This time of year a lot of people open their hearts—and their pocketbooks—to give a little extra to charitable causes. It feels great to give, which is one reason real estate developer and longtime yoga practitioner Ari Nessel has committed the next year to giving—and he wants to help others give, too.
Everyday in 2013 Nessel and his organization, The Pollination Project, will give individuals $1,000 grants to fund projects that promote compassion, community health, and sustainability—that's $365,000 to make the world a better place. He hopes the result will cause a ripple effect by inspiring others along the way.
He's looking for people to spearhead projects that promote compassion, environmental sustainability, community wellness, justice, or social change—values he says are inspired by his yoga practice. "It's ingrained in my blood," he says. "Everything I am is a reflection of the teachings of yoga."
Why wouldn't he just give his money to charitable organizations? He believes funding individuals' projects will have a greater impact. People expect organizations to do positive things, but people are more able to identify with individuals. "Other people will look at what they're doing and think, 'I can do that, too,'" he says. "It will inspire other people to do the same."
Nessel's story is pretty inspiring, too. He had been doing very well in his business of sustainably renovating apartment buildings around Dallas where he lives, but he began feeling more connected to the work that was happening in the non-profit world. He considered quitting his job to give his time to those organizations, but the non-profit leaders he approached said they needed his money more than his services. "I realized I could have a more positive impact by using my skill set and God-given talents by staying in the business world and being as generous as I can," he said, adding that it is important to him that his business is run with integrity, too. So he kept working, and he started the Pollination Project, which also gives money to non-profits like Off the Mat, Into the World and PETA. Nessel isn't just helping the world through giving money, he also shares yoga and meditation by facilitating and teaching workshops.
Do you have an idea for a project that will have long-term positive effect on the world around you? To apply for a grant visit thepollinationproject.org.