Adnan Mahmud, Jolkona’s co-founder, recently gave a series of talks on social entrepreneurship to young leaders around Indonesia. He reports back that, like American youth, Indonesians are eager to address their community problems through social entrepreneurship, by building a financially sustainable nonprofit organization or a socially responsible business. But they face significant challenges — some similar to what Americans face, others more culturally specific.

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Adnan outlined some of these issues in a webcast presentation, “The Role of Social Enterpreneurship in the U.S. and Indonesia.” His 15-minute talk starts at 14:00 on this video clip, followed by the Q&A at 44:00.

Watch live streaming video from at_america at

For more advice on social entrepreneurship in the United States and Indonesia, check out Adnan’s most recent Huffington Post Impact column: Do Good & Do Well: 3 Tips for Social Entrepreneurs at Home and Abroad.

My nonprofit, Jolkona, works to inspire and empower a new generation of philanthropists. The Indonesian youth leaders I met are already inspired, but they need a support system to empower them to take risks and overcome these hurdles. For them, and for other young professionals around the world striving to both do good and do well, I have outlined the three main challenges to succeeding as a social entrepreneur — and how to overcome them.

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

One of the happiest moments of my childhood was when I brought my cat, Hamlet, home from the Heart of the Valley shelter in Bozeman, MT. Twelve years later, I have moved him into my first post-college apartment in Seattle. Throughout the years, he has been my snuggly companion, and “assistant” with countless projects. Between the nights where he has sat quietly by my side as I studied for tests or rushed to finish papers, and the winter weekends he has spent sleeping on my tummy, he has been an irreplaceable friend.

All week long, Jolkona’s staff and volunteers have shared their own philanthropic experiences of providing a forever home for a faithful friend. Those pet adoption stories could easily be yours, too. But if you can’t keep a pet, the next best thing is to support animals elsewhere. One way is to join our Give Together campaign before the end of September, while this month’s Animals theme is still raising money for projects through Reading With Rover, the Snow Leopard Trust, and Woodland Park Zoo.

hamlet imageAnimal adoption is one of the causes I am passionate about. As our other Pet Adoption blog posts have shown, this simple act of philanthropy has a lasting impact. The U.S. Humane Society and the Jolkona team have some compelling reasons why pet adoption is the best option for both owners and animals:

You can save a life

Many shelters keep as many animals as they can, but the overcrowding problem means that over 2.5 million potential pets are euthanized every year. By adopting from a shelter or rescue organization instead of buying from a store or breeder, you are literally saving a life.

Many breeders and the puppy mills that supply pet stores, breed irresponsibly leading to serious health problems, keep their animals in reprehensible conditions, often with inadequate health care and human companionship. By supporting a shelter and taking business away from these other options, your small contribution will make a huge impact in saving the lives of thousands of animals – not only those in shelters but also those directly impacted by breeders and puppy mills.

You get help

Shelters provide health screens and basic medical care to the animals in their care and match you with an animal whose temperament best matches your own. They will often send you home with supplies as well. Most animals in shelters are placed there because of human circumstances, such as owners moving, or being unable to afford them, meaning that they are by no means ‘defective.’ If you want a particular breed, or want to work with or rehabilitate a rescue animal there are specialized shelters and rescue groups that can provide resources as well.

Adoption is affordable

Adoption fees are very small compared to spending thousands at a breeder. Shelters vaccinate, spay and neuter animals before they are adopted, meaning that you save money on the initial health check.

A pet will make you happier

Having a pet has been shown to be beneficial to your emotional, psychological and physical health. In addition to having a meaningful friendship with a companion animal, having a pet lowers blood pressure, and, especially with dogs, encourages you to be more physically active.

Give Together for Animals

If you aren’t in a position to have a pet or take in another animal, you can still make a big difference through our Give Together campaign this month. There’s only a few days left to support Animals; next month, the theme will switch over to nonprofit projects related to Women/Girls.

At Jolkona, we make it easy to fund a trusted animal based organization that is right for you. If you love dogs, join to support Reading with Rover‘s mission of using therapy dogs to help children learn to read. If you love cats, join to support the Snow Leopard Trust‘s conservation and education efforts. If baby animals make you happiest, join to help the Woodland Park Zoo care for their new additions, including a giraffe calf. Whether you Give Together for animals around the world, or bond with an adopted pet at home, you can be proud of your choice.

