Blog

This post is written by Natacha Danon, a political science and sociology student at Bates College. She is pleased to volunteer with Jolkona before she leaves for Morocco, where she will study abroad next semester.

In the chaos of long lines, last-minute preparations, and family gatherings, the natural disaster that struck the Philippines just last month began to slip from my mind. But while buying the last of my Christmas gifts – and  watching people flood the mall again days later to shop the sales – I was suddenly struck by the irreconcilable contrast between these two worlds. The only commonality was the element of long lines – long lines of impatient customers at Macy’s, long lines of Filipinos awaiting scarce water, food and medical supplies. An image of consumerism and abundance; an image of scarcity and deprivation.

In this state of cognitive dissonance, I tried to take solace in the fact that I had done what I could. A few weeks earlier, my family members emailed back and forth to make individual pledges and pool our contributions for Peace Winds America, the Seattle-based nonprofit that Jolkona has partnered with for this year’s Standing With the Philippines holiday campaign. Remarkably, 100 percent of our donations go towards food, water, shelter, counseling and other needed services for the survivors of Typhoon Haiyan (known there as Typhoon Yolanda).

But our individual contributions aren’t enough; 11 million people are struggling to recover from this unprecedented disaster. So, please consider spreading the spirit of giving beyond your own family, by providing survivors in the Philippines with a glimmer of hope for the new upcoming year. Spread the word and give together with Jolkona and Peace Winds America in the spirit of this holiday season today.

Keep up with everything Jolkona by following us on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram.

Are you still searching for a last-minute Christmas gift? Eager to keep the giving spirit going throughout the remainder of the holiday season? Hoping to start the new year off on the right foot?

Whether it’s for a family member, a friend, or simply in the spirit of the holidays, a contribution to Jolkona’s Standing with the Philippines holiday campaign will make a meaningful difference for the survivors of Typhoon Haiyan.

Jolkona’s donors have been been wonderfully supportive of our holiday campaign — we are now 75 percent to reaching our goal! We couldn’t have done it without several new Jolkona Champions, who have joined Baby Aleena in supporting Peace Winds America in their relief and recovery efforts.

Before we all take a holiday break, two Jolkona Champions hope that their efforts will inspire and empower you!

What is your role at Jolkona?

Dhanya Satya: HR Recruiter
Ross Polk: I currently lead the development of Jolkona’s giving platforms including Give Direct, Give Together and Lift Bangla. Day to day, I handle partner communications and the creation of our impact statements.

Why is this campaign important to you?

Dhanya: This campaign is important to me firstly because I haven’t done anything like this in the past. It fills me with content to be a part of it and know that I can impact and make a difference.
Ross: I’d like to raise awareness about what is happening in the Philippines. When a disaster strikes, it’s often easy for us to follow the initial news coverage but eventually, attention slowly fades. I hope I can inform my network about Jolkona’s ongoing effort to provide initial relief and long term recovery efforts in the region.
Dhanya: Sending food, shelter, water and medicine to 6 families in Philippines
Ross: $1,000!

What does the holiday season mean for you?

Dhanya: For me holiday season means happiness, joy, peace, laughter, togetherness and sharing good times with loved ones. So with this campaign I actually intend to spread the same joy across Philippines.
Ross: More than anything, I enjoy getting together with family and friends.

What can the rest of us do?

For the last couple weeks of holiday season, we hope that you join Dhanya, Ross, Baby Aleena, and many others in Standing with the Philippines. They will need our help for many months to come. If you too have a project you are passionate about, you can become a Jolkona Champion! Lean more here.
Keep up with everything Jolkona by following us on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram.

Aleena, the 5-month-old daughter of our co-founders Adnan and Nadia Mahmud, is living up to her “Youngest Philanthropist” moniker: She is already one of our Jolkona Champions, raising money for our Standing With the Philippines holiday campaign to help Peace Winds America bring relief to thousands of survivors struggling to recover from Typhoon Haiyan. The campaign, which we kicked off on #GivingTuesday Dec. 3, has raised more than $3,000 so far, through individual donations at the suggested $30, $60 and $200 levels, corporate matching funds, and contributions made as holiday gifts for friends and family.

