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:
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!