Blog

As a non-profit starting from scratch, Jolkona foundation faces a lot of challenges. Some of these challenges include:

  • Raising money for Jolkona Foundation’s operational expenses.
  • Finding projects that we would like to partner with.
  • Finding the right people to build out our website – an integral part of Jolkona’s vision
  • And more…

We are blessed to have a board comprised of highly qualified individuals. They have really helped guide us through the thorny process of forming a non-profit organization. In addition, we continue to receive generous monetary contributions from our friends.

However, for Jolkona to reach its potential, it is becoming obvious that we need more help from individuals who are willing to volunteer their time in a meaninful way. As a result, we are looking for volunteers to fill positions working in the following areas:

  • Website development
  • Coordination with partner projects
  • Coordination with fundraising
  • Coordination of Jolkona’s communication strategies, including our blog, newsletter, etc.

If you are interested in learning more about how to help us in any of the above areas, please send us an email to blog@jolkona.org. Also, if you would like to help us in other ways that weren’t mention, we would love to hear from you too!

JOIN OUR TEAM!!!

The success of a non-profit organization hinges on many factors. One factor is having an experienced Board of Directors that can provide the organization with solid leadership. Jolkona Foundation is blessed with such a board of extraordinary personalities.

Eleza, one of the co-founders serves as the treasurer/secretary of Jolkona Foundation. She is also enrolled as a MPH student (with focus on nutrition) in University of Washington. Before enrolling in the MPH program, Eleza had worked in the non-profit sector. She has strong experience in the day-to-day running of non-profit organization in the United States – something that was invaluable during the process of getting Jolkona incorporated and applying for 501c(3) status. She truly is the operational nerve center of our foundation.

Mushtaque has extensive experience in the field of public health. In addition to serving on our board, he serves as the Deputy Director of BRAC – the largest NGO in the world. BRAC is also one of few non-profit organizations that are self-sustainable today. He serves as the dean of James P. Grant School of Public Health, BRAC University – one of the eminent public health schools in the world. He also serves as a visiting professor at Columbia University. Mushtaque has received numerous awards, including the prestigious “Social Innovator of the Year”.

Noah has been providing Jolkona Foundation with invaluable guidance in our early days. Noah serves as the Executive Director of Calcutta Kids, a non-profit organization he founded while he was an undergraduate student in Marlboro College, Vermont. Calcutta Kids is an organization committed to the empowerment of the poorest children and expecting mothers in the underserved slums in and around Kolkata, India. Calcutta Kids does an amazing job at keeping down their costs – something that we hope to learn from here in Jolkona Foundation.

Anna has an amazing life story to tell. Her inspiring story starts with a young girl growing up in war-torn Lebanon, moving to the United States at the tender age of 17 with a handful of change, to serving as an Executive Director of one of the leading non-profit organizations in Los Angeles, California. She has accomplished all that at a very young age. Anna serves as the Executive Director of Academy of Business Leadership, an organization that has brought innovative approaches to the education of inner city children. She also serves in various women leadership organizations including Women’s Foundation of California, Merrill Lynch Inaugural Women’s Advisory Council, and Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government Women’s Leadership Board. Needless to say, she also serves as an integral member of Jolkona’s board.

While I serve as the President of Jolkona Foundation, the individuals mentioned above are the ones who really move this foundation forward. It is my pleasure to be able to work with such a dedicated and dynamic group.

The goal of Jolkona Foundation is to use technology to give socially minded individuals like yourself an easy way to make a difference around the world, where your dollar will go a long way and “every drop will truly count!”

Here is what we have accomplished thus far:

  1. We are proud to announce that we have recruited a board of directors consisting of very accomplished and diverse leaders.
  2. We have started to recruit for our Advisory Board.
  3. We have started recruiting volunteers to help us with tasks like marketing, fundraising, etc.
  4. We have submitted the 501c(3) paperwork and are now just waiting for the approval, which usually takes 6-12 months.
  5. We have raised over $2,500 so far and have spent about $1,500 on filing fees and services so far.
  6. We have started a blog on our website to keep folks updated about our work. You can read the blog at http://blog.jolkona.org . You can subscribe to the blog here.

We believe that change starts with ordinary people doing
extraordinary things to make a difference!

Here’s how YOU can help:

  • In order for us to build this website and our partnerships we will incur some start-up expenses so we are humbly asking for ANY donations you can give to help us get started… and remember that no amount is too small! You can donate securely through paypal on the website at www.jolkona.org or mail checks to Jolkona Foundation, PO Box 2153, Kirkland, WA 98083. (You can also pay by credit card but they will deduct 2% for their fees so we do ask for you to either use your bank account securely through paypal or just mail in a check.)
  • We are still looking to hire some developers once our website design is finished so if you know anyone who is interested that you can recommend that would be great!
  • We are looking for volunteers to help us broaden the reach of Jolkona Foundation and help us get our message to as many people as possible. If you would like to volunteer your time and/or skills, please let us know. We are confident that we can find something that will be rewarding and challenging for you.
  • We want to build a diverse partnership base that people would enjoy supporting. If there are any particular causes that you would like our foundation partner with, please contact us.

We appreciate your patience in reading through this long email. We REALLY hope you can help us out with any contribution…small or large! Also, please note that any contributions will reveive a retroactive tax deduction once we are approved for our 501(c)3 status.

Please please please forward this information to friends, family, co-workers… anyone and encourage them to help out too!

