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Do Something Good: Bridge the Gap

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One of my favorite projects is directing the Upaya Buddhist Chaplaincy Program, based here in Santa Fe, under the leadership of Roshi Joan Halifax.

Penny Alsop, of Tallahassee, Florida, is one of our Second Cohort students. She has submitted a great proposal called “Bridge the Gap” to the Pepsi-Cola “Refresh Everything” campaign.

Here’s how it works: Each month, Pepsi gives away more than $1 million in grants to fund great ideas. Here’s an overview of Penny’s idea:

The “Bridge the Gap” project will fulfill one of the most critical needs of ex-offenders upon release and during their transition time from the ‘inside’ to the outside world – employment. Using the proven viability of small scale gardening, Florida’s long growing season, and the general public’s growing desire for fresh, local produce, it will create and operate a small urban farm and market, employing up to ten ex-offenders in its first year of operation. The training center will teach skills and provide ample opportunity to practice and cultivate gardening, cooking, retail,  service and small business management skills.

You can help make Penny’s vision a reality by voting for her project here. The projects with the most votes will receive funding from Pepsi. Voting ends on February 28. And while you’re there, check out some of the other great ideas.

I’m happy to share an opportunity to make something good happen. How often do we get to do that?!

About Maia

I've been practicing and studying the Buddha way since 1994, and exploring the question "What is engaged Buddhism?" since the late 90s. As former executive director of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship and editor of its journal, Turning Wheel, I had the honor of meeting and working with many practitioners of engaged dharma, including Roshi Joan Halifax, Joanna Macy, Alan Senauke, and Robert Aitken Roshi. I write about socially engaged Buddhism on my blog, "The Jizo Chronicles," as well as on the theme of personal and collective freedom on my website, "The Liberated Life Project." Through my Five Directions Consulting, I offer support to individuals and organizations who aspire to integrate awareness into their work.

5 responses »

  1. Thanks for noting this. Would you consider giving updates on her status?

  2. Hi Seki,

    I’ll do my best… and maybe I’ll even invite Penny to write a guest article about her project.


  3. I wish Pepsi would bridge the obesity gap by disappearing. With that said, I support Penny’s project idea fully as an avid gardener who has seen the positive results of community gardens all over the place. Maybe this is an opportunity to take some “dirty money,” and grow something beautiful out of it.

  4. I hear ya Nathan… I’m all for spiritual money laundering.

  5. Thank you, Maia, for taking the time to post this message to your readers. I appreciate it. And thanks to you, Nathan for your comments and efforts.

    Seki, last I checked, the project was at 139. That means that out of 1,000 entries, Bridge the Gap is in the top 15%. It would take a lot of votes between now and February 28th for it to win, so I’m not counting on that happening. But, it’s been so helpful to articulate the vision this early in the process. And, the ‘magic’ has surely kicked in because I’ve made many, many great contacts in the process.

    Thanks to you all who are taking the time to think, write, and vote!

    Love, love, love.


    PS Happy to write a guest post anytime, Maia!


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