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

What made you feel like you had finally become an adult? Was it something like turning a certain age, moving away from home, finishing school, landing your first job, making a thoughtful donation to charity? For me, it was becoming a parent — to a crazy beagle named Toby.


Ten years ago, I got my first real job, reporting for a newspaper in rural Connecticut. Not only does everyone in those parts have multiple pets (not including livestock), but as a city girl, I was a bit unsettled by all the unfamiliar sounds late at night when I was all alone in that big barn apartment. (Was that a raccoon on the roof, or an escaped murderer?) Plus, I had always wanted a dog.

Through Petfinder’s classified listings, I connected with a young woman who had adopted Toby from a shelter a few months earlier, then realized she couldn’t give him all the attention and exercise he needed. I took the hyper guy home for a trial weekend, but it wasn’t until I brought him back and he wouldn’t leave my side that I committed to keeping him for good.

nicoletobyToby is a fantastic dog, especially with young children. Even kids who are scared of dogs gravitate to him, and he does lots of philanthropic work cheering up crying children on playgrounds and Santa Claus lines. But it’s obvious how he ended up in a shelter: he loves to run and run and run! He has the prey drive of a beagle, but the athleticism of a greyhound. That first year, he pulled dozens of escapes that would make Houdini scratch his head, seeking adventures that would make Snoopy proud. One afternoon, while he was leashed on the dog run line, I looked out my window and caught him and the neighbor’s Lab mix teaming up to slip each leg out of his harness! Another time, he found a gap in a fenced dog park, and I ended up having to borrow a machete to cut through thickets of brambles to get to him, trapped at the bottom of a gravel pit. (All the Lassies are rolling over in their graves.)

toby bellyEven now that he’s 11 years old, the sight of a squirrel or the faintest whiff of a cat can send him racing around, dodging and weaving and howling for an hour. Ironically, he also has separation anxiety, and can’t stand to be left alone in a car or outside a store for more than a few minutes. What a crazy dog!

Nevertheless, Toby has been the best, most loyal friend ever, over an extremely eventful decade: three cross-country moves, two major career changes, a wedding, the birth of our son (his “little brother”) and now as we await a little sister. We can’t imagine life without him! When the inevitable happens — hopefully still at least five years away — I will be a complete wreck. But as Dhanya’s story yesterday illustrates, I will eventually treasure the memories… and in the meantime, it’s a reminder to really appreciate all the good times we still have together now.

We’d love to hear your pet adoption experiences, too. Share them in the Comments section, on Facebook and Twitter (#GiveTogether #Animals).

While waiting for our final adoption story tomorrow, check out our previous posts about this month’s Give Together projects for Animals: Reading With Rover’s therapy dogs, the Snow Leopard Trust’s big cats, and the Woodland Park Zoo’s baby giraffe. For just $10/month, you can join a growing community making a big difference — and will receive an impact report within weeks, showing our collective giving at work. Every little bit counts, and helps.

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

Is it better to have loved and lost, or never to have loved at all? I generally hear arguments in favor of love-and-loss when it comes to other people — but when it comes to pets, the jury is still out. Or is it?

I grew up wanting a dog, but my mother wouldn’t hear of it because she was still traumatized from her beloved poodle’s death during her teen years. (I finally got my dog once I had my own place, and she has been obsessed with her “grandson” ever since. Check back for that story tomorrow!) And while Dhanya Satya, Jolkona’s HR recruiter, treasures the brief memory of her rescue cat, the pain of losing her kitty still prevents her from considering another pet. Her story:

It was May 1998. I was 13, living in Mangalore, Karnataka (southern India). Monsoon had just started. I came home after school and sat with a bag of chips by the balcony enjoying the rain. Suddenly, I hear a “meow.” I started to look around and after a while my eyes catches the sight of the most precious thing ever, sitting in a corner, frightened and lost. There was a beautiful little kitten. That very instant, I fell in love with her.

The tough part was to convince my parents to let me keep her, because we never had pets in the past. But they finally gave in, and I named her “Munni.” The days that followed were filled with happiness. I had a very emotional bond with her; I used to tell her how much I hated my homework, how I loved chocolates… She listened to all that, always with a twinkle in her eyes.

