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A few Thursdays back was the Jolkona Foundation’s holiday party held at one of our wonderful boardmember’s home. It was great to catch up with the other volunteers, but I was most captivated by all the vitality and energy in the room. Everyone there was excited to be part of Jolkona and its numerous accomplishments over the past year. Many of these achievements can be attributed to the hard work and dedication of young people wanting to make a difference.

As a member of the NextGen team, which focuses on engaging youth under 25 in philanthropy, I love seeing the energy and commitment that young people bring to giving. The holidays especially inspire people to make the world a better place. I know that I always feel more motivated during this time of year to donate my time and resources towards those less fortunate. This season is all about feeling thankful for what you have and recognizing that others may not be so fortunate.

During this holiday season, I will use my small change to bring awareness to a cause I feel passionate about: the NextGen team is excited to help prepare kids in the United States to become employable adults as part of Jolkona’s 12 Days of Giving campaign! This organization has helped thousands of children from all over the US learn the life skills necessary to have professional careers and become more civic-minded through the medium of soccer. I am excited to support a non-profit that inspires the next generation of youth philanthropists. These kids want to make a difference, and with everyone’s support, we can help them reach their goals!

Make a difference here.

 

 

 

 

Jolkona Team

Image credit: Karen Ducey

A few weeks ago, I attended the 2011 Social Innovation Fast Pitch held at the Seattle Center. This event provided support by highlighting and donating funds to organizations aimed at making a positive impact in the community. Among the finalists, a remarkable number of groups were founded by local high school and college students. These students saw problems that existed in the world and used ingenuity to craft effective solutions. I loved hearing a recent high school graduate discuss how she was inspired to create her non-profit after observing how alienated disabled student felt from their peers. Despite her youth, she is making a tangible difference in the world.

As a recent college graduate myself, I am happy to see that young people are getting their due credit as a powerful force in philanthropy. Students and the under-25 year old demographic are increasingly more engaged with the world and addressing disparities. Through internet and smart phones, we are readily connected to all parts of our global community. Minutes after the devastating earthquake hit Japan last March, Twitter feeds and news articles exploded with images and information. Immediately, youth from Japan and beyond engaged in the global response; donating time, money and resources to help the cause. It was inspiring to see young people work together to aid in relief efforts in the face of overwhelming tragedy.

As part of the team for NextGen powered by Jolkona, I feel lucky to be part of our efforts to engage more young people in philanthropy. I first started with Jolkona because I wanted to help but didn’t know how. The wide variety of projects along with proof that my pledge made a tangible impact inspired me to do more than just be a donor. It interested me in engaging more of my peers in philanthropy. It doesn’t take a huge financial pledge or large time commitment to make a difference. We’re in a time of giving where people can pool a little to create a significant impact; for example, one $5 donation helps a rural Guatemalan child become computer literate. Together, we can help an entire community become educated. Everybody can turn their small change into big change!

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!

GET INVOLVED!