Editor’s note: This blog post relates to our Corks & Forks dinner/auction in 2012. For information about Corks & Forks dinner/auction planned for Oct. 10, 2013, visit this page

Jeans donned, tie loosely knotted, and shirt un-tucked, I followed the instincts of my sufficiently empty stomach and made a bee-line down the hill to the Blue Ribbon Cooking School on South Lake Union. My only hold up was a seemingly interminable red light whilst trying to cross the I-5. The rest of the evening was a go!

Food, glorious food!

Soon after a beer and a few too many appetizers later, I was rolling gnocchi and chopping sage with a group of friendly strangers – there’s nothing like the preparation of food to get people interacting! Who rolled the best gnocchi? Despite my three years in Italy, not me. I then powered straight onto Cocktail Mixology, where I learnt all about muddling and a French 75, named after the 19th Century French 75 mm field gun (Why? Think boom. Enough said).

I also connected with a couple fellow Brits. We dubbed ourselves Team GB. Many a “God Save The Queen!” later and I was onto the steak and salmon. Feeling the delicacies of the fish were a little too on the dexterous side for me, I passed to the meat. Steak in pan. Cook for 3 ½ minutes. Turn. Cook for 3 ½ minutes. That part went swimmingly. But when it came to the sauce, it was my pronunciation of tomato that drew heavy criticism. I made amends at the crepe station, however, where I teamed up with one of my fellow Team GB companions. We practically ran the show – our crepes looking as bright, round, and winsome as any gold medal.

To follow was the shrewdly observed silent auction with an incredible array of items. Then we were called to the table where we were treated to the buzz and clamor of our live auction and, of course, our much anticipated dinner. Everything- auction, dinner, and all – was as delectable as it was full of mirth.

One person’s determination to engender change

There were many memorable moments from the evening – the cooking classes, the food, the incredible auction items, Team GB – but, for me, one thing stood above all those: Adnan’s story about Jolkona. It was compassionate and compelling; an extraordinary reminder of how one person’s idea and determination could result in so much change – change for the good. It was truly inspiring to see how from the desire to help one Bengali man, who couldn’t afford to bury his own son, it could end up with where Jolkona is today: over 150 projects and over $500,000 donated. And more importantly, the numerous lives that have been impacted the world over.

The Jolkona team produced a special film for the event. Check it out:


The evening’s impact

Thanks to everyone who participated, donated, and put their time, energy and compassion into the Corks & Forks fundraiser, we were able to raise over….


Thank yous

First of all to everyone who donated so generously to the Kona fund.

We have to thank, of course, our brilliant sponsors: Coinstar inc., Ja Warren Hooker Fitness Performance Group, and Cornerstone Advisors. Little could have been achieved without them.

We also need to thank all those beneficent people who donated auction items: Adnan and Nadia Mahmud, Alexander Resource Group, Amazon, Andy Hytjan, Art Wolfe, Axtion Club, Barbara Grant Consulting Group, Barri Rind, Big Dipper Wax Works, Bob Colleran, Canlis, Carisa Marie, Chateau St. Michelle, Christos on Alki, Coach Aina, Coinstar Inc., Dave Henderson, David Jofre, Dennis Tom, Dreams Performing Arts, Edgar & Holli MartinezEnvy on Alki, Fairmont Hotel Group, FlyWheel Spin Cycle Studio, Gary Manuel Salon, Gene Juarez, Heide and Matthew Felton, IvarsKid Valley, JaWarren Hooker, Jen Duffy, Jenny Almukhtar, Jordan Belmonte, Justin and Jen Spelhaug, K2 Sports, Lauren Burman, Lisa Arlint, Long Provincial, Mary Hoy Shampoo, Material Good, Megan Fleming, Microsoft, Miir, Mission Latin Restaurant, Moshe Dunie, Mynt Expressions, Nancy Xu, Pacific Science Center, Parichey Gandhi, Pavan Potaraju, Pete Morse, Pete’s Market, Punit Java, Raghu Murti, Reconstruct Remodel, Quixotic Designs, Salon 08, Santina Rigano, Seattle Symphony, Tam Nguyen, Teatro Zinzanni, The Bridge, Trudy Muller, WaxDiva Lucy, Wing Luke Museum, Woodland Park Zoo.

I’m not ashamed to admit it, my love language is food. Food is affection. Food is happiness. Food is love. Cook me a bowl of warm soup on a wintery day and I might love you forever. Likewise, if you’re someone important to me, I’ve probably already cooked you dinner (or at least I’m planning to). You can probably imagine, then, my unabashed glee when Jolkona initially drafted up our Corks & Forks fundraiser event. And as each decadent, mouth-watering detail has been finalized, my pangs of anticipation have risen to a steady crescendo. Much grumblings of stomachs later, the event is here!

Great food, a better world

Hosted at the delectable Blue Ribbon Cooking School, this Thursday October 4th Jolkona will be throwing a soiree of cooking classes, dinner, wine, hearty slaps on the back, and much jollity – and all in aid of making this world a better place.

