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Note from the Editor: This is a guest post written by Angela Cherry, Community Relations, Waggener Edstrom Worldwide (WE).

Waggener Edstrom Good Deeds Campaign on Jolkona

Earlier this month, Waggener Edstrom Worldwide (WE) kicked off its second giving campaign — Good Deeds — with Jolkona. As a corporate sponsor, WE agreed to match up to $5,000 of individual donors’ contributions to projects showcased on the Jolkona website. We were thrilled when we met our goal of raising $10,000 for Jolkona in just two weeks. We were also nothing short of blown away when we saw the resulting impact, the impact that YOU created.

It just goes to show the substantial power of good deeds — large and small — for both individuals and the community. It’s also exemplifies why WE has deepened its partnership with Jolkona over the past year. In addition to sponsoring Good Deeds, last year WE sponsored the MatchED giving campaign, during which time WE raised $10,000 for Jolkona by matching contributions to education-related projects on its website. A few ways Jolkona recipients benefitted from funds raised include tutoring provided to students in Guatemala, books supplied to schools in Tibet, scholarships given in Zambia, and technology tools provided to U.S. schools. In addition, this summer WE facilitated an ideation session with Jolkona leaders, and this fall WE is organizing volunteering opportunities for agency employees with Seattle-based nonprofit organizations that Jolkona supports.

You can see a full list of the campaign’s impact below. Thank you for supporting these worthy projects and for making such a significant impact in the world with your good deeds!

  • 2 women received life skills class in USA
  • 2 months of primary education provided in Uganda
  • 4 stoves provided in Nepal
  • 400 trees planted in India
  • 6 students attended a night class in the tsunami-affect area of Japan
  • 2 girls saved from honor killing in Iraq
  • 8 orphans received clothes in Iraq
  • 6 women received farming training in Sudan
  • 2 girls received 1 year of education in Afghanistan
  • 2 businesses showcase opportunity provided in USA
  • 2 mothers and newborn received nutritional support in India
  • 2 months of primary education provided in Uganda
  • 2 women received access to clothes in USA
  • 6 weeks of food provided in Iraq
  • 100 trees planted in Ethiopia
  • 6 acres of rainforest conserved in Tanzania
  • 2 young women trained in Nepal
  • 2 stories sponsored in United States
  • 12 months of secondary education provided in Uganda
  • 2 months of support provided to a student in Rwanda
  • 4 jobs created in India
  • 2 women received training in bio-intensive farming in Kenya
  • 2 students received support for research project in USA
  • 12 months of computer training provided in Guatemala
  • 2 children sponsored in Bangladesh
  • 2 orphans received education in Kenya
  • 8 children saved from diarrhea in India
  • 6 school girls received uniforms in Liberia
  • 2 headsets provided to a classroom in USA
  • 2 rural Tibetan girls attended day school in China
  • 2 months of HIV treatment provided in Kenya
  • 2 Above & Beyond awards given to homeless person in USA
  • 160 children received 1 week of meal each in Uganda
  • 2 hygiene kits provided in Haiti
  • 2 homes fumigated in Bolivia
  • 2 family toilets provided in Nepal
  • 2 classes received notebooks in United States
  • 2 soccer camps participant supported in United States
  • 4 women trained in bio-intensive farming in Kenya
  • 2 women trained in Pakistan
  • 4 Jolkona projects added

About the author: Angela Cherry is a community relations senior specialist with Waggener Edstrom Worldwide (WE), one of the largest global independent communications firms in the world, where she drives nonprofit partnerships on behalf of the WE Corporate Citizenship team. Prior to joining WE’s Corporate Citizenship team earlier this year, Angela was an account manager on the agency team that supported Microsoft’s Developer & Platform Evangelism business, and she also has managed the agency’s pro bono account with NetHope. Before joining WE in 2007, Angela worked in the PR department of an integrated marketing firm in Des Moines, Iowa, where she managed several non-profit and government accounts. Angela graduated with honors from Drake University, and in the community she’s most connected to animal welfare causes serving as a volunteer at the Seattle Animal Shelter, as well as a pet-parent to two lively rescue dogs.

