There's $482.46 left and I'm giving it to teachers

Hamid Reza Akram, illustrator from Iran. 
From an illustration in "What do you want dear snail?" 
Found via the magnificent Art Room Plant blog by Hazel Terry.

I looked. There’s $482.46 left.

I’m talking about the balance in the Michael Hazelroth Rainy Day Fund, an account I call sunshine on a rainy day.

Okay. Let me back up.

After my son Michael passed in 2006, I created a fund in his name. My friends in Liv Lane’s Project Light Year class will understand completely when I say that the idea and name came like a sweet angel ear whisper while showering early one morning. 

I took that whisper to heart and started a small business to fill the fund. I started spending the money as soon as I earned it.

I donated every cent to clean water projects—mostly schools, and specifically teachers—and later to teen addiction education programs. 

In about seven years, about $20,000 was earned and spent.

To help teachers and schools build things like rain and organic gardens, gather and redirect storm water runoff. And when invited, I went into high schools to have conversations with teens about addiction.

I kept the fund simple.

There was no grant form, signatures, budgets, or report writing. I never asked for receipts or proof. Having spent ten years as a director of education at a large art museum with a slew of exhaustive grant writing and administering time under my belt, I vowed to keep the process unburdened.

So I'd give the money to people I trust. Or to people I trust who knew someone they trusted. You know, those who cared so much that you could see their hearts glowing through their shirts. 

Watching what happened with little bits of money startled and inspired me. 

I created the fund as part of my grief process. The fund, donations, and activities gave me a chance to transform the energy of loss into something greater, which also gave me a chance to place Michael solidly in my heart.

It worked.

And it’s still working.

With the help of a hummingbird and an ability to let go,  I feel happier, free, and awake in my magnificent life. 

I'm ready to spend the last $482.46. How? I’m giving it to the Wonder Anew project

Well, I’m giving it to teachers, the people I love more than any other humans on earth, in the form of art supplies to answer the Wonder Anew question, "What positive change have you made or do you want to make in your life? How did or will you do it?"

If you’re a teacher and want a supply box, send me an email ( with your name, school, address, and the class you teach. First come first served.