Addressing the world’s most pressing environmental challenges — like water, waste, and climate change — requires dedication and creativity. Oftentimes successful solutions come from unexpected people and places.
Take the impact grant recipients recently announced by The Pollination Project, in partnership with Levi Strauss & Co. These six young people hail from five countries and are dedicated to tackling a broad range of issues. A common thread that ties them all together? Each one is making the change they want to see in the world.
LS&Co.’s work with The Pollination Project began earlier this year, driven by the desire to support youth who show innovation, vision and leadership. We teamed up with the organization to make seed grants that support young heroes working on environmental solutions worldwide. Our shared goal is to develop the next generation of global environmental leaders who will conserve, protect, restore and advocate for the ecosystems upon which our civilization depends.
In 2015, we awarded 20 environmental seed grants to youth like Kirsten and Padmanaban. This month, LS&Co. selected six of these young people to receive additional impact grants, ranging from $2,500-$5,000, to help them continue their important work.
A group of LS&Co. employees who consistently participate in the company’s philanthropic efforts had the opportunity to help select the impact grant recipients.
Jamila Hubbard, Manager, M&D Business Systems and Process Support, was honored to be involved in the selection process and was inspired by the creativity, commitment and accomplishments of the applicants.
“I was so overtaken by the breadth of ideas and follow-through put forth by the applicants. It gave me hope to see young people taking up such big issues,” Jamila said. “Hopefully, knowing they have the confidence and support from others will inspire them to continue the work they are doing into adulthood and to inspire those around them to do the same.”
Here’s a snapshot of the projects the impact grants supported:
- Through Flying Garden project, the UTOPIA Organisation is creating rooftop gardens in the most underprivileged areas of Tripoli, Lebanon. The rooftops provide edible plants and vegetables for building residents while also providing safe playing space for children who might otherwise be spending time on the streets in unsafe surroundings. The impact grant will allow the youth-run collective to complete a rooftop renovation.
- The Aqua Clean Initiative started by Beth Koigi, 24, makes charcoal water filters and distributes them to local women’s groups in Kenya via an innovative financing model. With an impact grant, Beth will be able to grow the number of filters she’s able to distribute each month.
- Padmanaban Gopalan, 22, is a social entrepreneur whose No Food Waste project collects surplus food from events and serves it to the hungry in Coimbator, India. The impact grant will help No Food Waste expand its model into additional cities in India.
- Warm Winters, started by Corinne Hindes, 16, and Katrine Kirsebom, 16, collects unclaimed winter clothing from ski resorts and empowers teen volunteers to distribute the items to homeless shelters across the United States. The teens will use the impact grant to support their five-year goal of partnering with 60 ski resorts across the U.S. and training youth volunteers in each location.
- The Community Water and Sanitation Hygiene project started by Nakitto Betty, 20, in Uganda is helping develop clean water sources in the local villages while educating residents about the importance of hygiene and sanitation. The impact grant will allow the project to install upgrade wells in three villages.
- Charles Orgbon, 19, started Greening Forward as a youth-led training program aimed at educating the next generation of environmental advocates. Charles will use the impact grant to update the training materials Green Forward has developed in order to expand its reach to young people around the globe.
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