During the 20th century, the state of Washington built a reputation for its airplanes, timber, software and coffee. What will carry us through the next century are products tied to an entirely different class of needs: the need for good health, food, shelter, a chance for a better life.

As you know, with over 300 international NGO’s—including the world’s biggest NGO, World Vision, and largest foundation, Gates Foundation—Washington state has become a leader in international development. This year Global Washington, a Seattle based membership based non-profit that promotes the global development sector, wants to put Washington state on the map for this incredible achievement with the help of their 150 member based partners.

This month, if you commuted on a Washington State ferry you may have seen posters promoting the global development sector. If you listen to KPLU or KUOW, you may have heard radio spots highlighting this work. If you’ve traveled on Alaska Airlines recently, you may have read an article about Global Washington and the sector in their in-flight magazine, and if you read the Puget Sound Business Journal you will have seen an ad in this week’s edition highlighting the amazing work of the global development sector in Washington.

Global Action Day is coming: 11.1.11

Global Washington wants to use our collective power to raise awareness about the importance of global development. Together with the Mayor of Seattle they’ve launched an advocacy campaign called “Global Action Day” designed to do two things:

1. Make people aware of the great work coming out of WA state, and

2. Mobilize people to action. Specifically, were urging people to write congress to help protect US Foreign Aid.

To further raise awareness about global development in our state, Global Washington is hosting 2011 Annual Global Washington Conference on 11.1.11 called “Opportunities and Obstacles in Turbulent Times” and I’m honored to be speaking on a panel on the Future of Fundraising. If you’d like to attend, please register for the conference here: Global Washington 2011 Conference: Opportunities and Obstacles in Turbulent Times.

Also, I hope you can help promote global action day to raise awareness about the work all of us in global development do. Visit the Global Action Day website for more info on how to get involved and make sure you tweet using the hashtag: #globalwaday.

Washington: The Global State from Incite on Vimeo.

On Monday, October 10th we announced the Good Deeds campaign with a simple goal: incentivize our community to donate to any project on Jolkona and our partner, Waggener Edstrom Worldwide, will match every donation, dollar-for-dollar, up to $5,000 on Monday, October 24th, whichever comes first.

I am pleased to announce that over the weekend we met that goal and our Good Deeds campaign is fully funded! We have had a few matching campaigns over the past year, Waggener Edstrom Good Deeds Campaign on Jolkonaand this campaign has resulted in supporting the most diverse number of projects than any matched giving campaign before.

  • 41 different projects were supported
  • 15 different countries
  • $5,000 donated by Jolkona donors
  • + $5,000 matched by Waggener Edstrom
  • = $10,000 raised in 2 weeks

The impact of $10,000 worth of ‘good deeds’

  • 2 women received life skills class in USA
  • 2 months of primary education provided in Uganda
  • 4 stoves provided in Nepal
  • 400 trees planted in India
  • 6 students attended a night class in the tsunami-affect area of Japan
  • 2 girls saved from honor killing in Iraq
  • 8 orphans received clothes in Iraq
  • 6 women received farming training in Sudan
  • 2 girls received 1 year of education in Afghanistan
  • 2 businesses showcase opportunity provided in USA
  • 2 mothers and newborn received nutritional support in India
  • 2 months of primary education provided in Uganda
  • 2 women received access to clothes in USA
  • 6 weeks of food provided in Iraq
  • 100 trees planted in Ethiopia
  • 6 acres of rainforest conserved in Tanzania
  • 2 young women trained in Nepal
  • 2 stories sponsored in United States
  • 12 months of secondary education provided in Uganda
  • 2 months of support provided to a student in Rwanda
  • 4 jobs created in India
  • 2 women received training in bio-intensive farming in Kenya
  • 2 students received support for research project in USA
  • 12 months of computer training provided in Guatemala
  • 2 children sponsored in Bangladesh
  • 2 orphans received education in Kenya
  • 8 children saved from diarrhea in India
  • 6 school girls received uniforms in Liberia
  • 2 headsets provided to a classroom in USA
  • 2 rural Tibetan girls attended day school in China
  • 2 months of HIV treatment provided in Kenya
  • 2 Above & Beyond awards given to homeless person in USA
  • 160 children received 1 week of meal each in Uganda
  • 2 hygiene kits provided in Haiti
  • 2 homes fumigated in Bolivia
  • 2 family toilets provided in Nepal
  • 2 classes received notebooks in United States
  • 2 soccer camps participant supported in United States
  • 4 women trained in bio-intensive farming in Kenya
  • 2 women trained in Pakistan
  • 4 Jolkona projects added

And these projects impacted the following countries:

Jolkona Good Deeds Impact Map

View the total impact and donors by visiting the Good Deeds campaign page.

