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Last week, dozens of women in Saudi Arabia got behind the wheel. Driving while female may seem trivial or mundane to us, but this is a major act of courage for Saudi women. While driving is technically not illegal for women in Saudi Arabia, they are banned from obtaining driver’s licenses, along with countless other acts of independence. Yet over 60 women (most equipped with international driver’s licenses and experience) coordinated a “drive-in” and posted videos of their activity online, continuing a small but persistent movement for improving women’s rights.

The Associated Press reports that the first time a Saudi female driving protest took place, in 1990, 50 women were arrested, had their passports confiscated and lost their jobs. But not a single woman was arrested on Wednesday. Activist and professor Aziza Youssef explained that they plan to continue driving and posting photos and videos, which they hope will normalize the notion of women driving. Check out some of their videos on The Guardian’s website.

Youssef and the other female Saudi drivers are an inspiration for women empowerment efforts everywhere, including partners and participants in Jolkona’s Women and Girls Give Together campaign. We believe that when given the right economic support and educational tools to rise out of poverty and oppression, women can make an incredible impact on the world.

If you want to make an impact of your own for women and girls, there’s only a few days left in this month’s Give Together campaign, with collective funds going to support Jubilee Women’s Center, MADRE, and the Bo M. Karlsson Foundation. We have $1,500 in matching funds from the Seattle International Foundation, which will double these Give Together donations and amplify October gifts to our Give Direct projects that also support women and girls.

Time is running out: help empower a woman or girl today!

Photo by MARWAN NAAMANI/AFP/Getty Images

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photo 2Possibly the coolest thing I own is this desk globe I found in my grandmother’s apartment in Cyprus last summer. At first glance, it looks like any small globe — just a bit dented and dirty, and the “Made in England” logo on the stem prompts the same chuckle we get from our son playing with his dad’s 1970s-era “Made in Hong Kong” matchbox cars.

The fun part comes from looking closely at the continents — especially Africa and Asia — and marveling at how much the world has changed in less than 75 years. For the most part, it’s like a desk toy based on this week’s Project Syndicate (via Slate) article, “Of Course The World Is Better Now Than It Was In 1900.”

But even more fun: trying to nail down when on earth this spinning map could have been made?

Some of its countries that no longer exist:

  • Abyssinia
  • Anglo Egyptian Sudan
  • Ashanti
  • Bechuanaland Protectorate
  • Belgian Congo
  • Borneo
  • British Guiana
  • British Somaliland
  • Chinese Republicphoto 1
  • Dutch Guiana
  • Formosa
  • French Equatorial Africa
  • French Indochina
  • French West Africa
  • Italian Somaliland
  • Manchukuo
  • Northern Rhodesia
  • Sarawak
  • Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
  • Yugoslavia

Other clues: There’s no Israel, Jordan, Lebanon or United Arab Emirates. Tibet is bigger than Germany. Bangladesh is Pakistan. Korea is united. Germany has a line snaking down its middle, yet is not labeled into East or West versions…

So what year was this globe made? Make your guess in the Comments section below! (Or, fellow Children of the ’80s, just insert your best Carmen Sandiego joke here.)

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Today is United Nations Day, celebrating the ratification of the U.N. Charter on Oct. 24, 1945. For the past 68 years, the U.N. has been a driving force in global humanitarian efforts. More recently, the body’s eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have become an essential metric for member countries and nonprofits to measure their impact and track their progress in working to alleviate the world’s greatest problems.

The MDGs aim to:

  • Eradicate extreme hunger and poverty
  • Achieve universal primary education
  • Promote gender equality and empower women
  • Reduce child mortality
  • Improve maternal health
  • Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases
  • Ensure environmental sustainability
  • Develop a global partnership for development

Many organizations, and many regular donors just like you, are committed to making progress on the MDGs. Browse the Jolkona Blog archive to learn more about the work that we’re doing with our partners to support these goals, including these posts:

Taking Collective Action

In his official statement for United Nations Day 2013, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon stresses the importance of planning for what happens after the 2015 deadline for the Millennium Development Goals:

This year again, we saw the United Nations come together on armed conflict, human rights, the environment and many other issues. We continue to show what collective action can do. We can do even more. In a world that is more connected, we must be more united.

