Today, Margaret and I submitted our application to the Echoing Green Fellowship. At first, the application was a huge challenge. How do we communicate the breadth and complexity of what we are trying to do in short 500-1000 character responses (including spaces)? In fact, I sat for over five hours staring at a blank page hoping the words would magically reveal themselves to me. Then, I wrote, scratched out, rewrote, scratched out some more, and, ultimately, gave up.
Luckily, there is just more than me to this business. Margaret got some words flowing, which spurred me to write some more. After a couple of meetings, a little back and forth, and some excellent editing by Ramona Soto (one of the artists in our Artist and Healer Network), we have concise, easily understood writing about our hopes, dreams/visions, and mission of what we do at 14 Black Poppies.
And I wanted to share it all with you! Please click through below to learn more about 14 Black Poppies and how we are cultivating community renewal through arts and wellness practices. It's inspiring.
14 Black Poppies cultivates community renewal by making arts and wellness practices accessible to all with an emphasis on marginalized communities.
2. Summarize your organization’s work and purpose in one paragraph
14 Black Poppies offers personal renewal to individuals and professional development to organizations in the form of workshops and trainings. Based on our 14 proverbs we offer workshops using diverse practices such as writing, movement, and visual art to explore issues such as interdependence, harmony, and discovery. Workshops are offered once a month on a donation basis and are open to all. We also develop customized trainings for organizations and businesses based on their needs.
3. Describe the specific social problem your organization is working to solve. Use statistics and references to identify the size and scope of the problem
In these difficult economic times, more is being expected of workers on all levels. Diminishing community services, competitive funding, and job uncertainty leads to stress, burnout, and health issues. This in turn affects workers’ ability to be present and to meet the needs of their communities and clients in a compassionate and healthy manner. 14 Black Poppies provides personal and professional development rooted in arts and wellness practices to begin renewing our communities.
4. Describe the specific products or programs of your organization.
14 Black Poppies facilitates monthly integrative workshops and skill-specific master arts/wellness classes, provides customizable renewal and respite professional development to nonprofits and socially conscious businesses, hosts talks by artists/healers, and convenes an Artist and Healer Network. 14 Black Poppies also produces monthly articles, podcasts, and activity plans—provided for free through our website—to increase the breadth and reach of the 14 Black Poppies philosophy and practice of integrative arts, wellness, and community. 14 Black Poppies will also be writing a workbook, available for purchase, that will share accessible diverse, holistic practices. All products and programs are designed by a multi-cultural, intergenerational team that honors marginalized communities’ expertise and wisdom. Together, these products and services ensure 14 Black Poppies meets its mission of serving all, with an emphasis on historically marginalized communities.
5. How does this approach represent bold innovation versus the status quo?
14 Black Poppies was founded by an intergenerational, intercultural duo as a response to the growing need for intentional cross-cultural community development rooted in renewal and self-care. Historically, marginalized communities’ expertise and wisdom has largely been written out of history books and the collective consciousness. 14 Black Poppies’ approach honors indigenous practices, natural healing modalities, and arts as community and self expression, with an emphasis on LGBTQIA artists/healers and artists/healers of color. Our Artist and Healer Network is a resource for our organization and is comprised of artists/healers with expertise in dance, yoga, education, art, activism, media, and healing. Additionally, 14 Black Poppies leverages the talents and skills of the Network to embed historically marginalized expertise and wisdom into the professional development of their clients, thus ensuring a growing understanding and experience of innate, personal transformation and growth.
6. How might you measure the impact you will have over time? For example, how many people will you help? In what measurable ways? In what timeframe will this happen?
We will measure the impact we have over time in three ways.
1. We will track the number of people and clients served through monthly workshops, serialized classes, and fee-for-services. We will administer surveys at the end of each workshop that measure our success in providing both an environment of renewal and practices that will be easily usable outside the training.
2. We will measure the number of downloads of our ebooks and lesson plans. We will administer a survey to all who download the lesson plans that assesses its usefulness in providing an environment of renewal and any modifications made. This will help us crowdsource our curriculum to constantly improve its impact within diverse communities.
3. We will do two longitudinal studies. The first will focus on a self-selected cohort; the second will focus on a single high-stress profession (e.g., nurses, police, etc.). These will demonstrate our ability to decrease burnout and increase wellness factors.
7. Budget Questions
a. In total, how much money have you raised for this organization so far (in U.S. dollars): $275
b. List the names of any individuals or organizations who have provided greater than $10,000 in funding to date: None
c. How much money do you hope to spend in 2012 (in U.S. dollars): $10,000
d. Approximately how much money do think you might want to spend in five years, in 2017 (in U.S. dollars): $250,000
e. How will you raise the rest of the money you will need in the future? Who or what might be the sources?