Who Are Jolkona’s Champions?

Jolkona’s Champions lead fundraising campaigns for Give Direct or featured projects they are passionate about. Becoming a champion is easy, and is a good way to celebrate a birthday or special event, honor someone important to you, or see what kind of impact you and your community can have. Our four champions who are Standing with the Philippines have helped us raise 70 percent of our fundraising goal!

What Is Aleena’s Goal?

Help Aleena in her efforts to raise money to support victims of Typhoon Haiyan! For every $30, we can help another Filipino family recover from this catastrophic natural disaster. Donate here to join Aleena in Standing with the Philippines!

Are you passionate about making a difference, through bringing relief to the Philippines or one of our other projects? Become a Champion here!
Keep up with everything Jolkona by following us on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram.

Jolkona donors are supporting Peace Winds America for our holiday campaign, Standing with the Philippines. As part of our Partner Spotlight series, we asked PWA representatives some questions about their organization and their goals:

What’s your mission and why? What inspires your organization?

Our mission is to reduce the impact of natural disasters in the Asia-Pacific through effective, collaborative disaster preparedness, response, and recovery. Peace Winds America aims to promote durable partnerships and to focus on the areas of greatest need. Among the many inspirations driving our organization is the collective response to the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. In that disaster, organizations from every facet of society banded together to render assistance. We saw the potential for a truly “whole of society” response that integrates government assistance agencies, military units, local and international NGOs, multilateral organizations, and private businesses. Following that model PWA promotes training and interaction that strengthens these bonds.

What can you tell us about your project to help Typhoon Haiyan survivors in the Philippines?

PWA has been working with the Manila-based Citizens’ Disaster Response Center (CDRC) since the middle of 2012. We responded together to Typhoons Saola and Bopha and PWA staff assisted in country with relief efforts. In this current relief mission, PWA is funding CDRC efforts in Busuanga Island, which is in the Palawan region of western Philippines.  Our relief will target 1,000 families and bring them essential food and non-food items including hygiene and bedding supplies. We are actively monitoring the relief efforts and have already begun discussions with our partner on how to fund recovery. We know the most heavily affected individuals were fishermen and rice farmers, and we’ll be exploring ways to aid their short and long-term recovery.

What’s the impact of every $30 raised by Jolkona’s donors?

We’ve calculated that $30 will provide a sleeping mat, utensils, and food for roughly one week to an affected family.

cdrc-relief-operations-cebu

In a nutshell, why should a donor support your project?

PWA’s relief program quickly gets donated funds to our partner on the ground, with a minimum of delays, red tape, or overhead (generally equal to or under 10%). We are a small organization and can move quickly, speedily approving relief proposals and without any need to spend time looking for new partners on the ground. We have enjoyed success in this particular arrangement in past disasters and are highly confident in the impact of our work.  In addition, donated funds always remain restricted — donors who give to the Philippines will not suddenly find their contribution being used in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, or anywhere else.

We love impact stories at Jolkona. Can you tell us about how your organization has changed someone’s life?

We’re presently awaiting reports from this current disaster, but I can give you an example from Japan. Our friend and partner Yachi Onodera owned several coffee shops in and around Kesennuma, Japan. Most were completely destroyed in the tsunami. PWA provided a grant for him to obtain a new coffee roaster, allowing him to restart his business. Today, his coffee shops are thriving and expanding.

Anything else you would like to add?

We look forward to remaining involved in the Philippines. Other relief organizations tend to pull out after the emergency phase, but PWA stays on.

Photo Credits: CDRC Support PWA, and donate to our holiday campaign, Standing with the Philippines. Your donation will make a huge impact, and will be a great way to celebrate the season of giving.

Keep up with everything Jolkona by following us on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram.

Nelson Mandela passed away on Dec. 5. In his honor, we have changed the main image on Jolkona’s homepage this week:

The banner will resume linking to Standing With the Philippines, our holiday campaign to help Typhoon Haiyan survivors, after Mandela’s funeral this weekend.