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

@WE_Citizen spot donation #WEGoodDeeds

For those who donated, you will receive proof of impact for the donation you made and the donation Waggener Edstrom matched on your behalf. Matched gifts will be added to your account later this year and you will receive both proofs of impact once each project is implemented.

Thank you…

To our donors – Thank you for contributing to the campaign and showing that individuals can make a huge difference! All of your ‘good deeds’ have added up to create a big impact. Thank you!

To our sponsor – Thank you, Waggener Edstrom and the WE Citizenship team for their partnership, leadership, and support during this campaign. It’s a pleasure to work with a corporate partner who is so involved in the execution of the campaign, especially how they made additional spot-donations in the name of donors who tweeted about the campaign.

This is the second matched campaign we launched with Waggener Edstrom. Last year we partnered with them on the MatchED campaign, which matched donations to education projects.

And one final thank you to our team – Thank you for helping us get this campaign to 100% by sharing and promoting Good Deeds to your friends, family, and networks. You are a vital part of what makes Jolkona the organization that it is today. Thank you.

Don’t let your ‘good deed’ stop here

The philosophy that all giving matters is the spirit of our mission and the work we do every day. We recognize that you don’t have to be wealthy or have an unlimited amount of time to volunteer to make an impact; even small doses of passion turned to action make a difference and Waggener Edstrom believes in this as well.

While the matching fund has run out, you can inspire global change by continuing to support over 100 projects on Jolkona. Your impact can reach new heights.

The impact is YOU.

Late July of this last summer, Jolkona raised money through our Groupon campaign to fund women grassroots leaders to come to Seattle and participate in a 10 week training program. The deal was this: for every $500 raised, Jolkona would fund one week of training for one woman. In addition, all funds raised would be munificently matched by Seattle International Foundation, and then implemented by iLEAP. Let me say right now that it was – and continues to be – a brilliant success, and on so many levels. And here’s why:

The total raised from the 3 day Groupon campaign, plus the additional donations since then, including the generous match from SIF, is a vertiginous $20,000! (I’m not usually one for wielding exclamation points in my grammar, but that one is thoroughly warranted.) And with that amount raised, Jolkona was able to fund fellowships for two women for the entire 10 week training program. Please, allow me to introduce them to you:

Claudia Vanessa Siliezar (left) and Margaret Edwin Molomoo (right)

Claudia Vanessa Siliezar (left) and Margaret Edwin Molomoo (right)

Claudia Vanessa Siliezar is from Honduras – she is a Sociology and Law professor at CEUTEC-UNITEC in La Ceiba, and is coordinator at GOjoven Honduras, where she is involved in promoting women’s rights, especially those pertaining to reproductive and sexual health, as well as in combating violence against women.

And….

Margaret Edwin Molomoo is from India. She works for Tarumitra, where she educates students, farmers, and women about the methods and benefits of organic farming in villages surrounding Bahir. Her work has assisted many farming groups in changing their use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers in their farming practices.

Thanks to the funds raised, Claudia and Margaret, already stalwart pursuers of a fairer society, are now even better equipped to grow their successful, high-impact programs.

In connection with this, we are inviting you to the extraordinary annual Women in the World’s Breakfast, held at the Four Seasons in Seattle, where you can meet our fellows, Claudia and Margaret, in the flesh. Buy tickets here. And to whet your appetite, here’s the inspiring video of last year’s event:

The raising of the funds and the opportunity and skills it provided Claudia and Margaret were not the only success stories of this campaign. Another aspect deserving of sincere pats on the back was the campaign’s collaboration: the three-pronged spearhead of SIF, iLEAP, and Jolkona. You see, unfortunately, too many nonprofits try to go at campaigns alone, and what this campaign exemplifies is the exponential difference nonprofits can make when they work together. Remember: a problem shared is a problem halved.