Collective action is also central to Jolkona’s mission, and is the essence of the Give Together monthly philanthropy program we launched earlier this year. When you join Give Together during October, your donation supports three projects working to help women and girls locally and globally, promoting gender equality (as per one of the MDGs). We also have matching funds this month from the Seattle International Foundation for projects related to women and girls, enabling us to double the first $1,500 donated to those Give Together and Give Direct projects until Nov. 1.

Which one inspires you to give? 

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fashion show sari

Jolkona’s Night of Fashion & Giving 2012

Love philanthropy? How about colorful clothes? Bollywood and salsa dance numbers?  If you’re in the Seattle – Eastside area on Oct. 28, here’s an event for you:

Back by popular demand, the Jolkona + Microsoft Giving Campaign fashion show raises awareness and funds for Jolkona’s mission to inspire and empower a new generation of philanthropists locally and globally. Join us for a fun evening of fashion, dance, refreshments, good company and a great cause!
What: Giving In Style
When: Monday, Oct. 28, 2013, 6:30 pm
Where: Microsoft Building 34, 3720 159th Ave. NE, Redmond, WA 98052
Why: Food, wine, music, fashion and dance. Did we mention it supports a great cause, too?
Tickets: $25 admission includes two drink tickets and hors d’oeuvres – http://bit.ly/17OuKV1

Visit the Facebook event page to view photos from last year’s fashion show and see who else is going!

On a related note, there’s just over a week left to contribute to one of our partner projects for Women & Girls and have your gift matched! Join our Give Together pool (starting at $10/month), or make a one-time donation (starting at $5) to a Give Direct project. 

Editor’s Note: Seattle is definitely known for philanthropy… but fashion? Hey, we are home of the flagship Nordstrom! And a Zara store is opening here soon, just around the corner from the Jolkona office. (Dangerous, at least for me.)

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Jolkona Staff - 2010

Jolkona’s Fearless Females – 2010

In Jolkona’s first five years, we’ve collected more than $700,000 for nonprofit partners locally and globally. More than $40,000 has come just through Give2Girls, a campaign we run every March to specifically support causes for women and girls. And we’ve raised more than $1,200 so far this month through our Give Together featured cause of Women & Girls, supporting projects in Seattle, Nepal and Sudan.

Our work for women and girls is much bigger than the occasional fundraising theme, however. One way or another, most of our partners empower women and girls. Some literally save lives; others strive to make those lives worth living. As Jolkona blogger Madison Abshire noted at the beginning of this month: “The world’s women and girls are one of the greatest sources of untapped potential for providing lasting global change… Improving women’s lives has a positive impact on society; on average, 90 percent of each dollar invested in a woman is returned to her family and community.”

We’ve had dozens of interesting posts here on the Jolkona Blog about how donors and volunteers can make a big difference for the world’s women and girls. Three blasts from the past:

Double Your Dollars

This month, we have matching funds from the Seattle International Foundation to amplify donations to Jolkona partner projects related to women and girls. This offer will double the first $1,500 given to our Give Together and Give Direct projects for women/girls. Which one inspires you to give? 

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Is it impossible to strive for sustainable ecosystems and feed the world’s 7 billion people at the same time? Are these two goals completely at odds? Not according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.

Today is the U.N.’s World Food Day 2013: Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition. The FAO uses this observance to raise awareness about global hunger, encourage cooperation between developing nations to work on finding solutions, and promote technology to increase agricultural production.

This year, World Food Day’s focus is to raise awareness about the root causes of global hunger and brainstorm sustainable solutions. Issues like biodiversity and environmental sustainability, malnutrition and hunger are pieces of a larger picture.

 Every aspect of the food system has an effect on the final availability and accessibility of diverse, nutritious foods – and therefore on consumers’ ability to choose healthy diets. What is more, policies and interventions on food systems are rarely designed with nutrition as their primary objective.

