Pollyanna creates discussion platforms for groups of people to explore issues of diversity, equity and inclusion; and to share experiences and knowledge. We believe in being eternally optimistic even in the face of challenge. Pollyanna exists to be part of the solution.
July 2019 Update

I just finished attending a very inspiring conference by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation titled: [Untitled]. The purpose was to engage exceptional speakers from various backgrounds and diverse disciplines to engage in conversations about topics outside their areas of expertise. Each day brought dynamic speakers and panels, and insightful questions and discussions. Click here if you’d like to watch any of the segments. The topics or panelists I found most engaging were:
  • Henry Timms gave the opening keynote
  • Society of Spectacle: Representation as Reality with Oskar Eustis moderating
  • Inequality: Standing on the Back of Others with Wes Moore and Alexander Zeldin
  • Defining Leadership in the 21st Century with Marshall Ganz
  • The Intended and Unintended Consequences of the #MeToo Movement with Katherine Fleming
  • A Post-American Century? with Mark Brzenzinski

I was inspired by many people at the conference and by many others I’ve met along the way. Nothing is more inspiring than people who make a difference, and I seem to know some very inspiring people. On a small or large scale, each is making a difference and their enthusiasm about the work is very contagious. Whether it’s fighting for human, health or reproductive rights, mending political and religious differences, addressing food sustainability or self-care, each has found their voice and a place where they make a difference. I hope they inspire you too!
Cyndie Berthezene
Founder & Executive Director
The Time In Children’s Arts Initiative & HiArt!
The work of transforming our broken systems is more urgent than ever. In NYC’s disadvantaged communities, children are experiencing barriers that imperil their ability to succeed. Thousands of children, with extraordinary potential, enter under-resourced schools where, rather than having their talents buoyed, they are deprived of the aesthetic, cognitive and social-emotional support they need to reach their true potential.  TimeIn believes every child is entitled to a curated, arts-enriched education in which their talents are recognized, and the support for greater creativity and self-esteem is more than a promise. 
Holly Carter
Founder & Executive Director
“I started BYkids to create cross-cultural understanding through storytelling - to allow our youth to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. BYkids produces documentary films by kids about their lives with the goal of engaging audiences of other kids in conversations about topics like immigration, bullying, juvenile justice, climate change and child marriage. Broadcast on public television and distributed with innovative teaching material through PBS LearningMedia, Discovery Education and PenPal Schools, our films make topics relevant and actionable.”
Lisa Cholnoky
“I launched the  DECENCY  movement to encourage civil discourse and respect through local initiatives that can grow on a national scale. Our children need role models, and to achieve this, we need to remember our ABC's:

A ctive listening

B etter understanding

C ompassion" 
Katie Danziger
Board Chair
Planned Parenthood NYC
"I believe having control of your health is a basic right, which then allows you to control and make decisions about what is best for you. This should not depend on your income or education level, or your immigration or insurance status. Being involved in PPNYC 's mission and vision to make healthcare more equitable is encouraging. Seeing the outpouring of people who have gotten involved, from helping fund our mobile medical units to hosting bake sales, to designing clothing and jewelry to benefit PPNYC to escorting at health centers, people are bringing PPNYC with them and this gives me hope. Each of us can make a difference in small and large everyday ways."
Lisa Issroff
Issroff Family Foudation
“The Issroff Family Foundation leverages our resources to have the greatest impact on people’s lives. Besides providing funding - there are many impactful ways to change hearts, minds, opportunities and systems, and often it is the small things. Perhaps it is a chance conversation with members of our  WeareWISE  program that results in a job opportunity, or an invitation to a networking event that results in being recruited onto a board or becoming a mentor. IFF convenes people to intentionally curate opportunities for these encounters to occur.”
Emily Kian
"Everyone should feel a moral obligation to protect the planet, in one way or another. With Phyta , I hope to fight climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions through seaweed cultivation. I'm interested in exploring the synergy between science and entrepreneurship because I believe solutions that stem from these fields will have the most wide-reaching and powerful impacts."
Samantha Konigsberg
" inVISABLE is the first social media platform and full-fledged app promoting community cohesion for those experiencing chronic illness. Having 8 chronic illnesses myself and spending countless hours searching, without success, for a platform like this, I decided to create it. If there is change in this world that you want to see, don’t wait for someone else to do the hard work, do it yourself."
Wes Moore
Robin Hood
“I do the work I do at Robin Hood because we need to address both the immediate impacts of poverty as well as the why we have such a wide and unforgiving pipeline into poverty. We cannot pretend like this is not impacting all of us, and how this level of economic inequality is immoral but doesn’t have to be a permanent state.”
Tal Recanati
Board Vice Chair
Seeds of Peace
Seeds of Peace inspires and cultivates young global leaders in communities divided by conflict. Our network includes 7000+ alumni in the Middle East, South Asia, Europe and the US who are transforming their communities through politics, civil society, journalism, social entrepreneurship and education. The breakdown in civil discourse between those with opposing views, here in the US and around the globe, make Seeds of Peace’s work more important than ever. of us, and how this level of economic inequality is immoral but doesn’t have to be a permanent state.”
Vicki Tate
“I started the Alliance of Women Executives as a way to bring executive, professional and entrepreneurial women together while giving back to our community through academic scholarships. AWE scholarships were designed to support young women who choose to or need to stay local. Our scholarships enhance the opportunity for these young women to continue their education so they can cultivate their knowledge and skills to pursue their dreams.”
Cathy Trentalancia
"All of us, no matter our age, know that the extraordinary levels of stress and anxiety that we are experiencing has created a mental health crisis. MindScience is committed to helping by drawing on methodologies from Mindfulness, Neuroscience, Social, Emotional, Ethical Learning and Contemplative Psychology to increase self awareness, peace of mind, focus and connection. We believe at MindScience it is time to find a new way of being -- in society, in schools, in nature, and, most importantly, within ourselves."
Priya Mittal
GroGreen Tech
GroGreen Tech aims to minimize the amount of ‘ugly produce’ that goes to waste by connecting local farms to restaurants and juice and smoothie bars in NYC. Through a custom, iOS application, restaurants and juice bars can order produce at discounted prices while farms are now able to sell produce they would throw away. I hope people will start to understand the decisions they make every day has an impact that extends far beyond the dining room table but to our environment as a whole.”
Scott Warren
Co-Founder & CEO
Generation Citizen
"It's easy, and logical, to be cynical about our politics and the state of our democracy. I help lead   Generation Citizen  because I believe a better democratic future is both necessary and possible - as long as we allow young people to lead. Every day, when I meet students that GC works with, I am reminded that their unique idealism, in believing in a better politics, and irreverence, in not accepting anything less than that, will guide us to a better place."
Maggie Wheeler +
Emile Hassan Dyer
Golden Bridge Choir
“The Golden Bridge Community Choir is in its 14th year in Hollywood, and we still love it! We teach all songs by call and response and that allows people of every level to join in. We create a safe and welcoming environment where singing is an antidote to feeling isolated and allows people to find their voice in the song and in their life.”
Akiva + Amanda Zablocki
Hyper IGM
“When our son was diagnosed with Hyper IgM Syndrome, an extremely rare disease, we were confronted with a world of unknowns, and a feeling of being completely alone in the universe. We founded the Hyper IgM Foundation to create a platform for sharing resources and information, connecting the 1-in-a-million families living with Hyper IgM, and funding critical research, with the goals of improving the quality of life and outlook for Hyper IgM patients, and making sure they and their families would never have to face this disease alone."
Wishing you an inspiring summer!

All my best,
Casper Caldarola
Pollyanna Family
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