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!


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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.
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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:

photo 2

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.

snow leapord 3

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.

snow 2

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.

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Here at Jolkona, the giving doesn’t stop! We just finished up our Global Health theme for our monthly Give Together members; our featured cause for September is Animals.septheader

We often forget that we are sharing the earth with so many other living things, and that our actions — directly or indirectly — have a major impact on them. Here’s an overview of the three philanthropic projects you can support through this month’s Animals campaign:

1) Snow Leopard Trust

snow leapord 3

This organization focuses on conservation of snow leopards, an endangered species, and supporting the people who share their habitat in Central Asia. The Snow Leopard Trust believes the best way to help these big cats is through in-depth scientific research and community outreach programs. They have put tracking collars on five leopards to study where they go, how they interact with the environment around them, and what conflicts they face. In some communities, the Trust sets up herd insurance programs or helps villagers produce and sell handicrafts to make up for livestock losses, in exchange for committing to protecting these endangered predators. By choosing to support this project, you can help with both wildlife conservation of these beautiful animals and community development of the people struggling alongside them.

2) Reading with Rover

When Reading with Rover learned that 40 percent of American fourth-graders are not reading at grade level, they decided to take action. Ideally, the students would practice reading at home with their families, but many do not have age-appropriate books at home and their parents are working multiple jobs to make ends meet.

boomerreadingReading with Rover not only provides elementary schools with reading materials, but encourages and motivates literacy by bringing in friendly therapy dogs to build up the confidence of slow readers scared of being mocked at school. The children get to improve their reading skills while having fun with a nonjudgmental, unconditionally supportive dog. By choosing to support this project, you can help Seattle children learn to love both reading and animals.

3) Woodland Park Zoo

The award-winning Woodland Park Zoo not only houses and exhibits a variety of species for its Seattle visitors, but helps support wildlife and their natural habitats around the world. Through its conservation and education mission, the zoo provides a window into the lives of the world’s wild animals, inspiring people from all walks of life to learn, care and act on their behalf. Last month, the zoo’s 6-year-old giraffe Olivia gave birth to a “small” (over 6 feet tall) calf.

Baby Giraffe

This is just the latest in the zoo’s recent baby boom, which includes twin sloth bears, triplet jaguar cubs and four lion cubs in the past year. The baby animals attract more visitors, but also require a lot of special care. By choosing to support this project, you will help the zoo ensure the calf has all his medical, dietary and habitat needs met for his challenging first year of life.

Now Let’s Give Together!

Now that you know something about each project, we hope you are inspired to join Jolkona’s Give Together community this month. Existing members: email your choice for this month’s contribution to By pooling our small donations, we can make a big difference!

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The end of August means many things: that summer will give way to cozy sweater weather and the first orange leaves, that pumpkin spice lattes will soon be available at coffee shops around the country.  Here at Jolkona, the end of August means that our second month of Give Together is coming to a close, and it is you last chance to give to Global Health before we feature three new projects!

Thanks to your generous donations, we were able to increase our Global Health project goals twice, raising $640 in monthly donations through our Give Together community so far. Whether you vote for mother/child health care in India, prosthetics and amputee rehabilitation in Haiti, or cleft palate surgery in Bolivia, you are part of a global movement to save lives.

Online access to philanthropic causes has truly revolutionized microgiving and individual donor impact. Check out eBay‘s infographic, 16 Ways the Internet Has Proved it Has a Heart, demonstrating the various times in the last few years where online communities have pulled together to make an incredible impact. From raising thousands for Doctors without Borders, to raising more than $1 million to bring clean water to parts of Africa, to even helping to fund cryogenic freezing as a terminal cancer patient’s last wish, the ability of online communities to mobilize funds for issues like Global Health is unprecedented.

sample - viral giving

At Jolkona our unique Give Together community makes giving even easier, and is tapping the potential of viral giving.

Next month, Give Together September will continue this trend of online philanthropy with an Animals theme, featuring projects from the Snow Leopard Trust, Reading With Rover, and Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo. Check back on this blog for more information about these projects over the next few weeks.