Then suddenly after few months, she fell sick. She had boils all over, stopped eating and lost a lot of weight. I took her to a vet all by myself, but the doctor told me that there was no hope, and that it would be better for me to leave her and move on. I could neither digest this news nor leave her behind.

IMG_0394During Munni’s struggle, I never lost hope. I kept feeding her milk and trying to save her. It was sad to see a loved one in distress. Finally, Munni passed away on Dec. 20, 1998.

It’s been more then a decade, but I could never gather the courage to have another pet. But every time I see a cute little brown kitten, or even just people spending time with their pets, I see my Munni there and remember the wonderful times we shared for that short time.

On a happier note: thanks to Munni, my parents became open to having pets! My family’s house in India has become a shelter for about 6 to 7 abandoned cats at any time. (See photo.) Every time I go back to visit, it is a delight to see these cats compete for me to give them the first piece of fish.

We’d love to hear your pet adoption experiences, too. Share them in the Comments section, on Facebook and Twitter (#GiveTogether #Animals).

While waiting for tomorrow’s story, check out our previous posts about this month’s Give Together projects for Animals: Reading With Rover’s therapy dogs, the Snow Leopard Trust’s big cats, and the Woodland Park Zoo’s baby giraffe. For just $10/month, you can join a growing community making a big difference — and will receive an impact report within weeks, showing our collective giving at work. Every little bit counts, and helps.

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

Adopting a pet from a shelter is a wonderful philanthropic act, but it works both ways: most dogs choose their owners, too, don’t they? (It’s nice that some of them humor us into believing we’re the deciders, though!)

Today’s pet adoption story comes from Mari Hirabayashi, Jolkona’s events co-director and the author of our introduction letter for this month’s Give Together campaign for animals.

Mari writes: Mari_Tahi

My husband Simon and I had been toying with the idea of adopting a dog for months. We would look at pictures online, research what kind of dog we wanted, the characteristics of various dogs — and then end the conversation. Our friends encouraged us to go to the Humane Society and only look, just look, not adopt. Yes, we thought! Agreed! It will be easy to just “look” and not bring home a dog.

On the day before Halloween, Simon and I sat in the parking lot of the Seattle Humane Society and made an agreement that we would only look. I had never been to the Humane Society before and was impressed by the number of volunteers: all ages and ethnicities, united purely by their love of animals. Every volunteer treated us as though we had committed to adopting an animal. “Oh no, we’re just looking,” we kept telling them. We filled out the paperwork and received a lot of advice about taking a new dog home. Next, we began looking at all of the dogs in their pens. It is just heartbreaking. So many pit bulls and older dogs that have an air of loneliness surrounding them. My heart began to ache over and over again.

I peeked into a pen and saw a small, black puppy sleeping on a mat. The name on his listing was “Walter.” After I made a round looking at the rest of the dogs, I came back to Walter and this time, he was standing up at the window. With his front paws on the glass, he looked and looked at me, without blinking for what seemed like years. It was as if I knew him, as if he knew me. I quickly ran to get a volunteer so we could meet Walter.

At the “Getting to Know You” area, we played and played with the puppy. He is part Labrador and Dachshund with a huge personality! We learned that Walter was actually named Patrick and just hours before, his brother (Walter) was adopted. Walter, Patrick and their sister Sarah were all left in a bag on the side of the road in Graham. This story made me feel even more compelled to adopt him. My husband, staying true to our agreement, wasn’t sure if we should take him home. (At this point, our story changes. My husband says I “insisted” that we bring him home. I remember this situation very differently: Simon, my husband played and played with Patrick. They were in love with each other!) In the end, we brought this tiny 7-pound puppy home and he became our first little one.

Patrick was quickly renamed Tahi, which means One in Maori, a nod to my husband’s New Zealand ancestry. When adopting Tahi from the Humane Society the total cost was about $250. This fee included the adoption with all of Tahi’s shots, the first vet visit free, a leash, collar and 6 weeks of puppy class, which I renamed puppy circus. The classes were more for the owners than the dogs, but still good fun.

Tahi is now over 2 years old and still has a huge personality. We had a baby last year, so Tahi isn’t our only “one” anymore — but the two creatures adore each other and our family is full of playfulness and activity!


We’d love to hear your pet adoption experiences, too! Share them in the Comments section, on Facebook and Twitter (#GiveTogether #Animals).