Jolkona’s partners are finding innovative ways to improve agricultural sustainability and reduce hunger, by working to improve food systems as a whole. In honor of World Food Day, consider making a donation to one of our Give Direct projects related to Agriculture and Food. Two examples:

Give Fresh Produce to Children in Mexico

How can you provide an orphan in Mexico with a nutritious and balanced diet, and support local farmers at the same time? Every $40 donated to Friends of the Orphans will supply five children with fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables for a whole month. In addition to improving nutrition for these vulnerable children, the program buys the produce locally, supporting Mexican farmers and agricultural communities.

Fund Biochar Producing Clean Cook-Stoves for Indigenous Cacao Farmers in Costa Rica

Indigenous farmers in Costa Rica face challenges like deforestation, poor agricultural productivity and unhealthy cooking practices. SeaChar works to solve these related problems by teaching communities to build, use, and sell biochar-producing stoves. These cooking stoves produce charcoal out of renewable agricultural products like coconut shells, and can also be used to supplement nutrients in the soil. A donation of $10 buys 10 kilograms of biochar for a community project; $40 can sponsor one person for a 2-day training workshop on using the stove. With your help, SeaChar can help indigenous farmers improve their environment, their food production, and even earn extra income through the production of biochar.

By making small donation through Jolkona’s Give Direct or Give Together programs, you can make a big difference for the world’s most vulnerable people and their communities. Give today!

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Screen Shot 2013-10-15 at 9.24.58 AMToday is International Day of the Rural Woman, a United Nations observance of the crucial role women play in the economic development and eradication of poverty in agricultural and remote parts of the world. In developing countries, women farmers produce much of the food for their communities, while caring for the young, elderly and sick, along with their own multiple pregnancies and childbirths. With all these responsibilities and their geographic isolation, these women have little opportunity for educational and professional advancement.

With your help, however, more rural women can be empowered to reduce severe poverty and increase food security in their communities. Jolkona has $1,500 in matching funds from the Seattle International Foundation for projects related to women and girls this month. Some of this will double the October donations from our Give Together members; the rest can be used to amplify gift to our Give Direct projects related to women. Starting at just $5, you can contribute to our nonprofit partners working to provide agricultural training, environmental sustainability and maternal health for women in rural communities.

Two ways to support rural women through Jolkona today:

Train Women in Bio-Intensive Farming in Kenya

Women in Kenya do 80% of the farm work, but only receive 5% of the input, and own 1% of the land. The Feed Villages program from Common Ground/Village Volunteers educates rural communities in Kenya in bio-intensive farming techniques and sustainability strategies.

For every $64 raised, the program can train two Kenyan women in bio-intensive farming techniques, such as seed saving, which improves agricultural output, increases bio-diversity, and tree coverage. With this training, women farmers can improve their harvest and invest their profits in their communities.

Provide Healthcare for Nepalese Women

himalayan healthcare

When rural women don’t have access to effective healthcare, they often sacrifice their education and work because of unplanned pregnancies, and their children are more likely to suffer from malnutrition and preventable disease. Himalayan Healthcare provides healthcare to Nepalese women from contraception to postpartum care.

A donation of just $25 can fund a month of contraception or a prenatal exam for one woman, ensuring that she can remain healthy and help her community thrive.

By making a contribution through Jolkona’s Give Direct or Give Together programs, you can empower specific women around the world today. In return, she will help eradicate poverty in her family and community — and drop by drop, our collective impact can make an ocean of change!

Find out more about Day of the Rural Woman through the U.N. Women Commission, and spread the word with #ruralwomen on Twitter.

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Jolkona is back from Seattle GiveCamp 2013 with new friends and skills!

GiveCamp is a weekend-long event in which software developers, designers and database administrators donate their time to create custom software for nonprofit organizations. Jolkona was among 21 nonprofits chosen for the Seattle program this year, benefiting from the expertise of 156 tech and 20 support volunteers.

We started Friday night at the Microsoft Commons Building with a rapid-fire pitch session. I talked about Jolkona’s philanthropy crowdfunding work and asked for help with our SEO (search engine optimization). It was interesting to hear from other Seattle-based nonprofits that I have not met before, including Seavuria and Fabric of Life. Future partnership opportunities! Also, I was surprised to hear that almost everyone needed WordPress help for their site.

Give Camp fast pitch

GiveCamp Teams: Assemble!