Our goal is to fund 5 women; so far we’ve funded 2. The campaign is still running and SIF is still matching every one of your donations, dollar for dollar. Make a difference. See the results. Give to the campaign here: Invest in Women Grassroots Leaders from Around the World.

As I write this, our Good Deeds campaign is 95% complete with $250 left to until we reach our goal of $5,000! The best thing about this campaign is meeting all of the donors who have given ˜good deeds” through this campaign.

On Monday, you met Kiran, a recent college graduate who is making around the world through her donations. On Tuesday, you met Sheri, a wife and a mother who donates to honor the memory of loved ones lost. And today, I’d like to introduce you to Donna O’Neill, a seasoned PR professional at Waggener Edstrom who is making a difference by supporting local projects.

Donna O'Neill

Meet Donna O’Neill of Seattle, WA

Donna O’Neill is a 25-year veteran of public relations and corporate communications and currently leads the Microsoft Health Solutions Group PR team at Waggener Edstrom, one of the largest global independent communications firms in the world and Jolkona’s partner in this campaign. Before joining Waggener Edstrom, Donna spent ten years in the financial services industry working in public relations, investor relations and corporate communications with the Wall Street investment firm Kidder, Peabody and Co. as well as financial services company KeyCorp.

Donna graduated with honors from the University of Rochester in upstate New York, where she majored in English. She also spent a semester in the south of France in Aix-en-Provence studying French and art history. Aside from work, the Albany, NY, native enjoys music, yoga and the outdoors, and spending time with her husband, son and two daughters. She also volunteers at Eastlake Community Church where she keeps the toddlers busy so their parents can take a break and focus on their faith. 🙂

1. Why did you give?

There were several aspects of this effort that caught my attention and made me want to help. First, Jolkona’s philosophy that all giving has an impact and that you don’t have to be wealthy or have lots of free time to volunteer to make an impact. Every gift, no matter how large or small, could still help make a difference. And being a busy working mom with three kids, I don’t have as much time right now to give back as I would like.

Second, I got to decide which project I wanted to support. It was exciting to review the great variety of programs to see which one resonated most with me.

Third, learning of a nonprofit that uses technology to facilitate low-cost, high-impact giving to social causes was a natural fit since I also work in technology and appreciate the benefits it enables.

Fourth, I loved the fact that for the first time, I would truly see how my gift helped real people so I can be part of the experience and see how it supports worthwhile programs.

2. Did knowing that your donation would be matched motivate you to give during this campaign?

Yes, and that was certainly a factor in making this opportunity more interesting — I wanted to help Waggener Edstrom and Jolkona meet their giving goal, but I would have donated anyway.

3. Which project did you give to?

I chose the project that teaches business skills to low-income people in Seattle. Prior to lending out microloans to low-income families, Washington Community Alliance for Self-Help (CASH) provides supportive community business training and capital to help people with limited financial resources gain self-sufficiency through small business ownership. By supporting Washington CASH, we can help improve the economic conditions of Seattle’s lower income population. And with how difficult this economy has been over the last few years, our help is sorely needed.

Want to make a difference?

Waggener Edstrom Good Deeds Campaign on Jolkona

Donate to any project on Jolkona today and our partner, Waggener Edstrom, will match your donation, dollar-for-dollar, until we reach our goal of $5,000. (Which will probably happen today!) For every gift made during our Good Deeds campaign, you will receive two proofs of impact – one for the donation you make and the second proof for the donation Waggener Edstrom matches.

Let’s give!

Interested in sharing your story as a featured donor on our blog? Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, or send a good ol’ fashioned email to contact@jolkona.org.

Yesterday, we introduced you to Kiran Beg, a woman who donated to Jolkona as part of the Good Deeds campaign. Today, I would like to introduce you to Sheri Khan, a Jolkona donor who, in the art of full disclosure, happens to be my aunt. She donates for a very powerful reason, which I’ll let her share herself.

Meet Sheri Khan of Chicago, IL

Sheri Khan is a wife and “beta” mom who is raising three kids in the great city of Chicago, Illinois and blogs at One Beta Mom. She generally donates to support global projects because she believes that the small amounts she’s able to give can have a greater and lasting impact than giving the same amount locally.

