The Give and Grow: Where sports and nature collide

Courtesy of Kylie Osullivan

The Toronto-based small business combining gardening, basketballs and community outreach.

During the bleak days of the early pandemic, many looking for escape or distraction found solace in starting new hobbies, FaceTiming loved ones or starting a new project.

One of those pandemic projects became The Give and Grow. The Toronto-based company was founded by Olivia Ho, a healthcare worker with a love for everything basketball-related. Ho also coaches youth as a Sport Program Lead at MLSE (Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment) LaunchPad.

The Give and Grow puts an athletic spin on interior decoration. Ho dreamed of combining her passion for basketball and love of nature into a single product, and thus the basketball planters were born. 

Ho creates plant pots out of basketballs, which often hold flowers and plants from local florists. The planters, which bear the Give and Grow logo, come in a variety of chic colours, each with a punny name that marries the shade with a famous basketball player.

Some pots include ‘The D’White Howard Planter’, ‘The LeBrown James Planter’ and ‘The Derrick Rose Planter.’

Courtesy of The Give and Grow

The business has also expanded to sell loungewear including crewnecks and shorts, as well as accessories for the planters.

The Give and Grow’s mission is centred around the theme of growth, especially in regard to uplifting women. A portion of the profit generated from each planter goes towards funding workshops Ho runs for young women in Toronto. The workshops aim to give girls the opportunity to be creative while also working towards growth.

They also create opportunities for mentorship, creative expression and most importantly a safe space for young women to learn and grow.

In the last year alone, The Give and Grow has held over 20 workshops with over 200 participants and 18 mentors.

This year’s focus was The Alley Oop Project, held from Apr. 14 to Apr. 30 at the Local Gallery in Toronto. 10 female artists from across the city were chosen to create their own unique basketball planters, which were then auctioned off in a draw. The proceeds from ticket sales for the exhibition and lottery were then used to fund more workshops.

Inspiration for this project came from Ho’s desire to draw attention to Toronto’s artists and art scene, while also giving back to the local community.

Courtesy of Fuu J

Ho also interviewed with Robyn Neath from The Toronto Guardian to draw attention to The Alley Oop project. 

When asked what it means to be an artist, Ho said, it is “living your life authentically and unapologetically. […] Being intentional about how you spend your time and who you want to impact [is imperative].”

In response to what motivational words she has for other women in the workplace, especially within sports or art, she said, “As women, we have the ability to be multifaceted and multi-talented, so don’t put yourself in a box.” She went on to say, “Continue to do things that make YOU happy, and you will attract the things that are meant for you.”

In another interview with Becky Robertson for blogTO, Ho shared that the Toronto Raptors had taken notice of the Give and Grow, giving it a shout-out back in 2021. “The Raptors collaboration was definitely something at the top of my bucket list,” she said, “especially considering how big a fan of the team [I am].”

Ho further discusses her involvement with The Give and Grow. “It’s been an exciting and humbling experience so far, and I can’t wait to see how much more we grow,” she shared.

To learn more about the company, purchase their products or discover their workshops and future projects, visit their website. They can also be found through their social media handle on Instagram: @thegiveandgrow.

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