When we finished the pitch round, each nonprofit got a table to set up shop. Since the volunteers have to pick you, we were definitely nervous to see if anyone would be willing to join us…

Luckily, within a few minutes, many folks stopped by! They loved the meaning of Jolkona — that small donations are like drops of water, which together can make an ocean of change. There were also SEO experts who were intrigued by some of the bad results we have been getting on Google and Bing. We had so much help, in fact, we were able to expand our scope for the weekend to include WordPress features and cleanups, too!

Jolkona’s GiveCamp Team

Paul Borza, data mining software developer at Bing
Eric Amundson, owner of Ivycat.com, a WordPress development + hosting shop
David Witus, entrepreneur and former Microsoftie
Osmond Gunarso, CS student at UW and work at startup Azuqua
Grant Landram, WordPress workshop host and organizer for WordCamp

Carl Larson and Richard Geasey also gave an awesome workshop on SEO and Google Grants. I will be attending their SEO Network meetups in the future!

Give Camp team

What Can A GiveCamp Team Accomplish In 48 hours?

Apparently, quite a lot!

SEO

  • Bing: Bug reported — incorrect links are getting picked up and HTML tags are showing in description snippet
  • Google Analytics: Now tracking how visitors are navigating Jolkona.org, as well as main actions such as people signing up for our Give Together program
  • SEO indexing: Robots.txt updated so old archives and sandbox sites are hidden
  • Google Grant: Need to wait up to 3 months for approval
  • SEO on WordPress: Plugin installed and properly configured to our custom site
  • Webmaster: Google and Bing have the sites verified

WordPress Housecleaning

  • Plugins are updated, old plugins removed
  • Clean architecture: dupe files eliminated; bad redirects cleaned up
  • Permalinks: Set up clean architecture to allow permalinks, which will allow us to preview our custom pages before we publish them
  • Security: Permissions are correctly set now between nontechnical staff and technical (this way a simple text update will not break our entire site!)
  • Custom post type cleanup (10 down to 5) and other code cleanup from legacy of inconsistent coding expertise

About Page

Custom post created for Jolkona’s About Us page, so non-technical staff can update our leadership team, volunteers and interns as we move our organization towards our vision for the next 5 years! This feature is quite complex, so the Ivycat volunteers will finish that up this week.

Facebook Integration to Blog

We get lots of likes, shares and comments on Facebook about our Jolkona Blog posts… but very little engagement on the blog itself. So we got that integration build up so that Facebook engagement will show up on the blog posts, too. Also, Facebook will now be picking up the correct images when sharing!

Give Camp Jolkona

Overall, this was a fantastic and productive weekend! In just 48 hours, we’ve moved so far ahead on so many projects for our site, and we are humbled and grateful to have had such an experienced team to help us! Thank you to the GiveCamp volunteers for helping us out all weekend, and thank you to our own James Bertram and Jessica Wicksnin for making the trip to the Eastside and supporting the team throughout the weekend.

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Anne FrankI had a poster of Anne Frank on my bedroom wall when I was growing up. On my 16th birthday, I looked up at her, sadly and somewhat apologetically, thinking about how I would now always be older than her — and about all the other innocent girls around the world struck down for reasons beyond their control and my comprehension.

Malala Yousafzai

Today is International Day of the Girl Child, and for me, it feels like we’ve gotten a second chance with Malala Yousafzai. The Pakistani teenager, who miraculously survived being shot in the head by the Taliban over her fight for the right to girls’ education, turned 16 this summer. She’s been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and has been making the rounds to promote the Malala Fund and her new book.

I took notes as I watched the livestream of her appearance, with her father Ziauddin Yousafzai, at Mashable’s Social Good Summit last month. Some notable quotes:

Malala:

I want education for every child.

We shall not wait for someone else. We shall not wait for the governments to do it. We shall do it by ourselves. It is our duty.

My dream is to see every girl be educated, in every country.

A Talib chooses guns to solve a problem. We choose our voice… a peaceful way to solve problems.

I believe that today it would seem like a dream that we are saying tomorrow there will be equality. It seems a dream now — but in future, it will be reality.

