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When we announced the Give to Educate (Give2ED) campaign two weeks ago, we had a big goal ahead of us – raise $4,000 in donations for education projects that will be matched, dollar for dollar, by one generous donor named Brandon.

Members of the Jolkona community answered Brandon’s call to “get off the sidelines” and make a difference in the lives of children and adults around the world through education. We are excited to announce that on Monday, February 21st, Give to Educate was fully funded!

Together, in two weeks, here’s the impact we made towards education around the world:

  • 2 scholarships provided in Guatemala
  • 2 students supported through summer program in China
  • 2 months of school transportation provided in Tanzania
  • 4 girls educated in Afghanistan
  • 2 scholarship endowments set up in Bangladesh
  • 34 months of tuition fees provided in Guatemala
  • 2 years of practical skills training provided in NIger
  • 100 books provided in China
  • 4 students received books in Kenya
  • 2 months of secondary education provided in Uganda
  • 2 months of university education covered in Guatemala
  • 4 students received tech tools and trainings in USA
  • 16 semesters of education expenses covered in India
  • 14 chairs supplied to schools in Sierra Leone
  • 2 classes received books in Rwanda
  • 2 years of public education sponsored in Pakistan
  • 2 children sponsored in Bangladesh
  • 14 months of computer training provided in Guatemala
  • 2 students attended day school in China

Thank you to everyone in the Jolkona community for your tremendous support!

For those who donated, you will receive proof of impact for the donation you made and the donation Give to Educate matched on your behalf. Matched gifts will be added to your account by the end of March and you will receive a proof of impact once our partners implement each project.

We would also like to thank Brandon for being a pioneer in sponsoring this campaign. At Jolkona, we believe that individuals can make a huge difference in the world and small donations add up to create a big impact. Through Give to Educate, Brandon inspired each one of us to donate and double our collective impact; the goal was not $4,000, but $8,000 total.

Thank you, Brandon the philanthropist, for leading this campaign and choosing Jolkona as your choice for giving.

Investing in education doesn’t stop here

You can continue to see the support of education projects on the campaign page and by viewing the overall impact the Jolkona community is making towards the UN Millennium Development Goals and other projects around the world.

Oh, and stay tuned, because we have even more exciting things to announce in the coming weeks!

Education is one the primary ways to escape poverty and improve the quality of life. According to a recent article in TIME Magazine, one additional year of secondary education can increase salaries for girls by 15-25%. In general, educating girls has a profound effect on reducing overpopulation and child marriage. Girls educated for seven or more years, on average, marry four years later and have 2.2 fewer children as per data from the Girl Effect.

Despite these overwhelming statistics, girls are often left behind. About 25% of girls in developing countries do not attend school (Girl Effect). Girls also receive less than $0.02 of every dollar given specifically for development assistance (TIME).

As a public health major, I am extremely disappointed that female empowerment is not valued as a proven, effective intervention to combat global disparities. As the daughter of immigrant parents, I am horrified. I have been back to India and seen first-hand the impact of gender disparities. Women are scarce at night. Girls are expected to get married or become a burden to their parents. Education is certainly deemed important but school fees are expensive, and since males are dominant in society, their needs are generally met first. It is sad to see that so little of development assistance goes towards making girls feel safe and, even more importantly, appreciated in their own society.

What can you do to bridge this gap and promote education for girls through Jolkona?

There are numerous projects you can support. You can Provide Education to the Females of Afghanistan, where their literacy rate is only 14% because many parents are wary of sending their daughters to co-ed schools with male teachers. For only $40, you can sponsor a girl’s literacy course for a 10-month term in a safe, female-only, environment. Plus, you will receive the name and photo of the girl whose life you changed.

You can also Free and Educate Enslaved Nepali Girls, sold by their farm laborer parents who have limited financial resources. A donation of $100 will not only bring a young girl back to her family, but also pay for school fees and kerosene lamps to ensure that she can study at night. Through the generosity of Jolkona donors, 29 girls have already been saved. Can you make that number higher?

