When Jolkona’s Give Together monthly philanthropy program launched this summer, we never expected that one of our most enthusiastic members would be participating from 8,000 miles away! Meet Andrew Varvel, in his own words:

Andrew Varvel

Age: 25

Occupation:  Studio technical director for a television station

Location: Sydney, Australia

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

After giving for a number of years through child sponsorship, I became disheartened by the lack of transparency and the increasing marketing budgets of the charities. I began researching charities and giving online and after a few weeks, I discovered Jolkona as an organisation where I could be certain my ‘small’ donation would have a guaranteed impact.

Jolkona is a highly innovative charity that has changed the way I think about giving and supporting ‘good causes.’ They have a fantastic team and a great set of values – I’m excited to see Jolkona celebrate its fifth birthday and I look forward to what amazing things they can achieve over the next five years.

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

I have been supporting for Jolkona for just over a year and I was contacted about the new Give Together program. I was keen to support the new initiative and pre-committing a monthly amount to donate whilst still having some freedom to choose what projects to donate to.

How would you define “philanthropist?”

A philanthropist is simply someone who gives a damn and generously donates money and time to support good causes. I think it’s important to remember that anyone can be a philanthropist — it doesn’t matter how little or how much you donate, you can still make a positive impact on others in this world. It’s easy to feel that a small donation doesn’t make a difference in a world where governments and generous wealthy individuals donate hundreds of millions of dollars to worthy causes — but through places like Jolkona, you can be assured your donation does have impact.

For example, through Give Direct, for just $200 dollars you can provide a personalised prosthetic leg to a land mine victim in Burma. It’s pretty cool to think about how much better that person’s life will be once they have a prosthetic. Things like that excite me and encourage me. You can even have a real impact for $20 or less.

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

I currently only support causes through Jolkona, but I’m particularly passionate about health & education projects. Health projects are exciting as they can have an immediate impact on an individual or community that can literally save their lives in some cases. I also love supporting educational causes as I think that education is a key driver for unlocking a country’s economic growth.

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

Charity isn’t about how much you donate each year. It’s about what impact you want to have on the world. What do you care about? What do you want to make better? Your money will have a different amount of impact depending on the charity you choose.

When you donate through Jolkona, you’ll know your generous donation will be spent wisely, you’ll know the impact of your donation and you’ll be part of a strong community making the world better one small donation at a time.

Anything else you’d like to share about yourself?

We need some more Jolkona donors in Australia! Get on board!

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The world’s women and girls are one of the greatest sources of untapped potential for providing lasting global change. That’s why empowering women, promoting gender equality, and improving maternal health are emphasized in the Millennium Development Goals, the U.N. initiative to significantly reduce extreme poverty around the world.  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.1377587_10151597205727396_451819059_n

Starting at just $10, join Jolkona and Give Together to three projects that not only change the lives of specific women locally and globally, but also help advance these Millennium Development Goals.

sudan madreMADRE

MADRE is an international human rights organization that addresses the urgent needs of women in crisis. By partnering with women locally, regionally and internationally, MADRE believes they can create lasting solutions to the world’s toughest problems, such as social injustice, inequality and sustainability issues.

Give Together‘s MADRE project supports women farmers in East Sudan, training them in sustainable agricultural practices to address malnutrition, provide basic education and access to literacy and health programs. Women contribute 80 percent of the food crops in Sudan, but are excluded from government aid programs. The Give Together community’s donations will give a woman farmer the means to support herself and her family despite the challenges of environmental degradation, the threat of armed conflict, and generational poverty. For every $250 we raise, MADRE can send two Sudanese women to a 2-day agricultural training program and buy enough sorghum, sesame and millet seed for 10 women this year.

Jubilee Women’s Center

The Jubilee Women’s Center is a Seattle-based organization that provides training and support to help women transition out of homelessness.

jubilee center

Where many homeless women come from a life of poverty and abuse and lack the job skills to be successful in today’s careers, the Jubilee Women’s Center has a proven record of success in helping these women achieve sustainable employment and independent living.

Give Together to help expand Jubilee’s Learning and Opportunity center so they can not only provide training to the center’s residents, but also women in the greater Seattle area. For every $250 that Give Together raises for this project, Jubilee can offer a 4-class career-building series to 12 women, including resume writing and job interview skills. With your help, these women will be able to find jobs and achieve independence.

Bo M. Karlsson Foundation

Most Nepali women are married by the age of 15, and only 27 percent are literate. These are huge barriers towards women becoming financially productive and independent.

Bo M. Karlsson Foundation

The Bo M. Karlsson Foundation provides young women and girls in Nepal with access to higher education, which reduces income inequality and empowers young women to become independent and productive agents of change in their communities. For every $250 we raise, the foundation can provide room and board for one female student for an entire year. Give Together to help a young Nepali woman attend a trade school or college.

Check the Jolkona Blog throughout the month for more detailed information about each project. UPDATE: This month’s donations will be matched by the Seattle International Foundation, so our contributions will go twice as far!

Join Jolkona to Give Together for Women & Girls in October, and make a big difference for women in Africa, Asia and the United States.

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

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