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 us in your own way. Here are the extraordinary people and projects that our daily givers supported this week.
Clifford Cheeks launched The Wellness Advocates of Detroit to address the cycle of generational self-defeating behavior that leads to diseases such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer. He notes that this cycle impacts the overly vulnerable local African-American population in Detroit. To address the problem, Clifford is inspiring members of his community to change their lifestyles through fun and educational events such as a youth olympics, a men's conference, a wellness symposium for women, and a youth talent show.
Sydney Gray and Kelly Manning are the founders of Mama Maji, an organization in Kenya that sees water as a means for women to transform their communities and their lives. Through community trainings, Mama Maji has supported local women to take ownership of the means of water distribution. Kelly and Sydney also created a sister program in their hometown of New Orleans, LA to develop a professional internship program for those who wish to enter the field of international development.
As a long-time volunteer with VegWorcester, Julia Cohn became inspired to fulfill the need for vegan eating options in Worcester, Massachusetts by starting the Chickpea Cafe. The Chickpea Cafe is a vegan cafe that will provide access to affordable and delicious vegan food and fresh produce in a local low income neighborhood, while also generating income for VegWorcester.
Morris Darbo is part of Liberia Animal Welfare and Conservation Society (LAWCS), a community-based organization that promotes humane education in Liberia. His project, the Campaign Against Pet Eating, is aimed at creating a culture of empathy and caring. Morris points out "Education is the key to ending cruelty to animals and bringing about transformation. Every human has a natural tendency toward kindness, but needs awareness, honesty, and courage in order to translate that tendency into concrete action."
Justin Smith and Eric Brozell founded Bike Erie, a grassroots bicycle advocacy group in Erie, Pennsylvania. Bike Erie aims to build a more healthy, livable and sustainable community by supporting, creating and leading local "active transportation" efforts such as biking and walking.
As a professional sustainability advocate and empowerment promoter, Brian Reyes founded Changing the Course: Community, Environment, Sustainability, Arts in the Bati District of Cambodia, where he has been volunteering his time for the past three years. Changing the Course is fostering sustainable agriculture and youth empowerment programs for rural communities impacted by HIV/AIDS and extreme poverty. The project engages at-risk youth and adults through music, dance, and the arts and educates them about the larger environmental and sustainability issues affecting rural Cambodia.
Mafah Kuta and Ivaan Ngale started the Financially Self-Sufficient School in Cameroon to provide vocational and entrepreneurship education to secondary school drop-outs in poor communities. As Mafah points out, "blending entrepreneurship with vocational education in [the] field of agriculture will provide young people with practical skills and knowledge that they need to prosper after graduation." The school includes a viable, profit-generating farm that is a means of income for the project itself. Profits will be used to provide start-up capital for the young entrepreneurs after graduation to support them starting their own farming business.
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.