Sheri Khan and family

Sheri with her husband Omer, and their chlidren Noah, Sofia, and Zane.

1. Why did you give to Jolkona?

I gave both in honor of my good friend Elizabeth and her daughter, Nora. Nora’s birthday is nearing, and, sadly, she passed away a few years ago. As someone who has also lost a child, I know there is no gift or card or any magic words that one can say to diminish the grief. For me there is no better way to tell someone that you are thinking of them than with a donation in their honor. The small amount that I am able to give both has lasting impact and honors the life of someone I love.

For those of us who are blessed enough to be able to give, we have an obligation to do so whether with money and time or both. Most of us do not need anything more than we already have when many of humanity is suffering.  Although my past two donations have been in honor of people I love dearly and have lost, I have made a pledge to no longer give material birthday or holiday gifts. Instead, my gift will be a dedication to a worthwhile and deserving project.

2. Did knowing that your donation would be matched motivate you to give during this campaign?

It is extra incentive that my donation goes even further, however, if the match was not offered, I still would have given.

3. Which project did you give to?

For this dedication, I carefully selected the Ignite Girls’ Leadership in Pakistan project for several reasons. Because Elizabeth and I have lost daughters, giving to a project that is aimed toward empowering girls and women is important. Knowing the current harsh conditions which the majority of Pakistani girls’ experience helped me select this project. In the past and in honor of my own daughter, Sofia, I’ve chosen the Adopt a Mother in India project. Through my small donations to both of these projects and with my future donations, the spirits of our daughters carry forth.

When words aren’t enough

Loss is hard. Sympathy and condolences never seem to come out right. Let someone know that you’re thinking of them by dedicating a gift in their name. Whether it’s to honor the memory of someone you have lost or to let someone in your life today know that they have made a difference in your life. Every time you make a donation, you have the option to dedicate that gift to someone else by entering in his or her name and email address.

When you dedicate a gift, the recipient will be notified and the proof of impact will go to that person – showing them how the gift you made in their honor is improving someone else’s life.

Waggener Edstrom Good Deeds Campaign on JolkonaPlus, when you make a gift to any project on Jolkona through Monday, October 24th and our partner, Waggener Edstrom, will match your donation, dollar-for-dollar, up to $5,000. And for every gift made during Good Deeds, you will receive two proofs of impact – one for the donation you make and the second proof for the donation Waggener Edstrom matches.

Interested in sharing your story as a featured donor on our blog? Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, or send a good ol’ fashioned email to contact@jolkona.org.

One of the best things about working for Jolkona is I get to interact with our donors online, in real time, and share their excitement about making a difference. When we launch a campaign like Good Deeds, the level of engagement spikes and new connections are made and am reminded of how important our donors are on a inter-personal level.

Today, I want to introduce you to one our all star donors and will introduce you to another one next week. All of our donors are amazing, typically it their awesomeness doesn’t start or stop with supporting global development projects through Jolkona or by helping us kick the Good Deeds campaign. It comes from a place of wanting to make a difference and it’s a core part of  who they are.

Please allow me to introduce you to, Kiran, our first Good Deeds donor!

Jolkona donor Kiran Beg Meet Kiran Beg of Seattle, WA

Kiran graduated from the University of Washington in 2010 from the Human-Centered Design and Engineering program and now works at Boeing as a Publications Specialist. She loves to play tennis, watch movies, and spend time with her family.

When she’s not donating to Jolkona, she likes to support causes that promote public health and empowerment, around the world. She also loves traveling to different countries. Recently, she visited Pakistan, which opened her eyes to what poverty really is, motivating her to become an active donor in helping people around the world.

1.Why do you give to Jolkona?

Jolkona displays their projects really well, with a story behind each one. When I found out that donations were being matched, I browsed through the different projects. Each and every one of them opens your eyes to the unfortunate situations around the world. The stories are really powerful and brought to me a sense of thankfulness and gratitude for what I have. With that, I was very happy to help and give whole-heartedly to those that are less fortunate around the world.

2. Did knowing that your donation would be matched motivate you to give during this campaign?

Yes, knowing that my donation would be matched did motivate me to give.