While waiting for tomorrow’s story, check out our previous posts about this month’s Give Together projects for Animals: Reading With Rover’s therapy dogs, the Snow Leopard Trust’s big cats, and the Woodland Park Zoo’s baby giraffe. For just $10/month, you can join a growing community making a big difference — and will receive an impact report within weeks, showing our collective giving at work. Every little bit counts, and helps.

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

There’s just one week left to join our Give Together campaign for Animals, and Jolkona’s staff and volunteers hope to inspire you with our own personal tales (tails?) of pet adoption.

Kicking things off: Jessica Wicksnin, our web development intern: me and annie G and G's house

I found Annie, my 15-pound terrier mix, on in March 2011, after looking for a few weeks online and at local shelters. She had been abandoned at the Burien Fred Meyer. When I first met her at the shelter, she jumped nonstop for about 15 minutes. What an energetic dog! But she was so cute and so friendly there was no way I could leave her there. After a quick shopping trip at Petco, Annie came home with me the same night.

She is my first dog. I always wanted one, but wasn’t in a position to get one until a few years ago. She is now about 4 years old, but still acts like a puppy!

Annie and I go to the dog park, the farmers market, and Discovery Park. She still jumps a lot, loves to roll on worms in the yard, and has been known to steal peanut butter and jelly sandwiches from small children. Even though she can be mischievous, she is definitely one of the best parts of my life and has become a real part of the family. Where would we be without our rescue dogs?


We’d love to hear your pet adoption experiences, too! Share them in the Comments section, on Facebook and Twitter (#GiveTogether #Animals).

While waiting for tomorrow’s story, check out our previous posts about this month’s Give Together projects for Animals: Reading With Rover’s therapy dogs, the Snow Leopard Trust’s big cats, and the Woodland Park Zoo’s baby giraffe. For just $10/month, you can join a growing community making a big difference — and will receive an impact report within weeks, showing our collective giving at work. Every little bit counts, and helps.

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

There’s just 10 days left in our Animals theme for Jolkona’s Give Together campaign. Our growing community’s September donations are supporting the Snow Leopard Trust’s big cats, the Woodland Park Zoo’s baby animals and Reading With Rover’s therapy dogs. Have you joined yet?


Reading With Rover, based in the greater Seattle area, may seem like the underdog in terms of organization size and social media footprint — but don’t be fooled. Who can resist a good dog? (Who’s a good boy? Whozagooboy? You are! You are!)

In the organization’s own words, here’s why it’s worthwhile to help dogs help kids learn to read:

What’s your mission, and why? What inspires your organization?jaba_001s

Our mission is create a safe reading environment for children by volunteering with our Reading with Rover therapy dogs in schools, libraries, community centers and anywhere there is a need. What inspires us is the joy on a child’s face when he/she reads to the dogs. What inspires us is when we hear from a father: “I’ve never heard him read aloud before, we were not sure he could read!” We make a difference in our community and we get to see that difference in the smiles on the children’s faces and the letters we get from parents. Helping kids learn empathy, become better readers and show kindness to a dog is a gift not only from our dogs but from the human end of the leash as well.

If Jolkona’s Give Together members raise $175 for your organization, what’s our impact?

$175 helps a dog and handler become a registered team by supporting the training class. $75 sets up one low-income child with a beginning reading bag, reading books appropriate for their age and needed start up school supplies. $300 pays for a therapy dog team to get the training, testing and register to volunteer.

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

Reading is an essential skill that children need to be successful. 40% of all children by 4th grade are not reading at grade level and do not have appropriate reading material in their home. We not only want to help children be better readers, we want them to discover the JOY of reading by volunteering with these non-judgmental creatures, our dogs. We have been able to achieve that. We also help children who have physical challenges, and autistic children as well. We are all things kids and dogs, both making a difference in the world we live in. The world to a child is a better place when they can not only read, but love reading as well!

We took a school whose lowest attended day was Thursday, and that day is now the highest attended day — the only thing that changed is it’s Reading with Rover day at that school. When children know there will be a dog in their class room that day, they show up!