We also highlighted Mandela’s wise words about the power of education at the top of our first Give Together newsletter earlier this year:

EducationJuly2013

Bill and Melinda Gates and other global nonprofit leaders have stepped forward to praise Mandela’s work — not just as a statesman, but as an advocate for the poor and disenfranchised. Jolkona co-founder Adnan Mahmud “wasn’t lucky enough to ever be in the same room as Mandela,” but was nevertheless inspired to write a new Huffington Post column sharing his own view of this man’s legacy:

Mandela’s Gift: How to be Loved by the People

Why was Mandela so special? What makes him worthy of this attention?

In fact, the detractors have already begun to surface. Some say he was a violent guy. He was a communist. He disapproved of U.S. policies. He neglected his family. His presidency was mired by corruption and economic problems.

Yet no one can deny the power of his legacy…

Check out the rest of the column over at The Huffington Post. We also currently have eight projects you can support in Africa via our Give Direct program, ranging from funding elementary school teachers in Zambia to providing financial services for people in Ghana.

Keep up with everything Jolkona by following us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

In honor of Giving Tuesday yesterday, the Seattle mayor’s office issued a proclamation to encourage charitable donations and acts, and Jolkona hosted a holiday party to kick off our Standing With the Philippines campaign. It was inspiring — and fun! — to join the international #GivingTuesday movement, aimed at reclaiming the true meaning of the holiday season after the feasting and chaotic consumerism of Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Our supporters have contributed more than $1,200 so far, which Jolkona partner Peace Winds America can use to help at least a dozen Filipino families displaced by last month’s Typhoon Haiyan. Let’s keep it going throughout December — and well into 2014, as the relief and recovery efforts are ongoing, despite our tendency to move on to the next headline.

As our co-founder Adnan Mahmud stated in his recent Huffington Post column:

The trouble is, most of us tend to remember to give only after disasters and during the holiday season — especially with the growing popularity of the “Giving Tuesday” movement, observed Dec. 3 this year. But for the millions of people in need locally and globally, access to medical care, housing, food and water aren’t only problems once or twice a year. Poverty doesn’t take a day off.

Our Philippines campaign has suggested donation increments of $30, $60 and $200, but any amount will make a difference. Donors can also make contributions as holiday gifts for family and friends — a win-win situation, if you’re like me and have trouble shopping for several people on your “nice” list every year…

For more on Peace Winds America’s disaster relief plans in the Philippines, here’s a clip of Jon Ehrenfeld, the organization’s civil-military program manager, at the #GivingTuesday party at Jolkona HQ last night.

 

Keep up with everything Jolkona by following us on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram.

Like many of you, I really look forward to celebrating Thanksgiving. Between spending time with my family and pets, and finding the balance between tradition and innovation on the dinner table, it’s always an enjoyable holiday. Most of all it is a good day for reflection (perhaps while recovering from all the food) on what we each have to be grateful for this year.

good-el-rodeo

At Jolkona, we also have lots of reasons to give thanks. Our donors support our partners and our mission of demonstrating that anyone can be a philanthropist. Our partners work with us to provide high-impact aid locally and globally, showing that great things can be accomplished with creativity, love, and social innovation. Our Give Together members, by joining this new donation platform, are helping us revolutionize charitable giving. And of course, we are thankful for all the volunteers and staff who have helped make Jolkona bigger and better this year by giving their time, energy and talent. Personally, I am thankful for everything that I have learned since joining the Jolkona team.

Give Together: Fighting Poverty & Helping the Philippines

Along with Thanksgiving, Hanukkah is also starting this week, and the pine-scented, carol-filled escalation to Christmas has already begun. In the meantime, we still have a couple of days left in our November Give Together campaign to Alleviate Poverty. Our partners for this month — Upaya, Dagbe, and Washington C.A.S.H. — could still use your contributions. With your help, we can reach the funding goal by Dec. 1!