As I mentioned in my previous entries, we are awaiting our 501c(3) approval. Unfortunately, this process can take 6-12 months and it has been only a month since we submitted our application. I wish this process would go faster, but I also don’t understand all the details of the process. Once we receive the approval, you will be able to apply your contributions towards tax deductions, up to 1 year retroactively.

We are trying our best to keep track of all of your donations. You can help us out by making sure you give us detail info whenever you make donations through our PayPal system. Speaking of our PayPal system please avoid using Credit Cards since we have to pay a fee for every payment.

Let’s start with a quick review. Jolkona Foundation’s goal is to use small scale impacts to fight the socio-economic conditions impeding the individual productivity. The foundation will use technology to connect a donor with each impact. You might be wondering “Ummm, Adnan, what does that mean?”

Let me use an example to explain. We believe that for a society (a village, a town, a home, etc. take your pick) to survive every member has to be productive to the best of their ability. Productivity is different for different people. We believe for a 6 year old, it might mean to get education instead of working the streets. For a 30 year old man, it might mean spending time on his farm instead of fighting a civil war. For everyone being physically healthy is a requirement for them to be productive. Due to various reasons, many people around the world are physically handicapped and hence, they can’t be very productive. However, there are few organizations that are already doing incredible work in providing rather cheap ways of getting artificial limbs. By cheap I mean around $130 for an artificial leg. Of course, the caveat is that even this price is exorbitant for people in certain societies. Jolkona Foundationa’s goal is to help connect the person who thinks $130 is relatively cheap to the person who needs that $130 for the artificial limb. We will use proof of impact as the magic link. In this specific example, the proof of impact could be before-and-after pictures of the recipient. We realize that we can’t always do pictures as proof due to privacy and security reasons. We will work with the partners to figure out the best way to show impact without adding overhead.

Jolkona Foundation’s website will be the central place to do all our work. User will be able to pick out the projects they want to support and donate directly through the website. The foundation itself will not have any physical offices for now. We are also not having any salaried executives or staff at this time. We will try to keep our overhead cost down to minimum. When a donor donates to a project 100% of the money will go directly to the project. In fact, our goal is to make our budget available online for EVERYONE to see.

So, how will we cover our operation costs like hosting the website, paying for developers, etc. if 100% of donations go to the projects? The answer is Kona Fund. Kona Fund is a special fund we have set up within the Jolkona Foundation which will be used solely for supporting operations cost. Donations received in the Kona Fund will be used to offset our operations cost.

That was the theoretical version of what we are trying to do here in Jolkona Foundation. It is much easier said than done. While we have made progress so far, there is still a lot left to be done. We are looking for as much help as we can get. In the near future, we will outline ways that you can help us out!

 

How did we decide to start non-profit work?

I have been blessed with a lot in my life. I have been grateful for all that, but probably not grateful enough. That guilt has only increased over time. I kept telling myself that I should focus on my career right now and once I have reached a particular stage (I had no idea when that would be or what that would even look like), I can try to be philanthropic. Everyone seems to be doing that, so, it seemed like a reasonable plan. I was coasting with this plan until January this year.

I was at home (Bangladesh) in January of this year (2007). One day, I went to the grave of my grandfather. As I walked out of the cemetery, I saw a young father carry his dead toddler. As a Muslim, we bury the dead wrapped in a white cloth. Not only was the toddler not covered with any cloth, the father was alone in this situation. He had no family or friend to support him either. He was alone. His eyes were so cold that I felt chills like I have never felt before. I hastened my pace and left the cemetery as fast as I could.

Ever since, I have felt guilty about my actions that day. Why did I walk away? Would it have been too much for me to help him out? Would it have been too much for me to help him buy the cloth? I could have at least tried talking to him, right? Do I have to establish my career before helping out? As I reflected on the events of that day, I realized that I don’t have to wait to get started. People say it is better late than never. I started to believe that it is never too early to help out. So, what do I do? I don’t have millions of dollars. I am not really an expert at anything. I have a lot of interests: technology, music, travel, etc. How do I combine these disparate conditions into something sustainable? After a lot of thinking and consultations, the idea for Jolkona Foundation was born around April of this year. The foundation’s goal is to use small scale impacts to fight the socio-economic conditions impeding the individual productivity. The foundation will use technology to connect a donor with each impact. We did not get incorporated till July and we are still waiting for our 501c(3) approval. So, Jolkona Foundation itself is only 3 months old. 🙂

Personally, I continued to struggle with my involvement with the foundation. For the longest time, I tried to convince myself that I am not ready for this. I did not think I can take this on. I constantly worried about letting down a lot of people. I told myself that I was not ready for this kind of responsibility. What do I know about philanthropic work, anyways?! I have always maintained that the best way to know 99% of life is to try it. So, staying true to my word, I decided to stop asking questions and genuinely get involved with the foundation. It has meant a lot of sacrifices. But, looking back, it was the best decision I have ever made.

It is amazing how far an intentioncan get you. I have met many amazing people since then. I have seen lots of impactful work being done. Simply making the honest intention has allowed me to experience a beautiful side of humanity that I thought only existed in books and Hollywood movies.

Finishing up the story, Jolkona Foundation continues to receive huge support. There are many things that we would like to do in the near future. It is a matter of executing efficiently over the next few months in everything from fundraising to developing the website and from filling our Advisory Board to finding partner projects.

This is already a long entry. In the next entry, I will dwell into more details about the goals of the foundation.

 

Welcome to the Jolkona blog. We will use this blog to provide the most up-to-date information about Jolkona Foundation, highlight other related work, and more. We hope this blog will be read widely and we expect active feedback from our readers.

Enjoy!

GET INVOLVED!