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

A thank you note from a parent –boyanddog

How can I say thank you enough for everything that Reading with Rover has done for our daughter. I have always known that animals can have remarkable effects on humans and your Reading with Rover program just proves it. Our daughter has NLD, a Nonverbal Learning disorder, which effects her in many ways. One being reading and another is nonverbal social cues. She is very smart and so sweet but she realizes she is different and making friends is very hard for her. She is self-conscious about reading out loud, but when she read to the Reading with Rover dogs it was amazing. She wanted to read to every one of them that very first night and ever since then we have made it to every Reading with Rover event and will continue to do so. Our daughter gets headaches every time she reads, so it makes it very hard to motivate her to read but not at Reading with Rover. She doesn’t feel judged and that is so wonderful for her. We have seen a big improvement in her fluency and she has even started to read a little to her own puppy now, which we hope to train to be a Reading with Rover dog in the future.

I would recommend this program to any parent whether their child loves to read or not, it is just a great experience all around. Every one of the dogs and their handlers is so wonderful with the kids. My husband and I are avid readers and we have been reading to her since she was a baby and when we couldn’t seem to break through that barrier to get her to enjoy reading by herself we felt helpless but we don’t feel that way anymore and it is all due to your Reading with Rover program! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping our daughter raise her self esteem and know the joys of reading.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

We appreciate the opportunity to partner with Jolkona and look forward to helping our local children and of course the dogs with your support.

See? Good dog. Here’s a cookie! Gooboygooboygooboy.

For more on good dogs, and perhaps a cat or two, stay tuned to the Jolkona Blog and our social media channels (see below) all next week — we’ll be sharing #PetAdoption stories from our team, and would love to hear yours, too!

This post is part of our Partner Spotlight series. When you join Give Together, you can allocate your September contribution to Reading With Rover or one of our other animal-related projects. Email your choice to, or tell us via Twitter: @Jolkona #GiveTogether #Animals.

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

It’s Jolkona’s 5th anniversary this fall: 5 years of inspiring and empowering a new generation of philanthropists, by connecting small donors with meaningful giving opportunities that make a big difference locally and globally.

1st Fundraiser

We’re celebrating with our Corks & Forks dinner/auction on Oct. 10, 2013 at Seattle’s Blue Ribbon Cooking & Culinary Center. Will you join us?

The evening will include gourmet cooking and cocktail lessons, fine dining and wine. We can’t wait to thank all our supporters so far, and make some new friends!

We’ve come a long way since Jolkona’s early years, when co-founders Adnan and Nadia Mahmud held small kitchen parties to help raise money for our partners and operations! Check out this archive photo and blog post for a little #ThrowbackThursday trip down memory lane:

Our 1st Ever Fundraiser!

We had a turn out of about 20 people and we were able to raise little over $1000 during the event!!! We are very encouraged by the turn out of mostly college students and young professionals and by the fact that we were able to raise $1000 from such a small crowd.

Bidding Our Time

The money raised at Corks & Forks helps cover Jolkona’s basic operations (rent, equipment, staff). In October 2012, the first time we held this dinner/auction, we raised $32,000 — and we’ve already sold more tickets for this year’s event!

Much of the ticket price goes to the event costs, so we are especially grateful to our generous sponsors: Inome, Outerwall, the Seattle International Foundation and others. Also, our auction donations look absolutely amazing — get your paddle arms ready!

A sneak preview:


  • Four Disneyland Resort 1-Day Park Hopper Tickets, valued at $548.

Passes are valid during normal operating hours and provide admission to a magical experience at both DisneylandPark and Disney California Adventure Park for one day. A magical experience for all ages!




  • Elephant Bath at the Woodland Park Zoo, valued at $1,000.

You and five guests get to step behind the scenes at the Woodland Park Zoo’s Elephant Barn and watch up close as one of the magnificent elephants receives her daily bath and check-up! 



  • Seattle Pop Art, valued at $130.

Stretched canvas print by Parinita Salian. This would make a stylish addition to your home or office, or a great holiday gift!

  • And many more!

Hope to see you there: Get your Corks & Forks tickets quickly, before we sell out!

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

Jolkona’s 2nd annual Corks & Forks dinner — also our 5-year celebration! — is coming up fast! Join us 6 to 10 p.m. on Oct. 10, 2013 at Seattle’s Blue Ribbon Cooking & Culinary Center for an evening of cooking and cocktail lessons, a delicious meal and auction excitement.

Corks & Forks 2013

We’ll be reviewing our progress in growing philanthropy through small donations locally and globally, and announcing some big plans for the next 5 years.