Use these last few days of August to Give Together for Global Health. And, as you snuggle up against the coming fall chill with your favorite pet and your obligatory pumpkin spice latte, prepare to Give Together for Animals.

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Earlier this month, I wrote a blog post about the importance of vaccines (you can read it here) and how much potential they hold in terms of keeping the world healthy. After writing this, I learned about a new malaria vaccine that is showing great promise.

Scientists have yet to create an effective and accessible malaria vaccine, but recently a new vaccine protected 12 out of the 15 volunteers from malaria. This new vaccine is called  PfSPZ, and if it continues to have the success it has been having, it could very much change how malaria is treated. NPR covered this story hereDr. Anthony Fauci, who leads the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, calls the findings “unprecedented.”

malaria-parasites_1059_600x450 2However, Dr. Fauci isn’t being naive about the fact that this study was conducted on a very small population: “It’s true to say that this is really impressive to have this degree of protection, but on the other hand you have to temper it by saying the numbers are still relatively small.” NPR further reported that this study doesn’t show how long PfSPZ protects the vaccinated person from malaria. (Image from National Geographic)

What Makes This Vaccine Different?

Making a vaccine for malaria is very difficult because malaria can change and adapt in the human body. NPR explained PfSPZ in the following statement: “PfSPZ is different from these previous vaccines because it uses whole, weakened parasites to trigger an immune response, instead of just a small part of the parasite, like a protein on its surface.” Sanaria, the company behind PfSPZ, is more than pleased with the results and is now trying to get PfSPZ tested on a larger scale. If these tests are successful, Sanaria is hoping to have a working vaccine no later than 2018.

Jolkona & Global Health

Here at Jolkona, August is Global Health month for our Give Together program, and we have three dedicated projects for this theme: helping India’s mothers and babies through Calcutta Kids; healing Bolivian children by supporting Esperanca, a medical treatment center that has helped thousands; and supplying prosthetic limbs and rehabilitation programs to amputees through BRAC: Haiti. For more information about all of these projects, read here. If you like what you read, join our Give Together community to contribute to these and other worthy causes!

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Our third partner in August’s Give Together campaign for global health is BRAC Haiti, an organization fighting chronic poverty by providing prosthetics, orthotic  and other comprehensive support programs to rehabilitate physically disabled Haitians. In the organization’s own words, here’s more information about this month’s project:

What’s the inspiration behind your organization?

BRAC is a development organization dedicated to alleviating poverty by empowering the poor to bring about change in their own lives. We started in Bangladesh in 1972, and over the course of our evolution, have established ourselves as a pioneer in operating innovative antipoverty interventions at scale. BRAC organizes the poor using the communities’ own human and material resources to catalyze lasting change and create an ecosystem in which the poor have the chance to seize control of their own lives. BRAC has developed support services that are geared toward inclusion in the areas of human rights, legal aid, education, social and economic empowerment, finance and enterprise development, agriculture, environmental sustainability, disaster preparedness and of course, health care.

Renade below the knee prosthetic

What’s the story behind your project?

BRAC has worked directly in Haiti since shortly after the devastating earthquake that hit in January 2010, drawing on its own experience of starting up and operating relief and rehabilitation programs in post-conflict and post-disaster environments. Our immediate disaster relief efforts included replication of BRAC’s Limb and Brace Center in Bangladesh to help victims of the earthquake. BRAC Haiti’s Limb and Brace Center opened in September 2010 in Port-au-Prince and continues to make and fit low cost, quality artificial limbs and braces, in addition to providing counseling and rehabilitation services. The Center is staffed by qualified local Haitian technicians and a medical officer that received hands-on training and guidance from BRAC’s team of professionals from Bangladesh for over two years.

By providing artificial limbs and braces to the poor, BRAC is helping to reduce the burden on families of physically disabled individuals by increasing their ability to participate in daily life and other social and economic activities, thereby allowing disabled Haitian citizens to contribute to ongoing, post-earthquake recovery and rebuilding efforts.