3. Which project did you give to?

I gave to the ‘Assist Safe Houses for Women in Iraq‘ project. I came across this project and after reading the story behind it, I was in shock about how unfair these women were being treated. It really opened my eyes and makes me feel good that I can help these mistreated women.

What to make a difference?

After Kiran made her donation on Tuesday and shared it on Twitter, Waggener Edstrom saw that she made a donation and made an additional on-the-spot $25 donation to Jolkona in her honor.

Kiran's donation to #WEGoodDeeds and match on Twitter

Want to be a part of this campaign? Donate to any project on Jolkona through Monday, October 24th and our partner, Waggener Edstrom, will match your donation, dollar-for-dollar, up to $5,000. And for every gift made during Good Deeds, you will receive two proofs of impact – one for the donation you make and the second proof for the donation Waggener Edstrom matches.

Let’s give!

Interested in sharing your story as a featured donor on our blog? Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, or send a good ol’ fashioned email to contact@jolkona.org.

What do coffee, a five-dollar bill, and rainforests have in common? Coffee is one of the top ten commodities of the world. In the U.S., most handcrafted lattes and espresso beverages fall somewhere under five dollars. Sadly, rainforests are often compromised to accommodate the need for growing more crops and delivering the beans to caffeine-loving folks around the world.
Why is this important? We lose between 3 and 6 billion trees annually due to deforestation. Our world population is under 7 billion; imagine losing every person living on this planet each year. That is the effect of harvesting lumber for logging and cultivating farm land to grow crops. The pretty penny spent on many cups of java begins with the coffee beans themselves.

 

Many countries near the Equator and around oceans harvest coffee beans.

Many countries near the Equator and world oceans harvest coffee beans. Photo credit: Samson Lee

Preserving our Delicate Ecosystems

Let’s look at Brazil: the world’s highest producer of coffee, churning out an impressive 2,249,010 tonnes in 2007 alone. In response to this demand, many coffee harvesters occupied fertile soil, eradicating many of the lush vegetation in that space. As an effect of this type of production, many forests and habitats have disappeared. By removing the trees, the goal was to maximize the growth period of the coffee plants (via photosynthesis) in order to yield even more product at a faster rate. However, this creates detrimental effects on our global environment such as atmospheric warming and near extinct species of exotic animals.
There is a solution. Allowing native trees to flourish among coffee crops generates seed dispersal from birds, giving birth to a diverse ecosystem of plants and animals. Attracting multiple species of trees is ideal, because the sprouting vegetation that results often unite empty spaces present in rainforests today. This process may also reverse the effects of deforestation over time, Jha claims.  Read the entire report on Shalene Jha and Christopher Dick’s exploration in shade-grown coffee and how it improves the effects of deforestation.

Natural landscapes like this are losing their chance to be preserved.

Natural landscapes like this are losing their chance to be preserved. Photo credit: rumpleteaser

World Rainforest Week

World Rainforest Week is October 10-16; a time of reflection and appreciation for the flora and fauna of every lush forest in the world. Burundi, Brazil, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Haiti, Honduras, India, Mali, Nicaragua, the Philippines, and Senegal are all recognized under Jolkona’s Tree Planting project with “Trees for the Future.”

This year for National Coffee Day on September 29th, I donated to this project by supplying Brazil with 50 more trees.

This week, I challenge you by trading one latte, cappuccino, or cup of drip for 50 trees to replenish our world loss of 3 to 6 billion trees annually. As always, a Jolkona “thank you” for your donation will be real-time updates from our partner about your gracious contribution. Every drop counts, and even one new tree is an additional contributor to future growth!

To learn more about shade-grown coffee and other environmentally conscious actions you can take, visit Green Bean Coffee’s website and mongabay.com

Note from the Editor: This is a guest post written by Steve Schwartz, Director of Strategy & Operations for one of Jolkona’s newest partners, Upaya Social Ventures.

Meet Upaya Social Ventures from Steve Schwartz on Vimeo.