Ziauddin Yousafzai:

In most parts of the world, when a girl is born, right from the very beginning, her wings are clipped. She’s not let to fly. The only thing I did: I tried to make her free, to make her free and independent. I dreamed for her. All that is good. Now it’s up to her what she chooses for herself.

A few days ago, she also had a charming visit with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show. (Sorry, the embedded video is not working, so just use the link for now. –NNG)

Jon Stewart should have had her on for the whole show, or at least two segments — the government shutdown news mockery will be good for a while (sigh) — but TDS did add two extended interview clips to the website:

Each of us can do something more to support girls and women, whether in desperate situations like Malala’s Swat Valley or in our own neighborhoods. This month, donations through our Give Together program will help fund three nonprofits working with women and girls in Nepal, Sudan and here in Seattle. The pool we raise this month will be matched by Seattle International Foundation funds, so there’s twice as much reason to give — starting at just $10. Join Jolkona’s Give Together for Women & Girls in October, and make a big difference for women in Africa, Asia and the United States.

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Our final Partner Spotlight for October’s Give Together for Women and Girls campaign is the Bo M. Karlsson Foundation. This organization changes the lives of young women in Nepal by giving them the means to pursue higher education, either at colleges or trade schools. We asked them some questions so you can get to know them.

Remember, we have $1,500 in matching funds from the Seattle International Foundation for October’s Give Together campaign for Women & Girls. Join Give Together and your donation will be doubled this month!

LorrieSunitaMarilynWhat’s your mission? Why? What inspires your organization?

The Bo M. Karlsson Foundation empowers underprivileged young women in Nepal by providing access to higher education. We believe that by helping one woman at time we can make a meaningful difference for that individual and the world – that the rippling effect is monumental. Our goal is to empower young women through higher education, to help them become confident, self-reliant, productive citizens in their country.

In Nepal, young women face numerous obstacles to education, including extreme poverty and cultural stigmas related to gender, class or caste, and, in many cases, disability. Most families don’t have the money or motivation to send girls to school, and a majority of young women are married by age 15. Less than 3% of Nepali women go on to college, so every scholarship we give makes a difference.

We have tremendous respect for our scholarship recipients. Most are from very poor, often very remote villages. Some are from regions that suffer from human trafficking, others have overcome disabilities to pursue their education. Their powerful personal stories, professional goals, courage, and perseverance continually amaze and inspire us.

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

Over the past decade, the Foundation has awarded $100,000 in scholarships to 39 young women in Nepal. This year, we broke our record — and awarded 21 scholarships. But we need your support in order to renew these scholarships for next year. Our Give Together goal is to raise the equivalent of at least one student’s room and board fees for a year.

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

$250 will provide room and board for one BMKF scholar for a whole school year! Compare that to the cost of room and board for a U.S. college student — which is closer to $2,500 per quarter at a Washington State college.

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

This $250 will make a life-changing difference for a courageous young woman in Nepal, who would not otherwise be able to afford the cost of living while earning a degree at a college or university in a community that is far from her home village.

Ganga at Janakpur, NEpalWe love impact reports at Jolkona, do you have a favorite story about how your organization changed someone’s life?

All of our scholarship recipients are passionate advocates for promoting women’s education and women’s rights in their country, and most plan to pursue work that will allow them to give back and support the communities they come from.

At age 28, Lali Kumari is unmarried and single-handedly runs a health care outpost in a remote village where she serves as a midwife and health care provider to people who walk for hours to receive her care. Lali learned to take care of wounds as a 14-year-old nurse in the Maoist army. Last spring, she approached some filmmakers from Seattle and asked if they knew of any scholarships for women. With her BMKF scholarship, Lali is pursuing a four-year nursing degree. She believes that with advanced skills she will be able to save more lives in her remote community.

Ganga Tamang was abducted as a child and trafficked in India for years before being rescued. She started school late and graduated from high school at age 23. Ganga is studying to be a social worker and she works as an activist, helping other women and girls who have survived human trafficking experiences.

Sunita Dangi was severely burned as a toddler and grew up disabled. She is pursuing sociology and rural development studies, and she volunteers for a rehabilitation program that helps people with disabilities. Her goal is to show other disadvantaged and disabled girls that it is possible to be successful, self-reliant, and pursue their dreams.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Thank you for helping empower women in Nepal! Please visit our website or Facebook page to learn more.