Next month, in lieu of a new theme, Give Together members will be included in our major holiday campaign: Standing With the Philippines. Donations to this campaign will help Peace Winds America provide shelter, food, water, medicine, bedding, and hygiene kits to the survivors of Typhoon Haiyan (also known as Typhoon Yolanda)Contributions can also be made in honor of family and friends — a meaningful holiday gift, especially for the people on your “nice” list who already have everything. Win-win-win!

If you’re in the Seattle area, you can carry the grateful and giving spirit of Thanksgiving over into December — and cleanse your palate from the chaotic consumerism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday — by celebrating #GivingTuesday with us on Dec. 3. Head over to Facebook for event details and to RSVP. The festivities are free; anyone who donates to the Standing WIth the Philippines campaign during the party will be entered to win fabulous raffle prizes.

Celebrate Thanksgiving by Giving Together & Standing With the Philippines, and we look forward to giving through the holidays with you!

Keep up with everything Jolkona by following us on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram.

Jolkona’s holiday campaign has officially launched! This year, we have partnered with Peace Winds America (PWA) to bring high impact aid to those who have been affected by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. With your help and the experience of PWA, we can bring high impact aid to thousands of injured and 10 million displaced Filipinos.

Peace Winds America is an organization that focuses on strengthening response and relief to disasters in the Asia-Pacific. Based in Seattle WA, PWA works across all areas of disaster response, NGOs, private sector, governments and military, to coordinate effective relief for disaster stricken areas around the Pacific. Using multiple projects to work on both preparedness and relief in the face of disaster, such as coordinating between Sister Cities, PWA is dedicated to preventing natural disasters from turning into humanitarian crises.

In the Philippines, PWA is providing much needed aid to hard hit and ignored areas. They will provide shelter, canned food, water and medical supplies. With their experience not only in disaster relief, but also working in the Philippines, PWA ensures that your donation has a direct impact. Your contribution will provide a Filipino family with food, bedding, water and hygiene kits.

While current efforts will focus on immediate disaster relief PWA and Jolkona will continue to support longer term recovery and rebuilding, by providing semi-permanent housing, support for local industries like fishing and agriculture, and community support including disaster education and counseling services.

We are excited about our partnership with PWA and the opportunity to provide direct, high impact relief to the Philippines. Luckily, it’s easy for you to get involved in giving with PWA as well. To celebrate the launch of this campaign, we are hosting a #GivingTuesday party at our office on December 3rd from 6:30 to 8:00 PM. Join us for free food and beverages, and a fun opportunity to donate to PWA and disaster relief. For more information and to RSVP, head over to our Facebook page.

Our holiday party isn’t the only opportunity for you to give. You can make a donation to this project any time here.

With the holiday season commencing with Thanksgiving on Thursday, bring the “giving” back to “giving season” by putting the Philippines on the road to recovery. Donate today!

Keep up with everything Jolkona by following us on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram.

This December, join Jolkona and thousands of organizations across the US in celebrating Giving Tuesday. Set on Tuesday, December 3rd, Giving Tuesday is a day to celebrate philanthropy.  The goal is to get as many people as possible involved with serving their communities, volunteering with organizations, donating to an important cause or disaster relief. In the wake of Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and a season dedicated to consumerism, Giving Tuesday is a great opportunity to reflect on what makes the holiday season really special – giving.

With international involvement, Giving Tuesday has the potential to not only reach thousands of donors, but to impact millions of people in need globally. The first Giving Tuesday saw an 50% increase of online philanthropy, and this year is expected to grow even more. Another reason why this movement is important is it’s emphasis that anyone can be a philanthropist. As this idea is central to Jolkona’s mission, we absolutely had to be involved. We have several ways you yourself can be involved.