From the U.S., it is easy to see images of households in far away countries living in a way that looks different than our own and to assume that the differences — a tin roof, a barefoot schoolboy, a pot cooking over an open fire — fit neatly within a universal definition of “poverty.” But scratch the surface and you’ll find some families never worrying about where their next meal will come from, while 100 yards away others search endlessly to find enough work to eat again tomorrow. Not all poverty is created equal, and that relative difference is what Upaya Social Ventures was founded this year to address. An estimated 1.4 billion people worldwide are classified as “ultra poor,” living on less than $1.25 a day and struggling to find work that will pay them enough to afford stable shelter, clean water and three meals a day. The ultra poor often speak of feeling trapped in miserable conditions, with such meager earnings that any progress they make satisfying one need comes at the expense of meeting another. At the very heart of the problem are informal livelihoods — a cluster of irregular activities like shoe-shining, begging, day labor, hawking of second-hand items and trash picking that generate highly unpredictable incomes for those working in them.

Day laborers breaking rocks in a dry riverbed for an average ~$.50 per day

Day laborers breaking rocks in a dry riverbed for an average ~$.50 per day

The Upaya Approach

That’s where Upaya comes in. Taking its name from the Sanskrit word that means “skilled means” and connotes a creative solution to a challenging problem, Upaya is working with local social entrepreneurs to build businesses that will create jobs and improve the quality of life for the ultra poor. It’s a deceptively simple solution — increase a family’s earning potential through steady employment, and pair those jobs with access to affordable healthcare, education, housing and financial services so that the family makes sustained progress out of poverty.

But it is not always that simple, as the ultra poor are marginalized even within their own communities and skeptical of outsiders with “too good to be true” opportunities. For the entrepreneurs, too, there is a struggle to balance social responsibility with running a profitable business, and to attract funding to test their ideas.

Mothers reliant on begging to provide for their families

Mothers reliant on begging to provide for their families

This is why Upaya has created the Life-changing Interventions for the Ultra Poor (LiftUP) Project, a 24–36 month social business accelerator program that provides management support and financial resources to entrepreneurs who create jobs or improve access to basic services for the ultra poor. As a nonprofit organization, Upaya is able to make modest, longer-term equity investments — between $25,000 and $75,000 — in local entrepreneurs with early-stage ideas (any financial returns generated by investments are re-invested in future LiftUP Project partners). In addition to providing business development support, we also help these entrepreneurs create a “social accounting” system for tracking and analyzing the impact their activities are having on the lives of their employees or customers.

An Ideal Partner

And that is what brought Upaya to Jolkona. As Upaya works with businesses to monitor their social impact, we also have a unique opportunity to give donors a forum to track the progress of the causes and businesses they support. Through the Jolkona platform, donors will be able to see quarterly updates on employees’ quality of housing, improvements in the number and nutritional value of meals, status of children’s education and access to affordable healthcare. Upaya is taking a comprehensive approach to tackling the problems of extreme poverty, and Jolkona allows supporters to be active participants in that process.

www.upayasv.com

In part two of this series, we will profile Samridhi, a community dairy initiative in one of the poorest states in India that is creating jobs and providing regular salaries to women in households without any other form of steady income. Upaya has already raised $45,000 for Samridhi since the beginning of August and is looking to double that amount by the end of September.

About the author: Steve is the Director of Strategy & Operations for Upaya Social Ventures, and is one of the organization’s co-founders.  In a career that has run from Wall St. to the footpaths of smuggling routes in West Africa, Steve has long held the belief that all people deserve the opportunity to live their lives with dignity and means.

 

Waggener Edstrom Good Deeds Campaign on Jolkona

We are thrilled to launch Good Deeds, our second matched giving campaign with  Waggener Edstrom Worldwide. From now until October 24th, Waggener Edstrom will match every donation you make to any project featured on Jolkona, dollar-for-dollar, up to $5,000.

How this campaign works:

  1. Choose a project you’re passionate about from one of over 100 projects featured on Jolkona.
  2. Give and double your impact, with 100% of your donation going towards the project you choose and Waggener Edstrom will match it!
  3. Receive two proofs of impact – one proof for the donation you make and the second proof for the donation Waggener Edstrom matches.
  4. Share the your Good Deed on Facebook, Twitter, and everywhere you hang out – online and offline!

It’s that easy!

And as part of the campaign, Waggener Edstrom will also make several $25 bonus spot donations to Jolkona on behalf of people who tweet about their gift using the #WEGoodDeeds hashtag, so don’t forget to tell your tweeps about your donation!