And remember, with the Give 2 Educate campaign in full swing, your donations will be matched, doubling your impact and empowering girls everywhere!

Photo Credit: A. gonzalez

Many of us are aware of a certain online coupon company using Super Bowl air time to launch some much-talked about ad spots. Whether or not you find issue and the tactics used to bring awareness to their CSR matched giving campaign, it has certainly garnered them plenty of attention. Friends, let’s at least agree that stirring up emotion was part of their strategy to raise awareness. Really, the big question is how much impact will these ads have on their overall brand? Folks love themselves some deep discounts, yet there is plenty of noise about people canceling their accounts over these ads mentioned in the comment section on the giving campaign page. Time and revenue stream will tell.

If you think it was in horrid taste or you are secretly hiding the fact that you see some of the marketing genus behind these ads –  did it make the masses (or you) pay closer attention to the company or the campaign? It got me to research the campaign and check out the sites of the causes who will receive Groupon’s matched funds – Greenpeace, TibetFund, Rainforest Action Network, and buildOn. All are great, worthwhile projects who are most deserving of support. I just hope that for the causes featured and the celebrities who made time to support this effort, that it truly makes a difference and funds are matched to the fullest. In fact, the Greenpeace project sold out as of 2/9 & is fully funded, with 6,667 units sold at $15 each! That is a whole lot money going to spare our water-dwelling mammals with fins from commercial whaling.

If you got fired up about the strategy and the message used to get your attention, make time to find your own way to impact change in the world, or within your own neighborhood. Find a cause that is meaningful to you and support it. I have several favorites. As many of you know, I spend some of free time working with Jolkona. Basically, volunteering my time to make their giving platform a world-class experience and truly make a difference in other people’s lives. I love every minute of working with such smart, dedicated people. This year we are off to firecracker start and we have a lot of exciting things in the works – starting off with our first matching campaign of year – Give2ED. Read more about Brandon’s efforts here, in this blog post.

Starting February 8th, any donation made to one Jolkona’s many Education projects, will be matched, dollar for dollar, up to $4,000.  As with any of our projects, donors will receive a proof of impact for their donation and also receive additional details of the proof for the matched donation.

Want to further help Tibet with matched funds?

Here is how you can help Give2ED:

  • Empower a Tibetan Girl for $40 to provide schooling for the 6 months.
  • Fund a rural Tibet middle school library providing them with at least 10 pieces of valuable interactive learning tools (books, CD’s & DVD’s in multiple languages) for as little as $50.
  • Sponsor an Orphan for year’s worth of education at Sengdruk Takse School for less than $195 a year.

These three projects hit on several of United Nations The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). These are eight international development goals that all 192 United Nations member states and at least 23 international organizations have agreed to achieve by the year 2015. It is the most widely accepted guideline we have for measuring impact of donations you make. You can find more information about UN’s vision for the MDGs here.

It’s another great way to see how every gift our donors make contributes to a bigger global effort to tackle some of humanity’s biggest problems.

You can support the Give2ED campaign, follow our progress our website, as well as on Facebook and Twitter (@Jolkona, #Give2ED).

Images by mikebaird.

A version of this blog was originally posted here.

Today is a very exciting day. Not only was our first All Hands meeting last night with the entire Jolkona volunteer team, but also it’s Tuesday and we’re announcing our first matching campaign for 2011.

This campaign is different than previous campaigns because it is made possible by one person who is just like you and me.

I’ll let him introduce the Give to Educate (Give 2 ED) campaign himself:

So get off the sidelines and act

Starting today, each donation you make to one of Jolkona’s Education projects, Brandon will be match, dollar for dollar, up to $4,000. For each donation you make, you will receive a proof of impact for your donation as well as the impact for the matched donation.

The part I love the most about this campaign is Brandon’s call to action – he’s just a normal guy who decided he wanted to make an impact in the world and partnering with us on this campaign is his solution. Anyone can make a difference. And this month, let’s start by making a ripple effect of change through education around the world.

