I recently got the chance to speak with Jolkona Foundation’s inspirational Executive Director and co-founder Adnan Mahmud. Adnan is a very busy man, besides the executive responsibilities at Jolkona Foundation, and launching the site June 9th, he is a full time Program Manager at Microsoft Corporation in Seattle, Washington. He shared with me the touching story of his motivation to start Jolkona Foundation. Born in Bangladesh, Adnan Mahmud has seen what poverty can do. Witnessing the impoverished conditions in his homeland on a recent trip back to visit family, Adnan felt compelled to help somehow.
He heard about the sad statistic that 90% of Bangladeshi people who desperately need prosthetic limbs could not afford them. He began donating to BRAC, a company that, among many other things, makes prosthetics for people in Bangladesh. The cost was 200 dollars per patient, but he wanted to ensure that the money was actually being used for the patients, so BRAC offered a before and after photo of the patients to assure Adnan that his money was well spent. He was sold, and soon found that a lot of his friends wanted to join him in the effort, he decided to make a website to help organize the effort. Realizing that there were other businesses like BRAC, and many more people around the world that could use Adnan’s help; Jolkona Foundation was born.
The Jolkona Foundation is a unique non-profit organization that focuses on young people (15-35) as its donors, who Jolkona Foundation believes will change the world, one small donation at a time. Jolkona’s unique low-cost, high-impact approach allows young donors to have more control of their philanthropic efforts, the ability to contribute by donation level, not a total project level, makes every dollar count. Another distinct feature is the Kona Fund, it is money that is donated strictly to be used for the costs to operate Jolkona Foundation , enabling the other money given to be used 100% toward a specific cause or project.
There are four steps in the Jolkona Foundation Experience:
• Choose – a project that appeals to you
• Give – with a simple online donation system
• See – view the status of your donation
• Share – your experience with others
The projects that Jolkona Foundation operate cover a substantial range of significant issues, from Environmental projects planting trees in Nicaragua, to Empowerment projects rescuing girls from slavery in Nepal.
Jolkona Foundation works by partnering with businesses like BRAC that must meet strict criteria, and that, (with Jolkona’s help), commit to putting your gift to good use around the globe. Being able to track the donations assist the donor in ‘owning’ his or her gift, empowering a young and strong generation of philanthropists.
Jolkona Foundation focuses on projects in 5 areas:
• Cultural Identity
• Public Health
The issues that Jolkona Foundation strives to cure are social and economic ones that desperately need attention, no matter how little the gift. With his altruistic passion and the belief that every life is valuable, Adnan and his inspirational company are improving lives. I asked him what it takes to do what he does, he responded: “Foremost you must have a passion above all to do good. It is not about money, it is about making a difference for others”.
As for Jolkona Foundation’s bright future, Adnan plans to continue expanding their work and increase the number of people whose lives have been dramatically changed by Jolkona Foundation’s generous donors and its partner companies. Adnan feels that Jolkona Foundation strives to “build something that empowers the donor, makes partner companies more productive and enables people to get measurable improvement in their lives”. Jolkona means “drop of water” in Bengali, and after talking with Adnan and learning about Jolkona Foundation, I see the connection as each donation is a drop, that causes a ripple effect of good, and eventually washes away pain.
To build awareness and mobilize our youth to support successful community development projects around the world.
- Organization Type: Non-Profit
- Founder(s): Adnan Mahmud and Nadia Eleza Khawaja
- Founded: 2009
- Location: Seattle, WA
- See complete company list here
Sources: Adnan Mahmud; jolkona.org