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The definition of ‘Upaya’ is any endeavor or practice that is used to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles to achieve a goal. Upaya Social Ventures, the Seattle-based non-profit, exemplifies this mission of determination and due diligence.

In a nutshell, they work to build businesses and improve the quality of life for families. Upaya focuses on helping the ultra poor – the World Bank defines the ultra poor as a family unit living on $1.25/day or less. Extreme poverty is marked by the lack of even the most basic, essential necessities to live.

From now through December 31st, a tremendous matching campaign is going on for Upaya’s Jolkona hosted campaigns. Any and all donations made to either of the two projects will be matched on every dollar (up to the first $10,000) by the Skees Family Foundation. It is a wonderful opportunity to double your impact with a few dollars.

Jolkona Partnership and Projects

Steve Schwartz, Upaya’s Director of Strategy & Operations and Co-founder, has been closely linked with Jolkona since the latter organization began in 2007. His friendships with Jolkona founders Nadia and Adnan blossomed into a non-profit alliance following Upaya’s start in 2011. The two organizations have collaborated in making several Upaya projects available through Jolkona’s platform.

You can help Delhi’s poorest earn a dignified living by making a gift of $250. The meaningful, long-term impact such an amount can make on a family is incredible. The gift will help create a stable and dignified job for someone; this is will greatly increase their family’s income, food supply, and overall quality of life.

Upaya has also teamed up with a startup in Bihar; the startup trains silk weavers in the community to improve their skills, resources, equipment and more. Once again, with a one-time gift of $250 one new job will be created and maintained. Create Stable Jobs for Silk Weavers in Bihar and change the lives of a family for the better, forever.

A Gift of Life and Prosperity

Every person deserves the dignity of a job to call their own to provide for their family’s needs. Upaya is devoted to empowering individuals with skills and stability, thereby influencing their friends, families and communities for the better.

This holiday season, every dollar counts twice. The matching campaign makes it an ideal time to give. These are solvable problems with dedicated means to solve them. Consider giving the gift of impact by supporting one of Upaya’s projects. Doing so will voice your love and support for their mission, Jolkona’s, philanthropy’s and – most importantly – for the hope and happiness you will impart to others.

Like Jolkona on Facebook, follow us on Twitter , and check us out on Pinterest to keep up with all of our ongoing projects.

 

We are happy to announce that we are one of the contestants in Tray Creative’s 2012 Vote for Good Contest. Jolkona, as well as other local Seattle-based nonprofits that have collaborated with Tray over the last several years, are eligible for votes.

The holidays are an ideal season to invest your time, energy and contributions in worthwhile endeavors. We have worked hard this past year to achieve good – please place a vote for our good to help our chances at being awarded a $1,000 donation.

What Tray Creative Does

Tray Creative is a dynamic organization based in Seattle that clarifies, strengthens and empowers the messaging and branding of other companies. They utilize their diverse professional skill sets to aid the mission of both for-profit and non-profit organizations.

We are honored to be a part of their holiday charitable campaign this year. Tray Creative’s pro-active participation in philanthropic activities is something we affirm and admire.

How to Vote

All it takes is a couple clicks of the mouse and your vote for Jolkona will be cast. Visit the voting page on Facebook and ‘like’ Tray Creative to access the voting platform. Just click “Vote” for Jolkona – and feel free to share the link or spread the word about the contest via your Facebook profile or Twitter.

Support Jolkona’s Mission

We couldn’t do what we do without the incredible support from people in our community. This $1,000 end of the year donation would be a wonderful capstone to a great, productive year here. The contest runs through December 31st – please, take just a moment to cast your vote and tell a friend. You will be facilitating the success of future projects and partnerships.

Like Jolkona on Facebook, follow us on Twitter , and check us out on Pinterest to keep up with all of our ongoing projects.

 

In September, two incredibly generous and loving people came together to celebrate their union and marriage! Sarah Whittemore and Phil Dao planned a beautiful wedding in Marion, MA at the Kittansett Club without missing a single detail. To thank all their attendees and celebrate their shared passion in giving back to the community, they creatively thought “What if the wedding favor is a charitable donation?” This beautiful idea transpired into a small donation card that enabled guests to make a choice from three charitable projects featured on the Jolkona platform. Jolkona makes it easy to give directly to low-cost, high-impact philanthropic opportunities around the world. Sarah and Phil have been generous supporters of Jolkona over the last several years. And to make their donations even more impactful, Sarah works at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that generously matches employee donations $3 for every $1 donated.

The selected Jolkona projects Sarah and Phil selected for their wedding favors focused on education and providing support to people in Vietnam, where Phil is originally from:

Barakat
Work to increase female literacy rates in Afghanistan, which are currently only 14%. Mothers can bring infants to classes to make learning more convenient.

Kenyan Education Fund
Helping children break the cycle of poverty, KEF provides financial assistance and support so students can attend secondary school.