This is one post in our ongoing Partner Spotlight series. When you join Give Together, you can allocate your October contribution to the Bo M. Karlsson Foundation, or one of our other Women and Girls projects. Email your choice to givetogether@jolkona.org, or tell us via Twitter: @Jolkona #GiveTogether.

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Our second Partner Spotlight for October’s Give Together for Women and Girls is MADRE, an organization that works with local, regional and international women’s groups to address issues like human rights, education, and economic development. We asked them some questions to help you get to know them.

Remember, we have $1,500 in matching funds from the Seattle International Foundation for October’s Give Together campaign for Women & Girls. Join Give Together and your donation will be doubled this month!

What’s your mission? What inspires your organization?

MADRE works to advance women’s human rights by meeting urgent needs in communities and building lasting solutions to the crises women face. We work towards a world in which all people enjoy the fullest range of individual and collective human rights, in which resources are shared equitably and sustainably, in which women participate effectively in all aspects of society, and in which people have a meaningful say in policies that affect their lives. MADRE’s vision is enacted with an understanding of the inter-relationships between the various issues we address and by a commitment to working in partnership with women at the local, regional and international levels who share our goals.

MADRE photoWhat’s your project for this month’s Give Together campaign?

We are supporting women farmers in eastern Sudan by helping provide the seeds, tools, and training they need to feed their families and generate income for their communities.

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

If Jolkona members raise $250, we’ll be able to cover all expenses for two women to attend two days of training, where they will learn new skills and techniques for a successful harvest. They will be able to share what they learn with other women when they returns home to their villages. In addition, we can buy 50 lbs. of seeds, enough for 10 women to sow sorghum, sesame and millet for one season.

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

When you give to MADRE, you can be sure you’re making a concrete difference in the life of a woman who is struggling to build a better future for herself and her family. By supporting women farmers in Sudan, you’ll help provide them with the seeds, tools and trainings they need to feed and support their families for the long haul.

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

Since Zeina’s participation in the Women Farmers Union, she’s been able to grow the food her family needs to survive. Income generated from surplus crops allowed Zeina to send her daughter to school. Her daughter is now attending a nearby university. She is the first person in Zeina’s family to go to college.

This is one post in our ongoing Partner Spotlight series. When you join Give Together, you can allocate your October contribution to MADRE, or one of our other Women and Girls projects. Email your choice to givetogether@jolkona.org, or tell us via Twitter: @Jolkona #GiveTogether #WomenandGirls

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

This month, our Give Together projects focus on supporting and empowering women and girls. Our first partner, the Jubilee Women’s Center, provides essential services like affordable housing and job training to homeless women in the Seattle area, to help them transition out of poverty. Follow them on Twitter: @JubileeSeattle.

We have up to $1,500 in matching funds from the Seattle International Foundation for October’s Give Together campaign for Women & Girls. So join Give Together and your gift will be doubled this month!

Jubilee photo2What’s your mission? What inspires your organization?

Jubilee Women’s Center’s mission is to support women experiencing poverty to build stable and fulfilling futures, one extraordinary woman at a time. We are inspired by the women we serve who, although they have been through terrible circumstances, are all – we believe – extraordinary. Jubilee works to help them overcome their circumstances and build resiliency for a healthier, more secure life ahead.

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

Recently, Jubilee has expanded the capabilities of our Learning & Opportunity Center so we can now serve women in the community in addition to our residents here. We can now offer computer and life skills classes for up to 22 women at a time! Classes range from Introduction to Computers to Conflict Resolution to Resume Writing. All of these skills can give women the skills they need to have a more secure future.

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

If Give Together members can raise $250, Jubilee can offer a four-class series to 12 women on career exploration, resume writing, job interview skills and job searching. With these skills, women can begin to work toward a career that will pay them a living wage and insure their independence.

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

Jubilee relies on the support of our community to help women transform their lives. Led by the guiding principle that all women are to be treated with respect and dignity, Jubilee’s holistic programs, housing and support services help women make permanent life changes. We do this by providing safe, affordable and supportive community housing and educational resources to empower each woman to become financially independently, regardless of her circumstances.

