food Access in South Los Angeles, California. In Southern Los Angeles, residents have extremely limited access to quality, natural, healthy foods, making the area a "food desert." The SoLA Food Coop team is looking to launch a cooperatively-owned, eco-friendly, full-service natural foods store in South Los Angeles California in order to bring healthy food within reach to the local community while also promoting food justice and equity. The SoLA Food Co-op will sell organic groceries, prepared foods, juices, tonics, and organic coffee. It will help to create an environment that provides healthier food choices and education towards a more balanced lifestyle. Their goal is to create an affiliate non-profit organization to provide educational outreach promoting a healthy lifestyle through classes, workshops and social events.

Using Art to Rescue Animals in Davis, California.
Charlene Logan Burnett once worked at an animal hospital and her duties included holding animals who were being euthanized. This experience compelled her to call attention to the 10,000 healthy homeless animals who get euthanized every day. She started Sheltered, an art benefit for animals. The art show opens for five weeks in October at the Davis Arts Center and will feature work from over 40 artists with an adoption wall and an infographic series. Proceeds from sales goes to designated animal welfare groups. "I want every child and adult who walks into Davis Arts Center to stop, feel, and then think about what they can do to change the future for one, and hopefully, a thousand more animals."

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 for funding guidelines and application.