  • On December 3rd, Jolkona will be holding a special Giving Tuesday party at our office from 6:30 to 9 PM.  This is not only an opportunity to eat, drink, and celebrate with the Jolkona team. Its a chance to learn more about and donate to our special Holiday Campaign to support the Philippines. Take a look on Facebook for more information about the event and to RSVP.
  • You can also celebrate Giving Tuesday by donating to one of our Give Direct projects. With a number of high impact causes to choose from, making a difference on #GivingTuesday will be both easy and effective.
  • If you want to spread the spirit of Giving Tuesday throughout the year, you can sign up for Give Together, and make an impact every month.

Remember to RSVP for our Giving Tuesday party on December 3rd, and keep your eyes open for more information about our December Campaign.

As we eagerly look forward to Giving Tuesday, remember that there is still over a week left to contribute to one of our Poverty Alleviation Give Together projects. Don’t wait for #GivingTuesday, and Give Together Today!

Keep up with everything Jolkona by following us on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram.

Alicia Holmes has the distinction of being our first Give Together member who was completely new to Jolkona. Not only had she never donated through Jolkona.org before, but she doesn’t know anyone affiliated with us, she’s never attended one of our events, and she lives all the way across the country…

We couldn’t wait to hear her story!

Age:  30

Occupation:  Senior advisor for a healthcare and pharmacy innovation company

Location:  Massachusetts

How did you hear about Jolkona, and what made you want to contribute?

I saw an article [on LinkedIn] that described Jolkona’s philosophy and contribution model. The type of projects that Jolkona was targeting — small scale, material impact, varying causes — resonated with me. I like knowing that I didn’t just contribute X dollars to a particular city or country; I know that I helped purchase books for a local school or provide job-training for young women.
Jolkona strikes me as fresh and innovative. I was floored when I received an email from an actual person, Nicole, after signing up for Give Together online. No “do not reply — distribution only” emails. Real people who care about their work and the causes they support are the people behind this organization.

How did you hear about Give Together, and what inspired you to join?

After reading about the company, I learned more about Give Together on Jolkona’s website. It’s a practical, results driven program where you’re actually engaged in the act of giving and can witness the collective result as more people join the cause. It isn’t just an anonymous donation on a website.

How would you define “philanthropist?”

I think the term philanthropist sounds so formal that most people wouldn’t describe themselves as such, unless you actually are Bill or Melinda Gates. But in my mind, philanthrophy only requires that you look outside of yourself, your situation, and try to make a positive impact on humanity. There are many more philathropists walking around this world than we think.

What other causes do you support, and what kind of causes would you like to support in the future?

Veterans organizations have always been important to my family, as I come from a long line of service men and women. My father is a former Marine and Vietnam veteran, and in their retirement, my parents have started a non-profit to provide respite for soldiers and their families. I guess I take a lot of cues from them.
Healthcare (especially nutrition and prevention) and education are at the top of my list as well. Those are just a few areas where you can do more than relieve an immediate need. You can support the development of skills that will be useful for a lifetime (and hopefully passed on to later generations). Small contributions are magnified in that way.

What would you say to encourage others to donate to projects through Jolkona or elsewhere?

If you want to make an impact, if you want to know where and how your dollars are being used to help others and make the world a little more liveable, this is where you start.

Thanks Alicia!

Keep up with everything Jolkona by following us on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram.

Today is National Philanthropy Day, and what better way to celebrate than to Give Together? Take today to recognize and appreciate the positive impact the philanthropic community — you included! — has had on our world.

Our third and final Give Together partner for November, Dagbé, works to alleviate extreme poverty by providing healthcare and education to youths victimized by child labor and human trafficking. With your help, Dagbé can give some of the most vulnerable children in West Africa a chance at a better life. In the organization’s own words:

What’s your mission, and why? What inspires your organization?

We work with local care providers to provide basic housing, food, and restore social stability, access to education, and healthcare to orphans, victims of child trafficking, physical and sexual abuse, and destitute poverty, as identified by local authorities. Our vision is to provide support for the wellbeing of children in crisis situations, and foster an environment to allow them to develop into healthy, educated, and productive members of society.

So many Beninese children need someone to provide them with life-changing opportunities. Instead of living day-by-day working long hours just to get their next meal, we want these children to be able to go to school, enjoy their childhoods, and be set up for long-term success, and this is what drives us.