Upcoming project: PeaceTrees Vietnam – Trieu Trung Library

Funding books, newspapers and magazines for the future library that provide a meeting and training place for the village level Women’s Union in Vietnam.

This generous wedding favor idea is a great example of two people showcasing their love and generosity on many levels. Philanthropy and marriage, what a beautiful couple!

The three of us who make up the writing and editing team, and many if not all of us at Jolkona, were brought into the world safely without any major set backs.

However, this is not the case for many women and children across the globe. One of our partners is hosting a project which assists those who face problems within the labor process in Palestine, and in honor of them and our 10 Days of Giving, the writing and editing team would like to highlight and support their cause.

The Scoop

Because of recent conflict that still continues today, the Israeli military has placed heavy restrictions on free movement. Due to several road closures in the West Bank, women in labor have been having difficulty traveling to hospitals safely. The United Nations estimates that around 2500 women face fatal or life-threatening complications while en route to receive assistance with labor. Consequently, the number of women who give birth without any proper medical attention has increased at the same time.

What We’re Doing About It

The writing and editing team here at Jolkona has created a campaign to help mothers and their children, while reducing these numbers. Lucky enough to have experienced safe births, the team is ready to help other mothers undergo healthy, successful deliveries while ensuring their children’s safety in the process.

The goal for the campaign is to raise $300 and provide six mothers and their children with these safe birth kits in an effort to support them in this difficult time.

Check out the video explaining what the campaign is all about:

How You Can Help

Support Safe Births in Palestine: Our partner, MADRE, has created a project to assist these women and children. Donations to the campaign start at $5, however, with your gift of just $50 you can provide a complete safe birth kit to a mother and child. As proof of who your donation has been helping, you will receive the mother and child’s name, as well.

MADRE, a partner of ours since 2009, is an international women’s human rights organization that works with community-based women’s organizations worldwide. Since the organization began in 1983, it has provided women in various countries around the globe with more than $25 million.

Support the Cause

Women and children in Palestine are in great need of our help with facilitating easier labor and deliveries. We invite you to join MADRE and us at Jolkona, with special help from the blogging and editing team, in supporting women and children in Palestine through our new campaign. Just in time for our 10 Days of Giving, a donation to the campaign is a great way to give back to the global community this holiday season.

Like Jolkona on Facebook, follow us on Twitter , and check us out on Pinterest to keep up with all of our ongoing projects.

Make a difference while showing you care this season with a Jolkona gift card.

With our gift cards, you will provide the recipient with a chance to give back to any one of their favorite Jolkona projects.

This season, we have rolled out new holiday gift card designs, and with a style to suit any personality, you can’t go wrong.

Give a friend, loved one or family member a gift that will bring smiles to more than just one face. It’s just the right gift for someone who has it all!

Like Jolkona on Facebook, follow us on Twitter , and check us out on Pinterest to keep up with all of our ongoing projects.

We are so excited to usher in this festive time of year with our very own giving campaign. Jolkona’s tireless volunteers and members have teamed up to present and advocate for projects important to them. This is, after all, the season of giving – and we believe genuine generosity is contagious. The holidays are special times for family and community, for gathering and storytelling, for being thankful and giving back. The spirit of giving is a malleable form that can manifest in many ways. We would like to share our spiritedness with you.

Launching our Gifts

Jolkona volunteers have been crafting videos dedicated to their chosen projects. Each day, beginning today, we will ‘unwrap’ a gift by unveiling a new video. The projects are meaningful and unique, one and all, which is why we want to let each one speak for itself on a given day. Visit the Campaign page here.

Our non-profit partners span focuses from healthcare to education to the environment. This campaign will give you an excellent opportunity to be exposed to different projects and choose one that really resonates with you. We are excited to have so many passionate team members on the Jolkona team to speak on behalf of these projects.

Take a look at the video below for our first gift of the season. It is all about our partner Calcutta Kids, an organization working hard in India to combat child mortality from diarrhea. Show your support for their ongoing health efforts by making a gift of $10.

A Gift of Impact

In addition to our 10 Days of Giving Campaign, we have a convenient gift option available for individuals looking to offer something different to a friend or family member. Our holiday e-gift cards can be easily purchased through the Jolkona platform; these can then be applied to a project of the donor’s choosing. Your gift to them will be a gift back to a community in need. It is a flexible and useful way to positively involve yourself in the lives of others. The gift of impact is a treasure.

Join the Jolkona family with your Support

People’s social support systems – family, friends, significant others, co-workers – play a vital role in celebrating the holidays. It is important to not lose sight of this love when considering the less fortunate. The spirit of giving is about philanthropy, yes – but it really comes alive through love and compassion.

We encourage you to commemorate this holiday season by getting involved in our 10 Days of Giving Campaign. Give to a particular project. Purchase an e-gift card to give to someone in your life. Spread the word about Jolkona’s projects through conversation and social media. Become a person of giving during this busy time of year. One individual’s impact is greatly amplified in the esteemed company of fellow givers.  