Guests will be greeted with a beautiful selection of appetizers and beverages. During this time of mirth and mingling, attendees will select 4 of 5 different classes to attend. The cooking stations for the evening are as followed: (1) gnocchi (2) steak & salmon (3) crepes  (4) wine tasting (5) cocktail mixology.

And then – we get to eat it! And just in case that doesn’t sound tempting enough for you and you haven’t seen it already, here’s the menu:

The menu


Vegetarian Samosas with Traditional Indian Chutneys

Tostones topped with White Fish, Pineapple Salsa and Cilantro Infused Sour Cream

Thai Grilled Chicken Skewers with Honey-Peanut Coconut Glaze


African Spiced Carrot, Orange and Parsnip Salad

Salmon en Courte with Creamy Spinach and Walla Walla Sweet Onion Sauce

Steak au Poivre with Brandied-Peppercorn Sauce

Homemade Gnocchi with Brown Butter Sage Sauce

Medley of Pike Place Market Style Grilled Vegetables


Seasonal French Dessert Crepes

Blue Ribbon Coffee

Afterwards there will be a live fundraising auction. One of the stellar items up-for-grabs is a 5 night’s stay in the Fairmont Heritage Place in Whistler. There’s also a pair of K2 skis. Buy them both and that’s ¾ of your winter vacation covered!

The Kona Fund

The Kona fund has a special place in our hearts. Why? – because it’s really the cornerstone of our Foundation. Through it we offset all our operating costs, which then allows us to allocate 100% of your donation to your chosen project. All the evening’s proceeds will go to the Kona fund.

NextGen Tickets are $100 and General Tickets are $120.

VIP Tickets are $175.

Make (and eat) great food; make the world a better place. Come to Corks & Forks! Miss it, miss out.

Follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest and keep up to date with all we’re doing and the impact you are making.

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


Wow! What an incredible day to be a part of the nonprofit community here in Seattle on GiveBIG Day!

  • At 11am this morning, the GiveBIG campaign brought in $1,267,558 in donations with 5,690 total gifts made!
  • By 1:39pm, donations from individuals crossed the $2 million mark! 
  • And nonprofits are flooding Twitter streams, Facebook feeds, and email inboxes making asks for people to be a part of the largest day of giving in King County’s history!

And who doesn’t want to be a part of this movement??!

You’ve heard from three people in our community tell you how they’re going to be a part of GiveBIG day today – one was our board member and tech maven, the second was a recent college graduate and our intern-turned-volunteer, and the third was a friend of Jolkona’s who is a global citizen. Today, I’d like to take a (small) break from appeals and introduce you to another friend of Jolkona, Kenji Onozawa, who is a big part of Seattle’s social media community but doesn’t forget about his offline community.

Interview with Kenji Onozawa, a Social Media Rock Star


1. Tell me a little about yourself:

During the day, I work managing my company’s social media program but when I’m not doing that, I keep pretty involved in the Seattle social media community.

2. Why are you excited about GiveBIG?

I’m excited about GiveBIG because as a Pacific Northwest native, it’s a chance for us to give back as a community and thank many of the people and programs that keep the Seattle area vibrant. I think for most of us (and I’m certainly included), it’s easy to forget that it’s not by sheer luck that the Greater Seattle area is amazing. It’s quite the opposite; there are a lot of extremely hard working people who dedicate their lives to keeping Seattle amazing. GiveBIG is an opportunity for the rest of us to show these people that we care about what they do.

3. Why do you support Jolkona?

Why do I support Jolkona? Truth is, there’s a lot of different organizations out there and while they’re all great in their own unique way, for me, Jolkona is at the top.

First off, I support Jolkona because if you donate through them, you’re not stuck dedicating to one cause, and that’s perfect for a person like me who cares about a lot of different things. Through Jolkona, I can support causes having to do with the environment, providing basic needs, and the environment in increments is as little as $5. Furthermore, Jolkona can help as local or global as I want; they work with organizations all over the world so it’s great for the times I want to support programs here in the Seattle area or for other times when I want to help people abroad.

Secondly, I like Jolkona because I don’t know another organization that can literally show me the impact of my money. It’s pretty cool that they can provide me proof that my money is actually helping someone is really incredible. Before when I gave to a cause, it felt like it was going into a black hole, never to be seen or heard from again; my money was just magically taken away, but I never knew if it actually impacted the person I intended it to. Well, Jolkona can provide me a picture of the exact person I was able to help – How rad is that?

Lastly, I’m happy to support Jolkona because I’ve met many of people involved with their organization and they’re some of the most passionate and intelligent people I’ve ever met. For me, knowing that my money and support is going to a group like that, makes doing more that much easier.

4. What are you pledging to do on June 23rd.

Truthfully? This is a lame answer but I don’t know yet. I’ll likely give all over the board because I care for a lot of different causes, but most of it will go to providing people with the basic necessities like food, water, and shelter.

Did you GiveBIG today?

