There are over 7 billion people on the planet, each born with a drive to connect. The explosion of technology means we can digitally meet new people from all over the world. Social media “friends” lists can number in the thousands, a testament to our innate interest in the lives of others.
But what is a “friend,” really?
When things are going well, we may find ourselves surrounded by friends. But when things are more challenging, many of those same people may well disappear. When adversity comes knocking, those who turn toward us rather than away from us are our real friends. When life becomes messy and the party’s over, real friends step forward and lend a hand to help us clean it all up.
Early in The Pollination Project’s history, we supported a project led by Kelsey Crowe, an empathy expert who went on to co-write a book called “There is No Good Card for This: What To Say and Do When Life Is Scary, Awful, and Unfair to People You Love.” The book deals with how to support the people we love through illness or adversity. One aspect of the book that I won’t soon forget involved moving from thinking about being helpful to actually acting on that intention. This means replacing the ubiquitous “let me know if there is anything I can do to help,” with statements “I will bring you dinner on Friday,” or “I am coming over tomorrow to tidy up for you.”
There is so much in this simple notion that underlies who we are at The Pollination Project. Our community is full of compassionate doers. Rather than waiting to be asked, they show up and fill the need before them.
During the unfolding of COVID-19 across the world, I was so uplifted by the ways our community turned towards the most vulnerable in their own backyards. In recent weeks during the second surge in India, I felt this same inspiration. In moments of crisis, we are here for each other, bonded in our shared hope of a kind, compassionate world.
Our highest aspiration is not to be a foundation that only gives away money. Our aim is simple: to show up and be a friend – a real friend.