How will you give impact this holiday season?

Like Jolkona on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and check us out on Pinterest to keep up with all of our ongoing projects.

Blackbuad, a software supplier that frequently works with nonprofits, recently conducted a Donor Perspective survey in an attempt to find out more about how donors are giving to various nonprofits and philanthropic causes.

The study found a few major issues donors are having with the giving process–and we’re working to solve them.

The Scoop

In the study, a total of about 4,000 individuals from the US, the UK and Australia answered questions related to their giving habits.

According to the results, the second most reported reason donors stopped giving, right behind a change in their personal finances, was that they didn’t fully know or understand exactly where their money was going.

One of the other more staggering results of the survey was the reported difference in giving between those above the age of 35 and those below it. The study found that people between the ages of 18 and 24 gave about $463 in the last 12 months, while people ages 25-35 gave $800 on average. The 35-44 age group gave at an average of about $1,390 in the past year.

What We’re Doing to Help

According to Blackbaud, “[by] tracking the impact of contributions and communication that impact back to donors, nonprofits can increase the number of regular donors and ensure they are not losing the regular donors they have.”

Here at Jolkona, we hope to do just that for donors by providing them with proof of what their donation has done, while attempting to appeal to people under the age of 30 by making mobile donations easy at the same time.

By following up with donors after they give to any of our projects, we are proud to provide a name, photograph or more about the person or people their gift has impacted. In doing so, we aim to provide donors with not only complete transparency, but with the confidence that their gift has truly made a great impact, as well.

Moreover, we hope that our mobile site and project pages will work to make giving easier for a younger generation who is always on the go–with a cell phone in tote. By making mobile donation easy to complete, we hope to appeal to all donors and their specific giving needs.

We Owe it to You

Our strides to make giving easier would mean nothing if we didn’t have our wonderful donors’ support. We would like to say a big thank you to all of those who have helped us and our projects out, and will continue to work to make your giving process even easier.

Like Jolkona on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and check us out on Pinterest to keep up with all of our ongoing projects.

In preparation for our annual Corks & Forks fundraising event, our team envisioned an amazing event with all fundraising elements- silent auction, live auction and program to highlight and illustrate all of the wonderful work Jolkona does. As the planning continued, we knew the elements of the evening’s program had to include a media piece about Jolkona. For the guests who were familiar with our organization and for the guests who were getting to know us, we needed a video to encompass all parts of Jolkona.

Enter Lucas Gregor, new Jolkona intern, fresh out of college and willing to take the lead on writing, shooting and editing Jolkona’s first impact video. For weeks, he dedicated his time to shooting in various locations from the Seattle Art Museum Sculpture park to Cal Anderson park on Capitol Hill to the Jolkona office downtown. With every part of the video from scouting locations, to bringing confidence and empathy to the video participants to editing, Lucas displayed passion and ease. The video encompasses testimonies from Jolkona partners, donors, volunteers and a board member to highlight what giving is all about. Here is Lucas’ brilliant work and final video:

In addition to giving over a hundred hours in creating the Jolkona impact video, Lucas is always available to help with other volunteer needs. In the month of October, Lucas volunteered at the Corks & Forks event, manipulating the media for the evening’s program. He also was a stellar bar tender at Jolkona’s Microsoft Giving Campaign’s international fashion show A Night of Fashion and Giving. Even with a last minute request, Lucas is always willing to help others and to be available to support Jolkona.

“Lucas is easy going, dedicated, and has an eye for creating great videos. He has been an amazing asset to the Jolkona team over the last six months. One of the first projects he worked on was our Volunteer Dancing video which was an editing project piecing together videos from around the world with our volunteers dancing while visiting our partners. The goal was to inspire more people to get involved with volunteering and he did an amazing job. Lucas’s internship is coming to an end and we’re sad to have him go but are truly grateful for all the creative storytelling he has helped Jolkona with in just a short period and we wish him all the luck in his future endeavors.” – Nadia Mahmud (Jolkona CEO)

“Lucas was a gem to work with from the start! The first time I met him, I showed him our dance clips – there were more than 20 clips, filmed to different songs, different tempos especially when we couldn’t hear the music, and often had shaky hands as our volunteer cameramen. I thought he would need at least 3 weeks to get this sorted out but he came back in a week with a rough cut that blew all of us away. The quality of his work continues with the video he made for corks and forks and I’m excited to see his artistic abilities continue to grow as Jolkona grows!” – Nancy Xu (Jolkona Volunteer)

Lucas has easily become part of Jolkona’s amazing volunteer team and we are so very thankful for his time and commitment!  Thanks so much Lucas!

Interested in being a Jolkona volunteer? Drop us a line at contact@jolkona.org. You can also keep up with us on  FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest

GET INVOLVED!