Mona Foundation is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization that supports grassroots initiatives focused on education and raising the status of women and girls in the US and abroad. We believe that universal education and gender equity are the cornerstones of the eradication of poverty, disease, and conflict. We pursue these principles by offering support to grassroots educational projects that meet our project selection criteria. We believe that every member of our human family can become an active participant in the process of developing themselves and their communities. Mona Foundation provides our supporters the opportunity to contribute to a worldwide network of initiatives.
We believe that education is a human right and a social responsibility. In hand with that, the advancement of civilization requires the full participation of everyone, including women. United Nations research documents the correlation between a variety of crucial development indicators and the education of girls and women. From infant mortality reductions, fertility, and the incidence of AIDS to improvements in the environment, evidences demonstrate that education of women and girls makes the difference.
People can feel confident that their support will make a difference and have a direct impact because Mona Foundation sends 100% of all designated funds to the projects it supports and 97% of general funds.
HOW DID THE WHOLE IDEA COME ABOUT?
Mona Foundation was started by a small group of people committed to service. They learned about the great work that a group of humble people were doing in different countries and decided that they wanted to help. They consulted, formed a non-profit in 1999, started with supporting two projects in two countries, and never gave up. Today Mona Foundation supports 20 projects in 11 countries, touching the lives of more than 30,000 children, women and their families.
WHY IS THIS CAUSE CLOSE TO YOUR HEART? WHY SHOULD OTHERS SUPPORT IT?
One of the co-founders and current president of Mona Foundation, Mahnaz A. Javid, came from Iran as a teenager where girls are often educated second to boys, and later worked at the UN as a translator speaking to countless refugees and victims of political persecution. These insights were the first seeds for Mona Foundation. After a young boy she knew committed suicide, the seeds grew into determined resolve to ‘not let another child slip through her hands if she could do something about it’.
Most people reading this are fortunate enough to not have to experience the treatment of their daughters as second class citizens or to not be able to afford to send their children to school or to even have them go hungry. It takes as little as $30/month to sponsor a child so that they can receive an education and at least one full meal a day and a chance at a building a better life for them, for their family, and for their community.
DO YOU HAVE ANY OTHER EVENTS OR FUNDRAISERS THAT YOU WOULD LIKE OTHERS TO KNOW ABOUT?
Mona Foundation, which is based out of the Seattle area, just held a very successful benefit at The Paramount Theatre in Seattle with actor/comedian Rainn Wilson from ‘The Office’ and a crew of his friends like Craig Robinson also from ‘The Office’, The Presidents of the United States of America, Andy Grammer and more! It was almost a sold-out crowd and really helped us to establish our name and presence in the Seattle area, creating awareness while having a lot of fun.
It will be hard to top that for a while, but we do have a small luncheon planned for November in Bellevue which we are very excited about. Our guest speaker will be Dr. Randy Wang, co-founder of Digital Study Hall, a project that empowers teachers and educates students in rural and urban slum schools in India.
HOW HAS SOCIAL MEDIA HELPED YOUR ORGANIZATION?
The event at The Paramount Theatre was a good lesson in social media for us. Mona Foundation only entered into the social media scene in 2008 with the creation of a Facebook group, and now of course we are active on Twitter and YouTube and really try to manage our online presence. We fully recognize that social media is a great tool for nonprofits – however, while it is often free, and it is an endless possibilities of networks, it takes planning and manpower to fully utilize and capitalize upon. We are a very small staffed organization and have embraced these tools as best we can at this time.
Mona Foundation uses Facebook and Twitter to communicate regularly to our online community. A recent example is when Mona Foundation was nominated for Best Local Favorite Charity in Western Washington. After using our social media platforms to get the word out, our online support base really rallied behind us and got the vote out and we are very proud to say that we were presented with the award this past weekend! We saw the great ripple effect of social media with votes coming in not only from our current online community but also from people connected to someone in our online community and people connected to them, etc.
One of our goals for the next five years is to increase our use of the power of the internet, digital marketing and social media platforms. We have begun this by re-developing our website to become fully integrated with Facebook, this new version of our website just went live last week and we are looking forward to seeing the results of building our online community.
WHAT DO YOU HAVE PLANNED FOR THE FUTURE OF MONA FOUNDATION?
Looking forward, we know that for every one child that we can provide support to in the world there are hundreds more waiting and needing that same support. For every school we support, there are 10 schools waiting that meet our criteria and have our confidence that they would contribute equally to the social and economic development of their communities.
Rather than prioritize projects based on geography, our strategy is to go where we can have the greatest impact – where we can make long-term change most effectively. Over the next five years Mona Foundation plans to: increase our reach by 50% year over year; increase our financial capacity by 50% year over year; increase use of the power of social media; eliminate the privately funded operations fund; and sustain the systematic growth of the Foundation. Some audacious goals, but we are excited and ready to take them on and are already well on our way!