What’s your project for this month’s Give Together campaign?

Provide Critical Care to Keep Children from Being Further Victimized by Human Trafficking

What’s the impact of every $150 that Give Together members raise for your organization?

  • $150 will help reunite a trafficked child with their family (costs of staying at our center, investigation, transport, etc.)
  • $250 will help reunite a trafficked child with their family and provide them with school or vocational training for one year to encourage stability and progress.
  • $500 will provide for school fees and expenses for five trafficked children per year.
  • $1500 funds an anti-trafficking training seminar for 50 people. Raising awareness is critical to putting an end to child trafficking in Benin. These change agents are trained to prevent, identify, and report cases of trafficking and the training seminars have proved very effective.

In a nutshell, why should Give Together members support your project this month?

Dagbé is currently the only organization offering direct care services to children in crisis situations in this region in central Benin. Our efforts are critical to the children’s wellbeing. Our time spent living and working in the community ensures that the effectiveness of every dollar is maximized. We are committed to serving these children and this community.

We love impact reports at Jolkona. Do you have a favorite story you can share about how your organization changed someone’s life?

Our anti-trafficking training seminars have proved very fruitful. They are very well organized and attended by approximately 50 members of the community. They are also broadcast over the local radio to an estimated 15,000 listeners. Each training seminar has produced immediate results. A year ago, community members alerted us to a trafficking case only three days after the seminar. We were able to rescue a little girl who had been trafficked for purposes of sexual exploitation. We cared for her and were able to reunite her with some of her relatives and send her to school. We also worked with authorities to bring the traffickers to justice.

This past August, after another anti-trafficking training, we were alerted to the case of a ten-year old boy who had been taken from southern Benin to the north to work in masonry. Due to the long hours and harsh conditions, he had fled and walked nearly 100 kilometers until he was found by one of the recent training seminar attendees – hungry, with swollen feet, and in poor health. He stayed with us for several weeks while he recovered and we worked to find the best possible solution for him. His father passed away when he was young, but we reunited him with mother in southern Benin. She has very few resources to care for him, much less send him to school, and we are thrilled to be paying for all of his school expenses as well as most of his basic care needs.

These children would normally go unnoticed. Child labor and child trafficking is an issue in Benin, and many people are unaware of just how far some of these children get pushed and exploited. By raising awareness of the issue we are making a difference, with the added impact of caring for the children in the aftermath of an instance of trafficking and providing opportunities for them to have better futures.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Dagbé is thrilled to continue partnering with Jolkona. In April 2013, we were honored to receive some Jolkona team members as guests in Benin and together we witnessed the positive impact that we achieved by working together.

Remember to Give Together, and check back on the Jolkona Blog for more installments of the Partner Spotlight series.

Keep up with everything Jolkona by following us on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram.

Washington Community Alliance for Self-Help (C.A.S.H.) is a nonprofit working to alleviate poverty right here in Seattle, by helping entrepreneurs become financially self sufficient. As part of our Partner Spotlight series for Give Together November, we asked the organization some questions about this month’s project:

What’s your mission, and why? What inspires your organization?

Washington C.A.S.H. provides the business training, supportive community, and capital to help enterprising individuals with limited financial resources gain self-sufficiency through small business ownership. We serve individuals at the most vulnerable end of the economic spectrum: people whose assets and wealth have been greatly depleted by the economic downturn, and whose circumstances — including English language barriers, lack of literacy or education, poor or nonexistent credit, or cycles of persistent generational poverty— prevent them from advancing out of low-paying, inflexible employment. Our programs equip people to take ownership over their financial situations by becoming their own bosses and making a living pursuing their passion—whether that is landscaping, handcrafting jewelry, or selling gourmet pizzas a farmers’ markets and street fairs.

What’s your project for this month’s Give Together campaign?

Washington C.A.S.H.’s cornerstone 8-week Business Development Training equips low-income entrepreneurs with the skills and knowledge they need to become financially self-reliant through small business ownership. For financially vulnerable individuals, the BDT is a lifeline to help them build their confidence and define, organize, and launch their own micro-businesses.

