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.