Note from the editor: this post is written by Kaylin King. Kaylin heads up the development team here at Jolkona.

Jolkona has two more reasons to be thankful this holiday season

Creative Services Agency, Causality, announced Jolkona as one of the five winners of its Full Brand Grant. Causality hosted a 2011 Fall Grant Cycle to give select nonprofit organizations either full or matching brand grants. Out of the 109 applicants, Jolkona was selected as one of the five full brand grantees. Jolkona is excited to be partnering with Causality in 2012 to build dynamic and sustainable tools to help elevate Jolkona’s branding, marketing and interactive communications. We are honored to have been chosen as a full grant recipient of Causality’s services and look forward to a creative and dynamic 2012.

Later in the week, Seattle International Foundation (SIF) announced a $5,000 grant to Jolkona to fund Jolkona’s Kona fund. Jolkona CEO Nadia Khawaja had the opportunity of joining over 250 women leaders at Seattle International Foundation’s second annual Women in the World breakfast hosted at the Four Seasons Hotel in Seattle. It was at this event that SIF announced their grants to organizations committed to empowering women and girls around the globe. The total grants given of $159,000 included a SIF grant to Jolkona of $5,000 to continue to fund our microgiving partners in the areas of: education, public health, empowerment, environment and arts and culture.  We are honored by SIF’s support of Jolkona for the second year in a row.

What’s ahead in 2012?

We look forward to growing our development team to include leadership staff, volunteers and interns in Seattle and Chicago.

We look forward to advancing relationships with others committed to forwarding education, public health and women empowerment, alleviating environmental concerns and advancing the arts and culture.

We look forward to widening our partnerships with foundations, corporations, media, community leaders, small businesses and individual philanthropists in sponsoring gift matching campaigns, hosting special events, spotlighting Jolkona or making Jolkona the recipient of philanthropic support.

We look forward to another great year of changing the world one drop at a time!

If you are interested in partnering with Jolkona, or are interested in volunteering on the development team, please email


Credit Karen Ducey

On Monday night, October 3rd, Jolkona competed along side 13 other social innovators at Social Venture Partner’s Social innovation fast pitch for the chance to win a piece of the total prize money worth $170,000. It was a full house at the Fischer Pavilion at the Seattle Center with a crowd of more than 600 people in attendance all coming to hear 5-minute pitches of the top social innovations in Seattle ranging from high school students, college students, and seasoned social entrepreneurs.  Jolkona was honored to be one of 14 groups to pitch that night, and even more honored to have won the $15,000 Social Endeavors Award for our new initiative– licensing our micro-giving platform to help non-profits improve fundraising online.

While the competition was very stressful, it was also a forcing factor to help us get our “pitch” down. I’d like to thank Social Venture Partners and specifically Will Poole and his massive team of volunteers for organizing such a great event.  And I’d like to give a special shoutout to some of the amazing volunteer coaches/mentors that helped me with my pitch:  Susan Bloch, Ken Pawlak, Ted Weiler, and Dan Kranzler.  Thank you for believing in me and in Jolkona’s work and for helping to take our idea to the next level!  And a BIG thank you to all the Jolkona volunteers, board, and advisers that came to support that night.  Last, congrats to all the other winners that night!

Credit: Karen Ducey

It’s been a CRAZY week at Jolkona HQ, with the big win on Monday, all the follow-up from the great connections we made that night, and the start of Microsoft’s and King County’s Giving Campaign Month, but we are energized and excited to be moving forward with our new innovation.

Check out pictures from the event here and read articles about the event posted on the Puget Sound Business Journal and on Microsoft’s Unlimited Potential Blog.


Nadia Khawaja Mahmud of Jolkona presenting at Social Innovation Fast Pitch

On Monday, September 19th, Jolkona competed along with 37 quarterfinalists for the chance to advance in the Social Innovation Fast Pitch (SIFP) where nonprofits and social enterprises can win grants/investments from a $170,000 pool of money.

