Collective Healing Microgrant


An Experiment in Regenerative Reparations for Women of Color Tending The Earth

Published December 14th, 2020 by Robyn Mello, Owner of Edenspore Design

I am offering a $5,000 grant and free consultation for a self-identified woman of color living in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, or New York to be used at their discretion towards the furthering of their future and their project’s goals. The project must be already in motion and related to (a) urban/community food-growing, (b) riparian/wetlands restoration, or (c) herbal/holistic medicine distribution. The project can be a for-profit business.

This money does not have to be paid back, though some portion of the project has to demonstrate that the money will help “pay it forward” to other people of color and the more-than-human world in the form of intellectual, financial, natural, cultural, built, political, individual, and/or social capital. [See 7thgenerationdesign.com/creating-resilient-wealth/ for more on the “8 forms of capital” concept]. If appropriate, the winning applicant will also receive a full scholarship to my Spring 2021 Bones to Bloom Ecological Design Course and PDC in Lancaster, PA. 

Deadline: January 15th for February 1st dispersal. July 15th for August 1st dispersal. It is my aim to earn or crowdsource enough to award at least one of these $5,000 grants every 6 months, prior to our spring and autumn growing seasons.

Do you think this grant is a fit for you? To apply: With “Microgrant Application” in the subject line, please send either a video of about 5 minutes or an email of about 500 words with photo examples to edensporedesign@gmail.com answering the following questions:

  • What is your name, and where do you live?
  • Explain the big idea and details of the project you are working on. What are some aspects of your short and long-term vision for its success?
  • How will you use the grant money, and how do you see it having the power to propel you forward toward your vision?
  • How will you “pay it forward” with this project? How will it benefit, for instance, your community or those who come after?
  • What is the biggest challenge that you see in having this project be successful?
  • What is the optimum outcome?
  • If you’d like to share links to any social media related to you and your project, please do so.

I will review each application and narrow it down to 3-5 finalists for video interviews during the last week of January. Money will be dispersed during the first week of February, and details of how you can make best use of my assistance as an organizer, eco-designer, herbalist, grower, and earth-worshipper will be hashed out together.

What I expect in return: At minimum, I want an update from you via video call, in person, or in email at least once, 6 months after the grant is given, as well as permission to promote you and your project to my networks. If you would like me to assist in any capacity in the furthering of your project, we will communicate more frequently about your progress. When this microgranting program takes off, perhaps we will create a network of applicants and awardees for future internal networking across projects!

My story and reasoning: I committed much of my early adult life to working side by side with people in Black and Latinx communities who want to improve their neighborhoods in their own way. As an undergrad, I worked with Sierra Leonean immigrant communities and returning citizens who were making huge strides to rebuild their home country after a devastating civil war. I then spent the next decade on the ground and in the dirt in Philly, growing food and medicine alongside communities of color low in financial capital and resplendent with creative ideas and resiliency. This work was rewarding beyond measure, and I learned many life-changing lessons along the way. 

For the last 3 years, I have mostly been working alone, churning over how to effectively contribute to social justice efforts whilst becoming increasingly introverted and literally land-focused. I am always designing the future in my head, consumed by visions of healing humans with plants and fungi, conserving lands wild with woodlands and water, and contributing to a planet with legitimate racial and gender equality and respect for all beings.

I wouldn’t be as free as I am today without a few small financial legs up, a few small investments in inexpensive real estate, and a few significant boosts to my self-esteem at pivotal moments from people who believe in my potential. I have seen plenty of proof that a lot can be done with a little money and the proper visioning, so I want to pay it forward and provide the kind of scrappy, innovative assistance that has helped along my own path. 

I have also been consistently aware throughout my youth and adulthood that many of the opportunities afforded to me are due to the determination that my physical features make me a white person, while the majority of the most painful, fearful experiences I have had are due to that same determination that my physical features make me a woman. I am specifically offering this grant to self-identified women of color to acknowledge the intersectionality of oppressions and to invest my personal savings toward the intersectionality of liberation. Despite having literally built the wealth of this country with their minds, hands, and wombs, women of color have had the least access to resources and financial capital throughout its history. I want to be a small part of healing this injustice, and this is one way that I feel I can contribute within my current lifestage while adhering to my ethics and vision.

Are you a white-identified person with a desire to donate funds or contribute to growing this funding program with me? Racial, Social, and Environmental justice learning and advocacy is lifelong work that is ever-changing, with about just as many ways of doing the work as there are people doing it. Regardless of whether everyone recognizes it, we will all benefit from a great leveling of the socioeconomic playing field. If this particular means of doing the work speaks to you, please email me at edensporedesign@gmail.com with “Microgrant Assistance” in your subject line, and/or send a donation via Venmo to @edenspore, Cash App to $robynmello, or PayPal to rojomello@gmail.com. To send a check or make a cash contribution, reach out directly. 

Note: This program is not yet affiliated with a tax-deductible organization, though I will communicate specifically with all donors about how they’d like to be recognized or notified of program updates. This first round is an experiment to see where this can go!


Please help to spread the word!


We will all benefit from a great leveling of the socioeconomic playing field.

Please consider making a financial contribution to this fund if you have abundance to share!

Be sure to write "Microgrant" in the payment notes.

Venmo: @edenspore

Paypal: rojomello@gmail.com

Cash App: $robynmello


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