14 Black Poppies will raise money through workshops, serialized classes, fee-for-services, and ebooks. Workshops will expand throughout the Bay Area (and beyond) and will remain pay-what-you-can. Serialized classes will focus on in-depth exploration of an arts/wellness practice and will be cohort-run. Fee-for-services will provide clients 14BP-style personal and professional development. Ebooks will include activities, articles, and other resources that deepen 14BP proverbs/workshops.
8. Why are you, unlike the majority of people, so passionate about this issue that you are willing to take the risky leap of starting a new organization?
As a woman of color and queer man, 14 Black Poppies co-founders Margaret and Jason know firsthand that interdependence is crucial for the healing of self. In fact, it is through a 14-year friendship that has blossomed into a professional partnership that Margaret and Jason have found ways to bridge personal self-care and community renewal. Through their combined 50+ years of expertise in education, social justice, community organizing, and workforce development, Margaret and Jason have witnessed the power of intergenerational, intercultural programming to heal communities. As two people who have committed their lives to understanding and addressing the needs of others, Jason and Margaret saw a need to foster renewal and respite in the form of arts, wellness, and community practices. With a special focus on utilizing historically marginalized wisdom and expertise, Jason and Margaret seek to bridge often disparate communities. This work is not a risk. It is life, and it must be done.
9. When and how did you come up with the idea for your organization? Was anyone else involved in developing the idea?
Margaret and Jason founded 14 Black Poppies in June 2011 because they saw a need: fostering renewal and respite in the form of arts, wellness, and community practices for all. They reflected on their life's work and wrote 14 proverbs that summarize and synthesize their philosophy of education—a philosophy that fosters renewal. Their Artist and Healer Network serves as a resource, support system, and cooperative for like-minded practitioners of arts, healing and wellness.
10. Provide one or two examples of your ability to overcome challenges and adversity.
As a person of mixed-race (Okinawan/Anglo) ancestry, I (Margaret) feel much of my life has been about overcoming challenges and adversity. I was born in Japan and grew up traveling domestically and internationally. From a young age I learned to appreciate other cultures and, as I was often the “new kid,” I developed the ability to form an easy rapport with most people. I also had to deal with racism from a very early age (Mississippi in 1964), which has led to a lifetime of peace and justice work.
When I (Jason) came out in 1994, I was the only out person on a Catholic campus of 10,000 undergrad and grad students. I immediately made friends with a small, activist community of color on campus. It saved my life. Our rag tag group fought oppression on campus and actively sought to build pluralism among ourselves. It shaped who I am building a strength of character that values and is committed to building bridges between diverse, often disparate, communities.
11. What skills or experiences demonstrate that you will you be able to attract money, people and other resources to your organization?
Together, we have over 50 years facilitating arts, wellness, and community-based educational experiences. In addition, Jason is very savvy in social media and Margaret has a background in journalism and public relations. We constantly update our website, which features blogs by both of us as well as links to like-minded sources. Our monthly workshops are a service to the community (donation-based fees) and a marketing tool for our organization. The Artist and Healer Network is working on producing monthly articles, podcasts, and activity plans to increase the breadth and reach of the 14 Black Poppies philosophy and practice of arts, wellness, and community. Future projects also include a workbook for purchase. We continue to pursue clients by attending networking events, writing letters, and passing out flyers. We believe that we offer a unique service that will build on its own reputation.
Partnership Short Answer Questions
1. Partnership History: How did you come to start this organization together? How long have you known each other, and in what contexts? Are there other co-founders? If so, what is their current status?
We co-founded 14 Black Poppies in June 2011 after coordinating Wellness Week at a public school in San Francisco. Noticing a disconnect between the way faculty talked about wellness and their daily practice, we saw a need: making daily arts/wellness practices accessible. 14BP grew as an extension of our work in marginalized communities providing healing arts workshops, educational reform, and workforce development. We have been friends for 14 years and have been working together since 2007.
2. Roles/Responsibilities: Describe your individual roles within the organization and the nature of your working relationship.
Jason and Margaret are both co-founders of 14 Black Poppies. Jason’s role is managing the Artist and Healer Network, client development, business/organizational development, and social media. Margaret’s role is managing workshop development, marketing/outreach, and community engagement. Together, Jason & Margaret develop pedagogy and innovate on wellness, arts, and community practices forms.