Summer is over, and the fall election is upon us. S peaking of presidents, my biggest Girasol news is that President Obama recognized two client projects of mine this summer!  

1) Obama participated in a Shared_Studios event at the Google for Entrepreneurs summit . Shared_Studios is a global arts, design, and technology collective whose unique  audiovisual Portals technology allows participants to see another person across the world live and full-body, as if in the same room.  

For this event, Shared_Studios connected Obama to young entrepreneurs in London, Erbil, Iraq, Mexico City, and Seoul for a live dialogue about social start-ups. (Pictured below.)

At the end of the event, Obama ch eerily declared, "That was great!"

2 Obama also visited national parks in California and New Mexico to celebrate 100 years of the National Park Service.  My client HAF is part of that #NPS100 campaign. HAF CEO Maite Arce recently joined U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell in the town hall discussion commemorating the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service at Cesar E. Chavez National Monument. 

With Girasol's help, HAF won a William and Flora Hewlett Foundation grant from to strengthen its advocacy work. As a result, HAF successfully lobbied  Obama to designate new monuments in the California desert - where nearly half of the population is Latino - and also declare the  San Gabriel Mountains a national monument.  That meant a lot to me, because I grew up hiking those mountains. Below is a picture of me on the trails, at 16: 

As we head into the last few months of the Obama White House, I am uplifted by the fact that emergent communities - young people, women, and people of color - got a president elected.  That *happened*. And as a full circle, this marginal senator-turned-president (that half of my DC household worked for, in his Office of Public Engagement) recognized my client's work pushing the margins of non-profit work. 

I will forever be inspired by the Obamas as people, and as parents. Raising a child in today's uncertain world isn't always easy, but I reference Michelle's refrain, "When they go low, we go high." 
And now, moving onto more everyday Girasol news:  
                                           ECS Receives New Grants for
                                      Campus and Program Expansions
There is something very special happening at Environmental Charter Schools (ECS), the South LA network that I consult for. In  urban patches of paradise nestled among LA's busiest freeways, students use the environment as a lens to become agents of change. ECS authentically engages students in real-world issues while achieving a 97% college acceptance rate. 63% of ECS students are first-generation college students.

And ECS is getting the recognition it deserves! 
ECS recently won the 2016 Best of Green Schools "K-12 School" award from the U.S. Green Building Council and the Green Schools National Network, and also received a  $500,000 grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation through the Great Public Schools Now initiative. 
This grant is for expansions of the Inglewood middle school campus.
In addition, we secured new operating and programmatic gifts from foundations, corporations, and municipal agencies, including the Joseph Drown Foundation, Chevron, and the West Basin Municipal Water District.

Brooklyn Girasol Client Receives
New York Community Trust grant

Did you know that Brooklyn is home to the largest Black community and the largest creative community in the country?

651 ARTS received a new, multi-year grant from the New York Community Trust
for its important work of deepening awareness of and appreciation for the contemporary performing arts and culture of the African Diaspora.

651 ARTS originally grew out of a presenting partnership with the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), and evolved to become an independent organization developing, commissioning, producing, and presenting performing arts and cultural programming rooted in the Diaspora.

Over the course of its 27 year history, 651 ARTS has worked with over 1,000 artists and artistic ensembles - from Cuba to Trinidad, Senegal to South Africa, Brooklyn to Brazil and back - on more than 500 projects, bringing excellent and artistically significant dance, theater, music and humanities programming to Brooklyn and New York City. 

Girasol Helps Secure National Science Foundation
Grant for Arctic Design Group Network 

Did you know that some people study the barren arctic  as a way to understand the future of cities? In this land of extremes, globalization often happens in abrupt, disruptive, and polarizing ways.

Now, a group of academics are using the region's "frontier" mentality to imagine what  urban sustainability might look like there.

Girasol helped an academic research consortium between George Washington University, the Univeristy of Virginia, and other institutions secure a National Science Foundation grant for this work.  The project is titled "Promoting Urban Sustainability in the Arctic", and brings together a multidisciplinary, multinational network of scientists from the U.S., Russia, Canada, Norway and other countries to examine ways to encourage urban sustainability in the Arctic.

UVa's portion was $255,000.   

To learn more about the project, please visit 


 Girasol Grantwrting Workshops! 

Now that Caetano is almost two and toddling towards preschool, I'm going to start offering my grantwriting workshops again!

Do you know of a group who could benefit from a Grantwriting 101 workshop over the course of a morning or afternoon?

If so, drop me a line! I'm currently booking for fall 2016.