What is it like to make a financial investment in a social change leader, every single day of the year? Since January 1, 2013, through the Pollination Project, I've been giving daily micro grants to emerging projects and inspiring people all over the world. Now over 40 people have joined me, each of them giving at least $1 every day to our awe-inspiring grantees.
Here are the extraordinary people and projects that our Daily Giving Community is honored to support this week.
Reproductive Health Uganda. Taylor Dempsey, a Peace Corps volunteer in Uganda, saw too many girls missing class because of health issues. Most girls living in rural villages in Uganda are forced to stay home while they are menstruating, missing up to ¼ of class time, which puts them further behind their male peers. So she decided to start teaching the RUMPS (Re-Useable Menstrual Pads) curriculum at primary and secondary schools for girls and women aged 12-19 all over Uganda. "This project would teach over 1000 Ugandan girls how to make sanitary pads from local materials, and would spark accompanying conversations about waste reduction, environmental health, and conscious consumerism," Taylor said. "Teaching girls how to make inexpensive, local, self-produced pads means empowering them to better take control of their personal health, their education, and their environmental impact."
Welcoming New Neighbors in New York. For Christine Celander DeLillo, the concept of forming a "Welcome Committee" started many years ago while she sat on the Diversity Forum of the Board of Realtors in Rockland County, New York. As Christine was always looking to share resources with newcomers, she created packages of important town, county, and village information while also promoting arts, culture, and local community organizations. Welcome to your Community is run by Rockland County's Welcome Committee (RCWC), a not-for-profit organization of community volunteers whose mission is to introduce new residents to information and resources pertinent to their new community, with emphasis on assisting the growing immigrant population in Rockland to achieve their educational and work goals.
Warm Winters in California. In 2011, eleven year old ski racers, Corinne Hindes and Katrine Kirsebom, noticed many people in their community who did not have warm clothing during the cold winter months. Warm Winters was created to address this need. The project started when the girls saw the lost and found at various ski resorts overflowing with warm clothing items. They asked the resorts if they could donate the unclaimed clothing to the homeless and underserved population in their hometowns. Since then, they have donated over 5,000 items to over 2,500 people. In 2014, after receiving a Jefferson Award and leadership training for their work, Corinne and Katrine are ready to take Warm Winters across the US. Their 5-year goal is to be in 10 states, work with 50 to 60 ski resorts, have up to 125 teen volunteers, and distribute warm clothing to 50,000 people who need it.
Giving Animals a Loving Home in Connecticut. Every day millions of animals are abused or neglected at the hands of humans. Brenda Deloy, founder of Soul Mutts Rescue CT, a no-kill animal rescue in Plainville, Connecticut is run completely by volunteers. Their mission is to save abandoned, neglected, and abused animals. "Our passion is animals, and to help as many in need as possible," Brenda said. "By offering proper medical care, vaccinations and spay/neuter, and placement in loving foster homes, we will prepare each animal for their lifelong permanent home where they can truly understand what it feels like to be part of a family and loved for the rest of their days."
Teaching Traditional Crafts and a Sustainable Trade in Uganda. Deborah Manyiraho, a teacher in Tororo, Uganda, created Magical Hands when she noticed that young children no longer do traditional hand work in school due to the current academic and exam-oriented system of education. Deborah uses her weekends and holidays to teach children to craft mats, table cloths, ropes, balls, scarves, paper beads, flower vases and other items. Her goal with the project is to help kids develop into creative and self-reliant young Ugandans. For many women, hand work skills are what sustain them in times of crisis or economic hardship. The ability to make and sell craft products is a safety net for many. Over time, Deborah plans to sustain the project through selling some of the crafts made by the participants.
Kindness in California. After experiencing loss and surviving health challenges, Kelsey Crowe knows how it feels both to be isolated and also supported during times of need. Help Each Other Out: Share What Works was created to share gestures of support that were appreciated by people going through tough times. The project aims to create a worldwide "Rolodex of ideas" for people who want to reach out, but have questions on how to do so. The project encourages community members to reach out to a neighbor, a colleague, or to a friend struggling with challenges such as illness, loss, or divorce.
No More Suffering Cows in New England. For the past 17 years, Marlene Nareau, a long-time animal massage therapist and teacher, has been the sole financial supporter and caregiver at her own animal sanctuary. A passionate vegan, Marlene would like to add a vegan educational center to her New England sanctuary which currently houses four rescued cows. One of her aims is to bring global awareness to the realities of the dairy industry. "I am interested in motivating girls and women to open their hearts and eyes to the immense, unnecessary, and hidden violence towards billions of animals, and how this violence is reflected back at us, and, like a boomerang, returns back to us," she said. "Humans have the power to stop this suffering."
A Chance for Children to Show their Abilities in North Carolina. As a former professional basketball player in Europe and an upper-level manager in the corporate world, Frank Recker has experienced firsthand how our competitive and athletic world disproportionally values people by their achievements. Team iTRY is Frank's vision to celebrate the abilities of children with special needs living in Carrboro, North Carolina. Team iTRY hopes to empower children with special needs and their families through a mainstream athletic event. They will be a vital part of a team, be challenged mentally and physically, benefit from ongoing training, experience the thrill of competition, and be cheered across the finish line! "We can all act in small ways every day to connect on a more personal human level, and in doing so make our communities, societies, and world a better, more loving place to live," Frank said.
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.