How did you become connected with Jolkona?

BRAC has been acquainted with Jolkona since your organization started after your founder reached out to us to offer a platform to raise funds for our important programs – his family is Bangladeshi and he was aware of BRAC’s work and so extended the invitation to our team in the US.

Can you tell us more about your current project?

The BLBC offers physical therapy and other rehabilitation services, and counseling to the physically disabled and their family members. It is equipped to accommodate patients who come from outside of Port au Prince or who otherwise require overnight facilities. BRAC’s Limb and Brace Center is the only provider of customized, durable braces in the Port-au-Prince area. All prosthetics and orthotics are manufactured onsite using suitable technology deemed appropriate by the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) that takes into consideration the Haitian context and convenience and ease of maintenance to the beneficiaries.

The clinic has served over 2,392 patients as of April 2013. While the BLBC continues to see patients injured as a result of the earthquake, it is increasingly serving patients injured by accidents, and children born with limb deformities and disabilities. Approximately 74% of patients treated at the BLBC are under the age of 15.

Patients receiving treatment from BLBC are shown as below:

Particulars Total Male Female Adult Child
Total Patients 2,392 1,158 1,234 636 1,756
Total Prosthesis 123 48 75 52 71
Total Orthosis 1,926 964 962 470 1,456
*Others 343 146 197 114 229

What kind of lasting impact do you hope to achieve?

Haiti’s population of citizens living with untreated physical disabilities was high even before the earthquake due to a lack of sufficient development in the health care sector and poor infrastructure conditions fed by unfavorable economic and social conditions. Everyday life in Haiti paints a picture that can be harsh at best and those living with a disability are often regarded as economic burdens or social pariahs. A locally-based and consistent supply of quality, cost-effective limbs, braces and patient services, including counseling, are required to unlock the potential of this often disregarded segment of Haiti’s population.

Let’s say Give Together raises $150 for your project by the end of August. What’s our impact?

The BLBC offers a range of treatments to individuals – from brace and split orthotic devices all the way through to prosthetic limbs. A donation of $50 provides a foot orthosis that can correct a prohibitive deformity. A donation of $75 can provide a long leg brace that can make walking possible in spite of lack of certain leg muscles or can provide a custom ankle foot orthosis that will allow a patient to perform a wider range of physical activities. A donation of $530 would mean that a patient could receive a needed below the knee prosthetic limb and $720 would provide a full below the hip prosthetic limb to an individual in need. Beyond providing the devices themselves, these amounts include the cost to provide important counseling, rehabilitation and follow-up care to the Center’s patients by a team of qualified and caring professionals.

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

Viola is 34 years old. She had a small roadside business and was working there when the earthquake started in January 2010. When the tremors began, she fell down and a neighboring building collapsed on top of her. Viola faded in and out of consciousness for several hours and was taken to the hospital by community volunteers, where she finally woke up. The doctors there informed Viola that her leg was severely damaged and that they had no choice but to amputate. After the amputation, Viola was unable to walk. She could no longer operate her small business and had no way of generating income for herself and her daughter. Viola’s partner had left her after the amputation and the little support he provided went toward school fees for her daughter. Each day was a struggle for Viola and her child.

Then one day a neighbor told Viola about BRAC’s Limb and Brace Center and she made her way to the Center. After her first visit, she thought, “They will give me the ability to walk… I was happy”. Two weeks later, Viola was fitted with a prosthetic leg, designed out of durable material that is easy to clean and maintain. She practiced walking on her leg, which felt heavy at first, and gradually grew accustomed to it. Soon after, Viola was back to work. “I do the same business as before,” she says. “I have no problems.” Now, instead of worrying about how to provide for her family, Viola spends her free time playing with her daughter. She hopes that her daughter will grow up to be a doctor, so that she can help others.

This is one post in our ongoing Partner Spotlight series. Throughout the month of August, you can sign up to join Give Together and choose BRAC or two other global health projects.

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