This is the perfect occasion to thank all our supporters so far, and make some new friends. It will be a night to remember, so please get your tickets quickly before we sell out!

Sponsors & Donors

We have a growing list of Corks & Forks sponsors and auction donations (Disneyland passes, anyone?) that we want to recognize over the next few weeks. Check back here regularly for more information.

Let’s kick things off with Outerwall, one of our main sponsors! Responses courtesy of Lily Osborne, Outerwall’s Community Relations Specialist.


What is your organization’s mission?

Outerwall’s mission is to create a better everyday. As the company behind Redbox® and Coinstar®, we’re pushing the walls of retail out of the way — building businesses that make life simpler and better for consumers and retailers.

How do you define “philanthropist?”

A philanthropist is any person who contributes their money, time or talent to benefit the community and contribute to a better future.

What does cooking together and sharing a meal mean to you?

Cooking and sharing a meal is tied to family and friends. It’s a time to slow down, reflect and appreciate abundance in our lives.

Why are you supporting Jolkona?

Jolkona’s use of technology brings donors and grantees closer together by reporting on impact. The organization is constantly innovating to come up with new creative ideas to entice more people to give.

Thank you, Outerwall!


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

While observing Ramadan last month, Asim Khan, 36, decided to contribute his zakat – Muslim charitable giving – to Jolkona’s Give Direct projects in Afghanistan and Bangladesh. Welcome to the Jolkona community, Asim, and tell us a little about yourself!


Occupation:  CEO, Event Blossom

Location: North Tustin, CA

Hobbies: Weight training, surfing, basketball

Volunteering: President of NAASER – charitable organization that gives relief to the needy in Bhopal, India; former president of the Islamic Center of Irvine.

Skills: Public speaking, persuasion, competitiveness, impersonating Keanu Reeves…

How did you hear about these Jolkona projects?

My brother went to UCLA with [Jolkona CEO] Nadia, and we have mutual friends. I have always thought it was fantastic that she and Adnan have dedicated so much of their lives to giving back to those that need it.  I try to do what I can in my capacity, and have always admired those that help others. The idea of being able to directly change people’s lives by way of micro-financing really caught my eye. I carefully pick organizations that I choose to contribute to, and am happy to be in a position to help… the little I can. In some parts of the world, even small donations from here can make a big impact.

What’s  your impression of Jolkona?

It is amazing to see how far Jolkona has come in such a short time. The level of professionalism, and the amount they are able to accomplish is a bounty to the many that they affect. I guess I fit one of their core values, they have inspired a young professional like me to become a better philanthropist and provided me with an avenue to do so.

How would you define “philanthropist?”

It’s embarrassing to me to be referred to as a philanthropist… but if I must answer, I’d say “someone that has more than he needs and gives to those that need it more than him.”  But it’s more than transactional. Giving is something more innate, more spiritual. A favorite quote of mine from Rumi that has become my personal mantra is, “When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.”

What other causes do you support?

Event Blossom was set up from the get-go to give a percentage of profits back to causes that are in need. In the past year, our charitable donations have ranged from Hurricane Sandy relief, to sponsoring orphans around the globe. One of our favorite projects in the past few years has been setting up a Banana Cultivation Project in Sri Lanka. The profits from this project provide regular income that directly supports a local orphanage which houses, educates, and creates opportunity for orphans.  Here are a few pics of the project breaking ground:

What would you say to encourage others to become philanthropists?

Not everyone is dealt the same hand when it comes to life. You may have earned it, or you may have been born with it, but I’m fairly certain a good amount of has attributed to any successes you have had. By giving back by donating, you are really doing the least you can do.  There isn’t really hard work involved with giving, the hard work is wrestling the money out of your hands.
But money isn’t everything. Happiness is. And there is no greater joy that you can get out of life than helping others.
Keep up with everything Jolkona by following us on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram.

The Woodland Park Zoo has joined Jolkona for this month’s Animal-themed Give Together campaign. The organization, a leader in educating the greater Seattle area and our visitors about wild animals and conservation, is raising money to help feed and care for its newest addition: a baby giraffe!

Tell us about your current project:

Woodland Park Zoo has been blessed with the births of some amazing animals. Our current baby boom started with four lion cubs in November. Then came the twin sloth bear cubs in December, followed by the triplet jaguar cubs in March, and our giraffe calf and six flamingo chicks this summer. All these animals are thriving at the zoo and inspiring people who see them to take conservation actions to protect their cousins in the wild.