What’s the impact of every $100 that our Give Together members raise for your organization?

Every quarter, at least twenty ambitious entrepreneurs want to enroll in the BDT but are unable to pay for course materials. This month, Washington C.A.S.H. seeks contributions to its “scholarship fund” to cover material fees for individuals enrolling in the next round of trainings. For every $100 that Give Together raises for this project, Washington C.A.S.H. will be able to waive the course materials fee for one low-income entrepreneur to enroll in the BDT and take their first step toward financial self-reliance.

In a nutshell, why should Give Together members support your project this month? 

  • Washington C.A.S.H. serves only low-income individuals; the average entrepreneur supports a family on $22,267 per year.
  • Washington C.A.S.H. is unique in the Puget Sound region in that it offers aspiring entrepreneurs a comprehensive toolbox of services that includes training, coaching, financial assistance (micro loans and matched savings accounts), AND retail incubation through the Ventures retail store.
  • Washington C.A.S.H. is remarkably successful: on average, businesses more than quadruple their revenue, and just over half (51%) of clients experience an increase in household income, within the first year and a half of receiving services.

We love impact reports at Jolkona. Do you have a favorite story you can share about how your organization changed someone’s life?

Before finding Washington C.A.S.H., Nelson faced challenging circumstances; he spent years in and out of homeless shelters and battling mental illness. Then a counselor referred him to our program, and Nelson began working closely with one of our experienced business coaches. Through customized training and coaching, Nelson learned how to overcome obstacles to the success of his business. Staff at Washington C.A.S.H.’s Ventures retail store in Pike Place Market helped Nelson refine his products and prepare them for larger markets. Now, nearly two years later, Nelson is CEO of Organic Teas United LLC and sells unique organic tea blends in several large retail outlets throughout the Pacific Northwest, including Uwajimaya. Nelson is proud to be a client of Washington C.A.S.H.; he says, “The program reminds me of essential vitamins…our bodies won’t function optimally without the essentials.”

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Our services helps people change their lives; with your help, a struggling single mother becomes CEO of her own small business; a disabled veteran launches his own company; or a young ambitious immigrant family opens up shop in their new country.

Give Together today to empower low-income entrepreneurs to become financially self-sufficient through small business ownership!

Check back on the Jolkona Blog for more installments of the Partner Spotlight series.

Keep up with everything Jolkona by following us on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram.

My father is a Vietnam veteran, so I never let a Nov. 11 go by without thanking him and others for their service — especially since our emotional trip to Vietnam in 2007 with a group of veterans and philanthropists. We had no connection to Seattle yet at that time, but coincidentally, we accompanied the Seattle Rotary Club and Son Michael Pham, founder of Kids Without Borders, on our first visit to the Go Vap Orphanage in Ho Chi Minh City.

Happy Veterans Day, aka Remembrance Day for our neighbors to the north and other parts of the world.

Southeast Asia is also on my mind as we are hearing worse and worse reports of the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan, with more than 100,000 feared dead in the Philippines and panicked evacuations causing chaos in Vietnam.

Jolkona does not have any projects in those two countries this month, but through our headquarters here in Seattle, we have ties to the Filipino and Vietnamese American diaspora. Check out this Seattle Times story for information on how these groups are responding, including links to helping the rescue, recovery and rebuilding efforts through the Red Cross, World Vision and Mercy Corps. (Both WV and MC are also based here in the Pacific Northwest.)

And please check back for more information as we work with our nonprofit partners to help these ongoing efforts, as well.

Keep up with everything Jolkona by following us on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram.

It’s still Diwali for a few more days, so let’s start our November Partner Spotlight series with a nonprofit organization that fights poverty in India: Upaya Social Ventures.

Upaya logo

As one of three organizations in this month’s Give Together campaign for Poverty Alleviation — and also our neighbor in Jolkona’s new downtown Seattle office! — Upaya is creating silk weaving jobs in northern India for skilled workers living in extreme poverty. In his own words, Steve Schwartz, Upaya’s director of strategy and operations, explains why it’s important to support this project:

What’s your mission, and why? What inspires your organization?

