What is it like to make a financial investment in an up and coming social change leader, every single day of the year? Since January 1, 2013, through my work at 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.
Teaching Emotional Intelligence to Girls in Chicago. Vanessa and Christina Douyon, former K-12 teachers in Chicago, Illinois, learned that emotional intelligence is the single largest predictor of future financial success. They began to focus on something outside of traditional academics--the ability for students to manage their emotions. The Moxie Leadership Academy is a 6 week summer learning lab where participating girls develop the emotional intelligence and academic skills essential for long-term success. The Moxie team of teachers, MBA and PhD candidates, will expose girls to rigorous math and science content and teach them how to lead self-directed social action projects.
Gender Equality in Sierra Leone. Safiatu Farma explains that women form 52% of the total population of Sierra Leone, but are not considered in most decision making, including policy making for national and rural development. "Women support their men to mine sand or bring to town wood from the forest to sell," Safiatu says, "but the proceeds of these activities never benefit the women, even with the fact that they contribute 50% in these activities." The aim of Safiatu's project is to create a livelihood and voice for women by teaching them about rice cultivation and production. Safiatu's project will work with forty women to cultivate five acres of rice in a way that simultaneously protects the environment while promoting social and economic growth among women.
Vegan College Students in Iowa. Sarina Farb is a student activist at Grinnell College in Iowa. She is part of Grinnellians Advancing Animal CompassionTogether (AACT), a group dedicated to creating a more just and sustainable world for all sentient beings through vegan outreach and activism. The group educates students by hosting events and awareness campaigns to address the environmental, social justice, public health, and ethical concerns surrounding the use of animals in modern society.
Giving Orphans Tools to Thrive in Uganda. After his parents passed away, Fred Moses Muhumuza benefited greatly from the Kyema Mustard Seed project, located in Masindi, Uganda. Because of this support, Fred became a well-educated health professional. Now he is Chairperson of the Kyema Mustard Seed Young Adults (KMSYA) Project, a new generation of the work. Graduated beneficiaries from the original Kyema Mustard Seed project, like Fred, are working to create a society where orphans can afford an education. The new KMSYA Project is looking to create sustainable sources of income. Their plan is to rent out plastic chairs for social functions, which is a very needed business in their community. This creative small business will help build the foundation of financial support for KMSYA for years to come.
Planting Trees in Uganda. Jennifer Burges currently serves as a Peace Corps volunteer at Nzrambi Orphans Talent Development Centre, in Kasese, Western Uganda. Through Fruit For Thought, Jennifer and volunteers will engage over 100 local orphans in fruit tree planting while educating them on nutrition and the importance of environmental sustainability. In this region, the community is lucky to have incredibly fertile soil. Despite the ability to grow practically anything, they have one of the highest rates of malnutrition in Uganda. Fruit For Thought aims to plant 200 fruit trees and 1000 trees of other species. "I want to promote the protection of our environment while encouraging these vulnerable youth to better their health by eating more fruits and vegetables," said Jennifer.
Supporting Migrant Youth in Thailand. Mykell Winterowd and the Fortune Community Center serves the needs of local Shan community members in the Wiang Wai Village of Northern Thailand. The organization, founded by and for the local Shan community, is looking to add an after school project that will create a safe place for Shan youth to gather, learn social and life skills and receive assistance with their homework. Many of these children are from migrant families, and do not have the Thai language skills they need to be successful in the Thai school system. "We anticipate that with a well-developed program, these young people will benefit with life skills training, Thai and Shan Language, as well as English teaching, and they will begin to develop their own sense of responsibility for their community," said Mykell.
Creating Dirt in New Mexico. Farmer Chad Belvill, a life-long student of soil, farming, gardening, foraging, and entrepreneurship, started Brio Soil and Compost . In the Taos, New Mexico area there is a strong commitment to environmental sustainability and also concern over local retailers supplying bagged soil that has been shipped in from great distance, at great expense of both dollars and fuel consumption, while thousands of cubic yards of compostable material go to waste. Brio Soil and Compost manages and composts food and agricultural waste materials. We gave them a zero interest Pay it Forward loan to be used towards the purchase of equipment. Brio Soil and Compost will then re-pay this loan by funding another Pollination Project grantee.
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.
Want to be part of the joy of giving? Join our Daily Giving Community, or simply create your own giving practice. It will change your life!
Are you our next grantee? Please go to our website at www.thepollinationproject.org for funding guidelines and application.