The Umbrella Project

The Umbrella Project is a nonprofit global children’s art initiative. Our mission is to teach children they can make a difference when overwhelming events, such as earthquakes, war, floods or extreme poverty make them feel helpless. Our goal is to nurture children's creativity and to generate funds through their art for worthy endeavors that benefit children and families in communities around the world.


We partner with other nonprofit groups worldwide to support international communication and to teach children that by joining together we can promote global unity. Using a theme that inspires creativity, children paint in small groups on large white umbrellas with non-toxic fabric markers, sharing their artistic images with their communities and the world. The umbrellas are given for donation at exhibitions in a variety of venues with the money raised going back to a pre-designated cause in the community. Children gain self-esteem by knowing that the money raised with their one-of-a-kind artistic creations will benefit other children.


The Umbrella Project is a past winner of the President’s Points of Light Award.

About the Project

The Umbrella Project offers tools for self-expression and empowers children through global exhibitions of their hand-painted umbrellas. Children gain self-esteem by knowing that donations for their one-of-a-kind creations will benefit another child in need.

We partner with other nonprofit groups and organizations around the world to support international communication and to teach children that they can make their voices heard and that by joining together we can promote global unity.

Why An Umbrella?

The umbrella is a universal symbol for protection from the storms of life. Umbrellas have been around for some 3000 years. It was thought that the first umbrellas were used to represent the heavens. In ancient cultures of the Far East, Africa, and Europe the umbrella represented royalty and power.

The umbrella is one of the 8 Auspicious Symbols of Tibetan Buddhism. An umbrella was said to have protected the body of the Buddha during burial. In many Eastern Cultures an umbrella shades important deities. The Mahratta princes of India were sometimes addressed as Lord of the Umbrella.

Contrary to popular myth, it is perfectly okay to open an umbrella indoors. The superstition of it being bad luck may have been started because people saw it as an act that insulted the spirits of the household by implying that their protection was inadequate! Bless the household spirits and open up! We do.

About the Founder Hilda Brown

In 1990, when artist and healer, Hilda Brown, lost her favorite brown umbrella, she was inspired to found the Umbrella Project, Inc. an all-volunteer, global 501(c)3 Nonprofit organization that uses the common language of art to empower young people.

Envisioning everyone in the world carrying colorful canopies whenever life's storms threaten, Hilda encouraged school-age children to paint in small groups on over-sized white-nylon umbrellas with non-toxic fabric markers. With these tools, healthy, ill, and challenged children share their artistic images with each other and the world.

Believing in the creative spirit as a healing power on the planet, following Hilda's passing in 2013, we continue her dream of gathering our youngest World Citizens under the protection of an umbrella during life’s storms. We encourage them to artistically express their hearts and in the process recover hope and peace while helping other children in need.

Current Projects

Join us around the world to see how we shine wherever it rains.

La Guaria Elementary: Costa Rica Service Project

Spring 2015 - La Guaria is a small elementary school in the countryside near La Fortuna: Costa Rica. The school is surrounded by the lush Costa Rican jungle with the majestic Arenal Volcano looming in the background. La Guaria is named after a wild orchid, an appropriate name with the natural beauty that surrounds it. However along with that beauty one can’t help but see the immense need and lack of modern conveniences. Alejandro Porras is the principal and only teacher at La Guaria. He teaches thirty students from first through fifth grade. Alejandro’s wish is to open up the world to his students. Adding technology to the classroom would help achieve this goal. The Umbrella Project partnered with Agua Fria High School District in Arizona to help achieve Alejandro’s goal. Students from Verrado and Desert Edge High School traveled to Costa Rico to mentor the students from La Guaria. Together they painted umbrellas with the theme “One World in Harmony”. Much of the artwork included a Costa Rican flair. In addition, over three hundred students from New York, Arizona and Costa Rica painted 100 umbrellas with this same theme. These one-hundred umbrellas along with another one-hundred umbrellas from past projects were displayed at Hillside in Sedona, Arizona in April, 2015. Many of the umbrellas were given up for a $50 tax deductible donation at the event. With the funds from the event in Sedona the Umbrella Project was able to buy technology for the Guardia and assist students with travel expenses. All involved in this project gained a deeper appreciation for the Costa Rican culture and people. The Umbrella Project was able to bring two cultures together through art and creativity.

Map of Past Events


View The Umbrella Project in a larger map

Contact us to be a rainbow on a rainy Day!

The Umbrella Project’s one-of-a kind umbrellas are given for donation at a variety of community events with proceeds going back to the community to benefit other children. Over the past 25 years, the umbrella art created by the children has generated visibility and good will for children organizations and issues. It has also raised tens of thousands of dollars which have been donated back to assist a wide range of nonprofit schools, groups and organizations that provide support and services to children and their communities. There are several ways to involved:

Do an Over the Rainbow project in your community.


Increase the visibility of your efforts, call attention to an issue of current concern, and raise money for your school or child-focused organization or club. Umbrella Project events create an opportunity for children to make their voices heard and to raise money for worthwhile causes. The events are highly visual and well-received by press. This is an opportunity for the children you are working with to share their vision with others and to learn that they can make a difference. Click here to learn more.

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Umbrella Project Kit

•48 umbrellas (engages 196 children)
•Special Non-toxic fabric markers
•Guide: How to Have a Successful Event
•5 hours consultation and coaching
with Umbrella Project Staff
•Video explaining the history and global
purpose of the Umbrella Project

Kit Size - Shipping and Handling Included

Sponsor an event in your community. Be a Rainbow on a Rainy Day.

Support your favorite Scout, Boys and Girls Club, school band, athletic team, etc. by purchasing a kit and donating it to them to do an Umbrella Project event. By sponsoring an even, you are creating an opportunity for children in your community to make their voices heard and to raise money for worthwhile causes. Umbrella Project events are highly visual and well received by the community, especially the press. This is an opportunity for the children in your favorite child-focused organization to share their vision with others and to learn that they can make a difference. Get the Details!

x

Umbrella Project Kit

•48 umbrellas (engages 196 children)
•Special Non-toxic fabric markers
•Guide: How to Have a Successful Event
•5 hours consultation and coaching
with Umbrella Project Staff
•Video explaining the history and global
purpose of the Umbrella Project

Kit Size - Shipping and Handling Included

Calling All Artists!


The Umbrella Project encourages artists, designers, and celebrities to mentor and paint with school-age children. In addition, umbrellas painted by artists are often added as a special category at exhibits to the umbrellas painted by children and significantly increase the money raised for the designated beneficiary of an event. Through this program, many well-known personalities join with us in supporting the efforts of children to preserve our faith in humanity and our belief that art can replace hateful visions with those of love.

Email us for details!




When you teach children their actions make a difference, their lives will be different!

Listen to the Voices of Participating Children
"I saw it was an opportunity to express my inner thoughts and emotions for all the world to see."
"It made me feel good because I was going to help others who need help."
"It made me feel that my ideas matter and that my soul will be seen."
"I feel like I was contributing to peace and helping to unite all the countries in the world."

Get in Touch!

Travis Waldron
Executive Director
C/O 7647 East Edgemont Avenue
Scottsdale, Arizona 85257 USA

Phone: 623-687-7497
E-Mail the Umbrella Project

Where children make a difference through creativity!