Upaya Social Ventures builds businesses that create jobs and improve the quality of life for people living on less than $1.25 a day. We do this because we believe that giving someone a change to earn a stable and dignified living is the best way to ensure that everyone has a chance to permanently break the cycle of extreme poverty.

What’s your project for this month’s Give Together campaign?

Upaya is working with a Bhagalpur, Bihar-based startup that trains Tasar silk weavers on new skills, techniques, equipment and designs. By contributing to this project, you are supporting Upaya’s ability to provide both the startup capital to launch the business and the management support to create new jobs and remain competitive in the marketplace.

If Jolkona’s Give Together members raise $250 for your organization, what’s our impact?

Based on the program costs for its current portfolio, we estimate that Upaya spends a mere $250 for each job created — a job that can continually support a family for a lifetime.

In a nutshell, why should Give Together members support your project this month?

The real question is “If a job is the key to providing food security, housing stability, and a chance to invest in children’s education to families living in extreme poverty,” the question really becomes “Why shouldn’t Give Together members support the Upaya project this month?”

We love impact reports at Jolkona. Do you have a favorite story you can share about how your organization changed someone’s life?

Just one? I’d encourage everyone to check out the Face-to-Face section on our website to hear all about the folks who are having their lives changed by their first stable job.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I am not just representing a Give Together project; I’m also a member!

Join Give Together, and check back on the Jolkona Blog for more installments of the Partner Spotlight series this month!

Keep up with everything Jolkona by following us on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram.

With November, we welcome not only the holiday season, but also a new Give Together theme: Poverty Alleviation.

This month’s Give Together partners help vulnerable people lift themselves out of extreme poverty in Benin, India and Seattle. Through Give Together, providing education and training to empower people to gain financial independence and live and work in dignity may be the most important gift you can give this year.

Upaya2

Upaya

Upaya Social Ventures works to improve the lives of silk weavers in India, who live on less than $1.25 a day. The nonprofit works with a local startup based in Bhagalpur, Bihar, to teach the silk weavers new techniques, equipment, and designs so the weavers can earn a stable and dignified living. In addition, your donation also provides capital for their partner start-up to expand their business and create new jobs in their region. Every $250 our community raises through Give Together will help Upaya create a new job for one of these talented weavers.

Dagbé

Dagbe2

Dagbé works in  the West African country of Benin, supporting orphans and children who have been victims of human trafficking. This grassroots nonprofit organization provides food, safety, healthcare, schooling and social stability so that children in crisis situations can grow up to be healthy, educated and productive. In addition to aiding children, Dagbé also educates communities about human trafficking and child labor, and what they can do to prevent it. Every $250 raised by our Give Together community will help Dagbé reunite a trafficked child with his family, and fund his education or vocational training for the next year.

good-el-rodeo

Washington C.A.S.H.

Community Alliance for Self-Help, also know as C.A.S.H, is a Washington-based organization that helps low income entrepreneurs develop their own business. Through their Business Development Training program, they help ambitious individuals who face obstacles such as low income, language barriers, and limited education and literacy develop the skills and training necessary to launch their own business, and become financially self reliant. For every $100 raised by our Give Together community, Washington C.A.S.H. can send one entrepreneur to an 8-week business training program.

The Giving Season

To learn more about these amazing projects, keep visiting this blog to read November’s Partner Spotlight series.

As we look forward to spending time with family and eating holiday meals (and stocking up on Trader Joe’s seasonal snacks), it’s also a great time to get into the holiday spirit by giving back, locally and globally. Check out Jolkona’s events through our website, Facebook and Twitter feeds for upcoming campaigns related to the holiday season — including our #GivingTuesday Seattle party on Dec. 3.

Start out your holiday season right, and Give Together for Poverty Alleviation today!

Keep up with everything Jolkona by following us on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram.

GET INVOLVED!