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

There are so many stories of how Jubilee has changed women’s lives! The first one that comes to mind is a resident who drained her savings and retirement fund when she was treated for breast cancer. When it came back, she found herself homeless. She found Jubilee as she was losing her apartment, and had time and space to go through treatment and get healthy. She took advantage of the many resources at Jubilee and is in college, working to earn a degree in accounting. There are so many stories like this!

This is one post in our ongoing Partner Spotlight series. When you join Give Together, you can allocate your October contribution to the Jubilee Women’s Center, or one of our other Women and Girls projects. Email your choice to givetogether@jolkona.org, or tell us via Twitter: @Jolkona #GiveTogether #WomenEmpowerment

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Adnan has a piece in The Huffington Post today about what Jolkona and other nonprofits can learn from the ongoing U.S. government shutdown — check it out!

An excerpt:

Aleena passport photo

“The Chronicle of Philanthropy is keeping a running log of how the shutdown is impacting nonprofits; we can expect that list to multiply every day. The silver lining is that this conflict provides an opportunity for us to take stock of our work and make sure we focus on what’s important.”

“And even when the current shutdown ends, I’m afraid we will see more of these types of disruptions in the future. I’m a big fan of staying focused on Plan A and not getting distracted along the way; it’s an essential key to success for nonprofits and startups. However, when things happen beyond our control — like the government shutting down — it’s good to have a Plan B. We owe it to all those who receive our services.”

And some bonus commentary for the Jolkona Blog:

“With the shutdown in full swing, I find it really interesting how the government prioritizes what things to keep open and what to close down. It is quite intriguing that they shut down clinical research and cancer treatment trials, yet keep passport offices open. In our case, we got really lucky the Seattle Passport Agency stayed open because we needed to get Aleena a passport for her first international trip this month! We also know that we will be traveling fine next week because the TSA is still working. But, Nadia and I are sad that babies like Aleena who need urgent medical care are being turned away because of the shutdown…”

How is the government shutdown impacting you, personally or professionally? Share your thoughts in the Comments section, or through Jolkona’s Facebook or Twitter feeds.

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Seattle may be best known for its contributions to the music, tech, fishing and coffee industries, but did you know it’s also a major hub for global philanthropy? The region is home to more than 300 organizations — including Jolkona and about a third of our nonprofit partners, plus powerhouses like the Gates Foundation and World Vision  — working to improve lives in the world’s 144 developing countries. I think we need a brand, like Silicon Valley. How about Compassion Corner?

Screen Shot 2013-10-03 at 2.09.52 PMAimed at raising awareness of our amazing global development sector, Jolkona partner Seattle International Foundation and the Office of the Mayor launched the Seattle Ambassador program earlier this year, inviting citizens to apply to be the city’s representative on tours of poverty-alleviation projects abroad. The inaugural ambassador is Jozlyn Pelk, 21, a University of Washington – Bothell senior who is currently making her first trip outside the United States, visiting Guatemala and Nicaragua. She’ll be back next week, making her first public remarks about her trip at Jolkona’s Corks & Forks celebration on Oct. 10, then a featured appearance at the Seattle Ambassador Fall Bash on Oct. 17.

Jozlyn is blogging and tweeting (hashtag #206global) while in Central America. Here’s some observations from her blog posts so far:

Oct. 1, 2013:

I spent hours with the group of 20 scholarship students; who knew drawing and balloon exercises could teach us so much about community.  It struck me to hear the children speak about their desire to help out at home, what their communities’ need, and their dreams to become teachers, firefighters, and singers. The children are so young yet they know what community is and how to contribute. This was striking to me.

I see where their passion comes from. At the end of our visit at Casa Blanca, we met with the school’s committee of mothers of these students. I have never encountered such genuine and endearing people, who expressed their deepest gratitude for their opportunities provided for their children by showering us with beautiful gifts consisting of hand woven cloths, headbands, and typical Guatemalan atole and tamales. Their gifts and long goodbyes will be something I will always cherish for the rest of my life.