Why should Give Together members support your project?

Zoos are responding to species decline and are leading the way in preserving animal populations. Wildlife and habitat conservation is the cornerstone to Woodland Park Zoo’s mission. Through the animals in our collection, we provide a window into the lives and habitats of the world’s wildlife, inspiring people from all walks of life to learn, care and act on their behalf. You can inspire conservation stewards and support animal ambassadors by contributing to this campaign.

How will donors see their impact?

Your gift supports state-of-the art veterinary care and feeding of the baby giraffe. We will share photos and videos of the calf and our other new animals as zookeepers and veterinarians work with them to ensure they receive the best care possible.

Tell us more about your organization:

Accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, the award-winning Woodland Park Zoo is famed for pioneering naturalistic exhibits and setting international standards for zoos in animal care, conservation and education programs. Woodland Park Zoo is helping to save animals and their habitats in the Pacific Northwest and around the world. By inspiring people to care and act, Woodland Park Zoo is making a difference in our planet’s future. For more information, visit

This is one post in our ongoing Partner Spotlight series. When you join Give Together, you can allocate your September contribution to the Woodland Park Zoo or one of our other animal-related projects. Email your choice to, or tell us via Twitter: @Jolkona #GiveTogether #Animals.

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

Where were we 5 years ago? Where will we be 5 years from now?

adnan nadia old

Is it fun to imagine, or scary, or both?

Even more scary fun:

Try writing a letter to yourself with your thoughts about where you may be in the future, then save it to open on that date… not that this activity ultimately traumatized my high school classmates at our 10-year reunion or anything 🙂

Way back in 2008, Jolkona co-founders Adnan and Nadia Mahmud were taking baby steps in their mission to inspire and empower the next generation of philanthropists, by connecting busy young professionals to small giving opportunities that make a big difference locally and globally.

(Now they’re taking baby steps as new parents!)

To continue the spirit of #ThrowbackThursday…

Check out these blog posts from Jolkona’s early years:

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We’ve come a long way, baby! And 5 years is the “wood” and “silverware” anniversary, apparently. So help us celebrate Jolkona’s milestone with our Corks & Forks dinner/auction on Oct. 10 at Seattle’s Blue Ribbon Cooking & Culinary Center. In addition to serving as our main fundraiser for operations, this occasion is our chance to thank all our supporters so far, and tell old and new friends about Jolkona’s exciting plans for the next 5 years.

We hope to see you there! 

Visit the Corks & Forks page for ticket and sponsorship information, and our Facebook event page to join the conversation. If you have any questions, please email or tweet it to us @Jolkona #CorksnForks.

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Our “Paint Together, #GiveTogether” arty party sold out last week! We had a great time decorating  cups, plates and bowls with old and new friends, and can’t wait to get the finished products next week from Material Good studio’s kiln.

Including newcomers who signed up through this event, our Give Together community is now up to 40 people raising more than $700 a month for innovative nonprofit programs here in Seattle and around the world. This subscription program is taking the guesswork out of giving for the next generation of philanthropists all year long, by introducing you to a featured cause and three vetted projects every month that need your support. A Give Together membership also makes a great gift for the holidays, birthdays, graduations or other milestones: perfect for the person who already has everything, or wants to learn more about philanthropy.

If you haven’t already joined, or are interested in learning more about this program, check out our Give Together page and related blog posts. If you have joined, don’t forget to let us know which project you support this month, either by email ( or Twitter (@Jolkona #GiveTogether). And since September’s featured cause is Animals, we’d love to hear your pet adoption stories, too — share those on our Facebook or Twitter feed!

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

It’s Animals month for Jolkona’s Give Together campaign, with three animal-friendly options for our growing community’s September donations. Our first partner spotlight is on the Snow Leopard Trust, which works to protect this endangered species through research and community outreach programs.

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What’s the story behind your project?