Jolkona co-founders were speaking at a conference this past weekend at Harvard University to launch our NextGen initiative and came straight from the airport to compete at SIFP taking place at Paccar Hall at the University of Washington. After a long day of pitches and deliberations from the judges, we are excited to announce Jolkona was chosen to be present next week at the semi-finals along with 20 other nonprofits and social enterprises for a chance to present at the final event on October 3. Congratulations to all the other winners who advanced to the semi-finals!

If you haven’t purchased your tickets, it should be a fantastic day so we encourage you to attend. Plus, 100% of ticket price is a donation to support the top social innovations in Seattle. Read more about why you should attend and how to get your tickets.

Want to read more about SIFP? Here’s a great article by Rebecca Lovell, one of the SIFP judges: Social Innovation: Goldilocks and doing well by doing good.

Special thanks to Jolkona’s awesome SIFP mentors, Ken Pawlak and Tim Weiler for coaching Jolkona on our pitch and helping us make it to the next round! Also, a big thanks to Jolkona Advisory board member, Susan Bloch for also spending valuable time helping with the “pitch.”

Another round of fine-tuning our pitch is ahead once we receive feedback from the judges. So wish us luck next week and we hope to see you in the audience on the third. Even if Jolkona does not make it to the final round, we are invited to present our idea that day so we hope to see you all there!

On December 30th, 2010, while many of us on the Jolkona team were visiting some of our partners in Africa, the Seattle International Foundation announced their Round 2 Grant recipients under its Global Program here.

We are excited, humbled, and honored to announce that Jolkona was selected as 1 of 15 organizations to receive one of these grants. What is more exciting is that this first grant Jolkona has received and we hope this is a sign of more funding to come! We plan to focus the $15,000 grant towards vetting and adding new projects to Jolkona’s platform this year, particularly in South America, enhancing partner engagement, and improving the user experience of giving through Jolkona.

The Seattle International Foundation is a supporting organization of the Seattle Foundation and exists to promote global giving in Seattle and to invest in initiatives for global development. Jolkona is thrilled to be a part of this network, thanks to their generous help and support.

If you’re interested in supporting our work related to partner expansion and engagement, you can do so by making a donation to our Kona Fund here. True to the Jolkona model of providing feedback, we look forward to tracking our progress on increasing the number of projects and the impacts of increased partner engagement this year!

Pepsi Refresh is the latest venture in a string of high-profile voting based grant giving. It is great to see big corporations getting more involved in the social sector and the more contests we have like this, the better. We are still in the very early stages of these contests and people are still figuring out the kinks in the system. There have been couple of issues in the current Pepsi Refresh campaign – one discussing perceived bias towards celebrity-sponsored nonprofits and another exploring whether it is proxy voting is considered “cheating.” However, we must also credit companies for coming forward and trying out various models.

This month Jolkona Foundation submitted an idea for the May voting period. I thought this was a good opportunity to write a blog post about our experience. This is not meant as a representation of what all non-profits do, rather it is a view of our journey thus far in submitting our idea to the Pepsi Refresh Challenge.

Background info on Pepsi Refresh

For those who are not aware, Pepsi Refresh ( is a contest being put on by Pepsi where it gives away large grants to US-based proposals that earn the most number of votes from the public. It is a monthly contest and so at the beginning of every month they put up a new list of projects for people to vote on.  Organizations are invited to submit a proposal the month before the voting. Submission closes either on the 15th of the month or once 1000 proposals are received for that month. Then a panel of judges review the proposals for objectionable ones and the approved ones make it to the voting stage. The grants are awarded to the top voted ideas breakdown as follows:

  • 10 X $5,000 grants
  • 10 X $25,000 grants
  • 10 X $50,000 grants
  • 2 X $250,0000 grants

That’s a cool $1,300,000 given out by Pepsi every month and Pepsi should be commended for giving out that much to support the community. In the current month, there are 1143 ideas (yes, it is more than the 1000 ideas limit because Pepsi pushes some of the ideas from previous months into the next month). If Pepsi, evenly distributed the purse across all the ideas, each one would get $1137. It is important to remember this figure and I will refer to it again later in the post.

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