Oct. 2, 2013: Screen Shot 2013-10-03 at 2.23.46 PM

I was inspired by the CECAP’s emphasis on creating economic opportunities for women. Rosalía shared that nearly all of the women I met with in these workshops have become small business owners and are able to generate an income because of their new vocational skills. 90 percent of vocational workers in Santa Cruz have graduated from the help of the Amigos scholarship program.

I had life-changing experience of meeting with a woman who has set an example for others in the community because of her involvement at CECAP. We were welcomed into the humble home of Espiritu Santos Alvarez, a 30-year old woman who has completed two beading workshops at the vocational training center. Espiritu laid out her jewelry portfolio on a table under the shade of the tin roof of her house, which consisted of aqua-colored doorways and windows, an outdoor stove, and a weaving table. Espiritu shared her story of becoming an artisan, and how her time at CECAP has allowed her to earn an income to support her family.

Oct. 3, 2013:

Before Escuela Milagros (“The Miracle School”) was built in 2011, children had to walk down this steep rocky hillside to Tzununá to get to school. When the river is high, they are unable to leave Tzanjumel. I thought to myself, “How in the world are children supposed to get to school in these conditions?” It was already a struggle trying to drive up the uneven rocky surface with four-wheel drive. Imagining children trying to hike up and down this hill everyday — or not being able to make it to school at all — consumed me with frustration.

This is the stuff that creates new philanthropists. We can’t wait to hear more from Jozlyn at our Corks & Forks dinner next week!

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We’re celebrating Jolkona’s first 5 years at our Corks & Forks dinner/auction next Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013 — and we’re especially thrilled that a table of representatives from Waggener Edstrom Worldwide, our original corporate sponsor, will be there to share the excitement!

The communications agency first partnered with us in 2010 for a matching grant campaign called MatchED, which doubled up to $5,000 of donations to educational projects showcased on our website. We’ve partnered together several times since then, and several WE employees are among our most dedicated volunteers.

Waggener EdstromA little trip down memory lane:

As we prepare to celebrate Jolkona’s 5th birthday together and look ahead to another 5 years of inspiring and empowering a new generation of philanthropists, the WE team in Seattle shared these thoughts with us this week:

What is your organization’s mission?

Through communications, we aim to be the voice of innovation and the catalyst of its impact.  Our vision is to be the pre-eminent leader in giving a powerful voice to innovations that influence markets, inspire people and improve lives.

How do you define “philanthropist?”

Simply put, philanthropy is giving back. Or more specifically, being generous by the way of your time, money or influence to help good causes.

At Waggener Edstrom we have closely examined how philanthropy has evolved over the years. In the past, the majority of so-called “philanthropists” were typically older, far along in their careers and would support by writing large checks to well-established foundations and charities. But we are seeing that model shifting drastically. Today’s philanthropists also include young professionals and digital-natives who are passionate about a myriad number of social causes from clean water to universal education to girl’s empowerment. They tend to give smaller amounts and expect organizations to show directly where their money is going. And money is not the only way young people give – the new generation of philanthropists also tend to donate their time, skills and even their influence on social media properties (read more about what WE considers “Social Citizens” here). Similarly, WE have evolved our approach from giving money to focusing on strategically using our time, treasures and talents to work together to drive impactful change in the communities where we live and work.

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

The act of cooking and sharing a meal together is so human and universal. We are excited to participate in Corks & Forks to share this bonding experience with our colleagues and others passionate about making a difference in the world.

Why are you supporting Jolkona?

WE are passionate about supporting the new generation of philanthropists and appreciate the dynamic digital platform that Jolkona has built to create big impact through small donations. WE believes in the power of partnerships between the public and private sector and the budding social entrepreneurship sector. The company is also committed to supporting causes that our employees care about and engaged with. Three of our colleagues even sit on Jolkona’s leadership team: Seema Bhende, Director of Strategy; Melinda Moseler, Marketing Advisor for Brand; and Megan Fleming, Social Media Advisor. Through the MatchED and Good Deeds campaigns, numerous donations and volunteer hours, Waggener Edstrom has been supporting Jolkona for over 4 years and will continue to support as long as our employees are engaged in this kind of work.

Anything else you’d like to add?

WE love learning about new causes and projects through Jolkona’s monthly GiveTogether program. Keep inspiring and empowering people to give!

Thank you, Waggener Edstrom!

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