If you haven’t, why not? It’s easy and will only take a few minutes out of your day. Here’s what you do:

  1. Go to Jolkona’s page on The Seattle Foundation website today between 7am and 11:59pm PDT. (To be eligible for stretch funds, your donation must be made through The Seattle Foundation website).
  2. Click on “Donate Now.” Donations can only be made by credit card. Give a little – or a lot – and watch it grow!
  3. Tell others about your donation through Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Encourage your friends to GiveBIG to Jolkona.

Bonus: When you give to Jolkona through The Seattle Foundation today, you will be eligible for the golden ticket which, if chosen, will award an extra $1,000 to Jolkona! The Seattle Foundation will choose one donor at random every hour throughout the day. Talk about increasing your impact!


Let’s keep this day on the map!

GiveBIG Seattle Foundation

Make Your Donation Go Further

Give to Jolkona through The Seattle Foundation’s GiveBIG challenge today, June 23rd, between 7am and 11:59pm PDT and a portion of your gift will be matched. In other words, the more you give, the more of the $500,000 stretch pool we’ll get!

Help Us Grow Our Impact

If you’ve ever donated to our partner projects, you know that 100% of your gift goes to the project as it’s how we ensure that every donation makes the biggest impact.

Today, we’re asking you to support Jolkona itself, so we can continue our innovative global development efforts and ignite the next generation of philanthropists. For example, a $200 donation will allow Jolkona to vet one new partner organization and add it to our website to receive donations.

How to Join the Biggest Day of Giving in King County* History:

  1. Go to Jolkona’s page on The Seattle Foundation website today between 7am and 11:59pm PDT. (To be eligible for stretch funds, your donation must be made through The Seattle Foundation website).
  2. Click on “Donate Now.” Donations can only be made by credit card. Give a little – or a lot – and watch it grow!
  3. Tell others about your donation through Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Encourage your friends to GiveBIG to Jolkona.

Bonus: When you give to Jolkona through The Seattle Foundation today, you will be eligible for the golden ticket which, if chosen, will award an extra $1,000 to Jolkona! The Seattle Foundation will choose one donor at random every hour throughout the day. Talk about increasing your impact!


On behalf of the entire Jolkona team, thank you for your support!


Nadia Khawaja Mahmud
CEO & Co-Founder

* Even though this will be one of the biggest days of giving in King County, anyone can donate, even if you live outside of King County, Washington.

GiveBIG Seattle Foundation

For those of you from Seattle, or even those that aren’t, you may have started to hear the buzz around GiveBIG hosted by The Seattle Foundation. Well, this year Jolkona will be participating so I hope you save the date for June 23 to GiveBIG with us!

What is Give BIG?

GiveBIG is an initiative by The Seattle Foundation designed to encourage community philanthropy. To do so, The Seattle Foundation has raised $500,000 to match contributions from local donors who give to various non-profits through their website on Thursday, June 23rd. The fund won’t match every donation dollar for dollar, but rather match the portion of total giving that each charity receives. They’re calling it a “stretch match.” We hope you join us in being a part of the biggest giving day in King County history!!!

Why Should You Donate to Jolkona on This Day?

We always ask for you to support our partner projects, but today we’re asking for you to support Jolkona. By making a gift, your donation – no matter how big or small – will be stretched, allowing us to continue our innovative global development efforts and engage the next generation of changemakers and philanthropists.

GiveBIG Day and Give More

June 23rd is the big day! From 7am – midnight (PST), all donations made to Jolkona via Seattle Foundation’s online Giving Center will be eligible for the stretch match so your donation will go further. So on June 23, please visit our page on The Seattle Foundation’s website and make a donation that will grow!

For more info on GiveBIG, check out Clay Holtzman’s article, Seattle asked to ‘Give Big’ on June 23.

From all of us at Jolkona, thank you for your support and for being a part of giving history in Seattle!

P.S. Click here to RSVP to GiveBIG on Facebook and receive updates throughout the month.

P.P.S. If you give to Jolkona, throughout the day on June 23rd, donors will be chosen at random by The Seattle Foundation to receive a golden ticket worth $1,000 extra to Jolkona, in addition to part of the stretch match! (Bonus: they’ll be giving out one golden ticket every hour!)

As you know, Jolkona was created to allow donors to support causes they care about and then receive feedback on how their donations are used. We exist to help our partner non-profits do more by raising money for them online from donors who demand transparency.

But how do we raise money to support our own operations? While we send 100% of donations made to partner projects and we rely on our donors to support our work by fundraising for our operations through a separate budget, the Kona Fund. One way to do this is during checkout, you can make an optional donation to Jolkona. We also have a separate fundraising strategy that includes traditional donor solicitations, corporate matching initiatives, and grants.

Today, we are excited to announce a new initiative that shows that Jolkona practices what we preach. We want donors to be able to support our work with micro-donations as well that are tied to specific impacts. So if you love what we do and want to support our growth, check out two new projects we’ve added to support our operations for very specific projects and see the type of feedback we can provide.

  1. Add a new project to
  2. Provide Access to PR and Marketing Development for 1 Jolkona staff

And look for new giving opportunities to support Jolkona in the upcoming months. How cool would it be to say that you helped make it possible to add a new project and earn that partner nonprofit more money to do their work?

Photo Credit: krasi