I retired a year ago, and during this past year my husband and I have traveled the world. We've adopted a "slow travel" or "nomadic" lifestyle, which you can read about in our travel blog, Rocinantes on the Road.
When my husband retired in 2016, he spent some time figuring out a way to give back. His philosophy developed from a strongly-held belief that our own life circumstances were made possible through a combination of good luck, auspicious choices, and seizing the moment. He likes to quote from Louis Pasteur, "Fortune favors the prepared mind." And so, he launched the Prepared Mind Project in 2021.
What is the Prepared Mind Project? Paul funds up to 3 grants a year for creative, web-based projects. He hopes that by providing some funds ($6,000 per project), the recipient can build skills and acquire tools to launch a project that they have wanted to build, but lacked the time, money, or focus to actually begin. The grant criteria are very broad. You can read the criteria here. The grantees collaborate with each other for feedback and share their creative process. Mentors assist the grantees in shaping their projects. In 2021, Paul funded 2 creative projects: the Blaha Music Laboratory and Chattyreeds. I heard the energy of their creative conversations.
This year, when Paul opened the grant application process, I asked him if I could submit a grant proposal. We share our funds, so I was not looking for the money. Rather, I wanted the collaboration, feedback, suggestions and energy of a group to help me focus on launching a project I've been thinking about most of my adult life. I have already benefitted from project revisions and incredibly useful feedback. I feel very lucky to be a part of this creative group. Paul will post their projects on his website as they develop.
I can't help but point out that the type of grants Paul awards are conducted in a way that I think may be more aligned with the thinking of Generation Jonesers, of which Paul is one. Rather than strict guidelines with articulated outcomes published in reports, he has adopted a looser style. In his mind, less control will lead to more innovation, in ways that are promoted in Silicon Valley or the MacArthur genius grants. Yes, he wants to help change the world for the better, but you might as well have some fun along the way!
Thanks to Paul, my fellow grantees, and our mentors for the support and enthusiasm. Good luck to all of you, and let's hope our shared energy can bring our projects to life!