You can support the Give2ED campaign, follow our progress and our total impact on our website, as well as on Facebook and Twitter (@Jolkona, #Give2ED).

Special thank you

On behalf of everyone at Jolkona, I’d like to thank Brandon for coming forward and sponsoring this campaign. I’d also like to thank Sadia Khawaja of PaperDaydream for designing the Give2ED logo and John Kimball for editing the campaign video.

Are you ready to join Brandon and get off the sidelines?

As the CEO of Jolkona, I am proud of what the team has accomplished in 2010. It has been a great foundation building year for the organization.

I want to start by thanking our partners and donors for believing in Jolkona through our early stages and providing us with invaluable feedback. You are at the center of our work and you are our inspiration for putting in long volunteer hours after a full day at the office or school.

Famed tennis player Arthur Ashe once said, “Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome.” Jolkona’s journey these past three years is a testament to that adage. In 2010, Jolkona made great strides in ”doing” and proving proof to becoming a highly successful giving platform.

Jolkona’s success is directly measured by on how much impact is delivered to those lives that need the help the most. The global impact we made in 2010 has reached thousands, but some of our highlights include:

  • Providing meals to 600 children in Uganda
  • 43 prosthetics provided in Bangladesh
  • Responding to the floods in Pakistan before the news hit mainstream media in the U.S.
  • 30 farmers trained in Sudan
  • 13 women’s stories sponsored in China
  • 2,800 trees planted in Ethiopia
  • 43 children tutored in Guatemala
  • 50 classes received books in USA
  • 100 days of medical supplies provided in Bangladesh

Coming into 2010, we were a fledgling startup without any major financial backing. We had few projects on the site and a handful of early adopters. Quickly, Jolkona learned how to build a successful startup organization with little to no resources and building a dynamic volunteer team that is beyond passionate about our mission. What is the cornerstone of our mission? It’s championing transparency within Jolkona and its partner community – something we care about deeply.

By the end of the year, our team grew from two to 20+ highly-skilled volunteers. Our donor base more than doubled, donations grew by almost 300%.

Jolkona landed our first corporate sponsor, partnering with communications agency Waggener Edstrom Worldwide (WE), on the matching grant campaign called MatchED, which funded up to $5,000 (U.S.) of individual donors’ contributions to educational projects showcased on the Jolkona website.

A second campaign – Give Health made possible by a group of anonymous donors – alone raised close to $14,000 for our projects.

Measuring impact continues to be a major focus for Jolkona and in 2010, we were able to work together and completed the following: align our measurements against the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The Jolkona team was also able to visit some of our partner projects in Africa for the first time in 2010 and see the real difference that we are making in the lives of those on the ground and we rounded out the year with our 12 Days of Giving Campaign generating over $5,500 in funds.

2011 is off to a feverish pace – we are thrilled to have hired our first two employees to start off the year. It had become obvious Jolkona needs a full-time team in order to reach its maximum potential: co-founder Nadia Khawaja Mahmud will be taking over as the CEO and Laura Kimball will be leading our marketing and outreach efforts. Their depth of knowledge and operational execution has been critical in building Jolkona into what it is today and we look forward as they continue lead efforts and breathe passion into our organization. We secured our first ever grant from Seattle International Foundation which is vital to developing outreach in areas such as Asia and South Africa. Over $4,000 was raised at the Social Media Club of Seattle anniversary party (SMC). This was our second year celebrating SMC’s birthday, and we are very humbled to be selected as the sole beneficiary!

Saving the best for last, I can’t pass along enough praise and thanks to all of the Jolkona team for the great work they have done in 2010. I am honored to have worked with such a passionate, dedicated team. I look forward to continuing to work with all of you in 2011 and beyond.

Stay tuned, as Jolkona will launch our first matching campaign for 2011, to be unveiled in mid-February and will focus on education projects.

Best wishes for the New Year and our new chapter!

Adnan

Photo Credit: becca.peterson26

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