Why Good Deeds?

The philosophy that all giving matters is the spirit of Jolkona’s mission and the work we do every day. We recognize that you don’t have to be wealthy or have an unlimited amount of time to volunteer to make an impact; even small doses of passion turned to action make a difference and Waggener Edstrom believes in this as well. As they like to think about it, the impact is YOU.

To read more about why Waggener Edstrom is supporting this campaign, read this post on their blog, Good Deeds: The Impact is You.

Let’s give!

You can support the Good Deeds campaign, follow our progress as we work towards raising $10,000 with the match in 2 weeks, and our total impact on the campaign page, as well as on Facebook and Twitter (@Jolkona, @WE_Citizen, #WEGoodDeeds).

We would like to thank Waggener Edstrom for their partnership and continued support with this campaign. Together, we are proving that small donations matter and together, we are creating a ripple effect of change.

What ‘good deed’ have you made today?

Credit Karen Ducey

On Monday night, October 3rd, Jolkona competed along side 13 other social innovators at Social Venture Partner’s Social innovation fast pitch for the chance to win a piece of the total prize money worth $170,000. It was a full house at the Fischer Pavilion at the Seattle Center with a crowd of more than 600 people in attendance all coming to hear 5-minute pitches of the top social innovations in Seattle ranging from high school students, college students, and seasoned social entrepreneurs.  Jolkona was honored to be one of 14 groups to pitch that night, and even more honored to have won the $15,000 Social Endeavors Award for our new initiative– licensing our micro-giving platform to help non-profits improve fundraising online.

While the competition was very stressful, it was also a forcing factor to help us get our “pitch” down. I’d like to thank Social Venture Partners and specifically Will Poole and his massive team of volunteers for organizing such a great event.  And I’d like to give a special shoutout to some of the amazing volunteer coaches/mentors that helped me with my pitch:  Susan Bloch, Ken Pawlak, Ted Weiler, and Dan Kranzler.  Thank you for believing in me and in Jolkona’s work and for helping to take our idea to the next level!  And a BIG thank you to all the Jolkona volunteers, board, and advisers that came to support that night.  Last, congrats to all the other winners that night!

Credit: Karen Ducey

It’s been a CRAZY week at Jolkona HQ, with the big win on Monday, all the follow-up from the great connections we made that night, and the start of Microsoft’s and King County’s Giving Campaign Month, but we are energized and excited to be moving forward with our new innovation.

Check out pictures from the event here and read articles about the event posted on the Puget Sound Business Journal and on Microsoft’s Unlimited Potential Blog.

 

Jolkona_NextGen_Web Banner

Jolkona is thrilled to unveil NextGen, a new initiative aimed at engaging the next generation of philanthropists. To launch this exciting new endeavor, Jolkona co-founders Nadia Khawaja and Adnan Mahmud met with hundreds of college students from around the country to talk about the UN Development Goals at the Millennium Campus Conference last month in Boston. The overwhelming response shows that today’s students want to get involved to make a true difference in their global community.

NextGen, powered by Jolkona, enables the next generation of philanthropists to turn their small change into big change through two specific programs: Jolkona High, aimed at high school, and Jolkona U, aimed at college students.

Jolkona High utilizes the Jolkona microgiving platform to aid high school seniors in completing the required Washington State Senior Project. The Senior Project inspires high school students to explore engaging topics and find real-world solutions to global disparities. Since Jolkona partners with a wide range of organizations that tackle complex global development issues, students can easily find philanthropic causes which engage their interests. High school students will feel empowered to find a solution to a problem they see in the world.

College students who want to take charge to address global disparities can start their own Jolkona U chapter as a student-organized club on campus. By starting a chapter, students can help fund projects they feel passionate about while gaining valuable leadership skills. They will be empowered to provide solutions for a wide-range of global development issues. As champions for a cause, Jolkona U members will educate their local communities about global inequalities and use teamwork to effectively address their philanthropic interests. Together, they can create a better world.

We are excited to reach the next generation of philanthropists and empower them to make a tangible difference in the lives of people everywhere. Together, we can use small change to make big change!

Please visit www.jolkona/nextgen to get more information about the NextGen platform.

GET INVOLVED!