Snow leopards are one of the least well understood of the big cats. Truly protecting them will require a deeper understanding of their needs. What food do they prefer, and how much do they need to survive? What habitat features are needed to allow mothers to successfully raise their cubs? These questions can only be answered with strong science. Snow Leopard Trust is undertaking the most in-depth scientific study to answer these questions. By carefully fitting a few snow leopards with GPS tracking collars, researchers are learning new information each year. For instance, a cat names Ariun recently expanded the largest area we thought possible for a cat to regularly monitor. And after a female named Agnes recently gave birth, we were able to witness a visit to the den site by the suspected father – an event never expected or previously recorded.

While more information is needed to protect these cats, it is not enough. The cats’ large ranges mean that they regularly interact with communities that share their mountain home. This often leads to conflict, as impoverished herding families often are driven to hunt snow leopards who threaten their livestock. The Trust works to protect snow leopards by working directly with communities. In some communities, the Trust helps women produce and sell handicrafts that can help them weather losses to their livestock. In exchange, they commit to protecting the cats.  In other communities, the Trust has helped establish insurance programs so that herders can insure their livelihoods.

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What kind of lasting change can this project have?

Solid scientific understanding will support stronger conservation of snow leopards and other high mountain carnivores throughout central asia. And the education and community programs are increasing the acceptance of snow leopards in the herding communities. In short, the Trust is working to save a species. Our hope is that the cats will recover their populations, and remain in their mountainous home for our children to appreciate.

We love stories at Jolkona. Do you have a favorite impact story you can share?

Right now, we are tracking a new mother named Agnes. Her new cub was just born in the summer. But Agnes is not a first-time mother. A previous cub, Dagina, is also wearing a GPS collar. Dagina and her cub live not far from Agnes. The fact that generations of snow leopards are helping researchers understand snow leopard activities and reproduction makes me hopeful that we’ll be able to learn enough to save this fragile species.

Another story I love is about Shonkhor, a snow leopard who ate a number of sheep and goats, then guarded his meals avidly. Instead of harming him, the herder sought the help of Trust staff. Together, they were able to get Shonkhor to leave the herder’s land, and help get the herder into a livestock insurance program. The story shows the ability of people to take a situation of conflict, and find a resolution that respects both animals and people.

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

Someone should give to this project if they care about wildlife and people too. This project is a wonderful mix of wildlife conservation and community development. Beautiful animals benefit, and so do people struggling to live alongside them.

This is one post in our ongoing Partner Spotlight series. When you sign up to join Give Together, you  can choose to allocate your September contribution to the Snow Leopard Trust or one of our other animal-related projects.

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

The United Nations has designated Sept. 5 as the first-ever International Day of Charity. Set on the anniversary of Mother Teresa’s death, the goal of this annual observance is to spread the spirit of giving around the world, and educate communities about philanthropy and benevolent action. It’s the day for governments, NGOs, and individual philanthropists to actively engage in charity and to encourage others to do the same.

Sound familiar? Since our humble beginnings in 2008, Jolkona has done just that. By emphasizing that anyone can be a philanthropist, we have turned grassroots giving into a global impact. Check out the map above to see just what we’ve accomplished!

What can you do to commemorate International Day of Charity?

Support a Cause

This year’s International Day of Charity is focusing on access to clean water and sanitation. The U.N. will hold a panel at 12 p.m. PST (3 p.m. EST) to talk about what philanthropy can do to make a difference. To learn more, watch the live feed, or check out Jolkona’s related projects: Give as little as $5 to MADRE to install clean water collection points and tanks in communities and schools in rural Kenya.

Spread the Word

Use social media to follow and participate in this observance. On Facebook, visit the International Day of Charity page. On Twitter, follow @IntDayOfCharity, use #charityday in your tweets, or support the #charitydayun event by tweeting about the panel on clean water accessibility.

We’d also love to hear about your causes and your charitable activity online through Jolkona’s social media channels. Social media has had a huge impact on the way people give, enabling philanthropic organizations to be more innovative and creative with funding projects than ever before.

Make Philanthropy Communal

At Jolkona, we believe that small, high-impact donations — pooled together — are integral for spreading the awareness and accessibility of giving, especially among the newest generations of philanthropists. To make an even bigger impact, join our Give Together program to combine small monthly donations with your peers.

Together, we can make sure the first International Day of Charity is a success. Combine supporting a cause, spreading the word, and communal giving, and you can not only make a difference for someone else, but also amplify your impact by spreading the spirit of charity throughout your community. It’s a great opportunity to find new causes to support on, through our Give Direct or Give Together programs, and sharing your impact.

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

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