ANNUAL IMPACT REPORT
January 1st, 2021 to December 31, 2021
“They say life isn’t measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away! In 2021 there have been plenty of such breathtaking moments and I’m writing to share my gratitude to those who manifested them…
My VIP.fund year began with a random LinkedIn article by a young man who became a member of our community, catalyzing our donors with the energy of his passionate story. Our family enjoys mentoring him and 5 other Abdullatif Chakaki Fund recipients monthly, creating this fund to support young men and women who embody the characteristics of our late father.
A teachable moment was seeing our students eager to learn how to budget by recognizing their lack of financial knowledge. Since then,12 of our students have become wage earners on projects we facilitated.
When the first group earned funds to pay their tuition, I realized the importance of this practical synthesis of knowledge. A collection of moments of grace was when we were surprised with large checks reflecting the generosity of our community members who were watching our work from afar, deciding our efforts have reached the level of maturity worthy of their support.
Moments of meaningful connection occurred biweekly in 2021, with guest speakers joining us online to share their experience with students. I watched students attending more, taking deep breaths, and listening to deep dialogues on technology, displacement, poetry, and other topics relevant to their lives and future aspirations.
The VIP.fund is a youth-focused venture philanthropy fund, established in 2015 as a USA 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Our mission is to empower youth impacted by conflict through education and employment. To serve these displaced scholars, we run e-learning programs, crowdfund for higher education, and partner with mentors and institutions who further our beneficiaries’ employment prospects. In addition, we build or invest in technologies that serve our cause. The VIP.fund offers education, mentorship, employment, and networking opportunities.
What We Do
1 / Run informational and community-building digital programs
2 / Manage a crowdfunding platform to raise funds for higher and continued education
3 / Guide students and employment candidates through mentorship and practical experience, preparing them for work in the private sector
4 / Partner with private-sector businesses in the U.S. for employment opportunities
edSeed is a crowdfunding platform powered by a community of students, volunteers, educational institutions, donors, and special-purpose funds. Our beneficiaries are youth impacted by conflict. We focus on this demographic because, in spite of displacement resulting in limited funding and guidance, our young scholars can enter the job market, generate income, and support themselves, their families, and their communities.
edSeed provides gap funding to:
- Refugee students who don’t have the economic means to pay for university
- Youth impacted by conflict who want to continue education to earn an income through vocational, trade, web development, and other online training
Students receive online training and mentorship in:
- Building a crowdfunding campaign
- Selecting careers that have income-generating opportunities in the job market
- Applying for jobs
- Leveraging social media to build professional connections
- Soft skills relevant to applying to universities, continued education, and job applications
The edSeed education community is made up of:
- edSeed scholars who upon graduating pay it forward to support other students
- Volunteers who help with operating edSeed
- Volunteer mentors who guide students along their journey
- Educational institutions that support students
Since we launched edSeed, our focus has been on students from conflict-impacted areas in the Middle East. This focus was a result of the cofounder’s network and existing relationships in the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, and other countries that have hosted refugees and youth impacted by conflict.
Our primary focus has been youth ages 16-30, with the majority within the 16-24 age range. Participants in our programs included both genders, religious groups, and a range of physical abilities.
Diversity In Academic Majors
The dire living circumstances of displaced youth direct them toward academic majors such as engineering and technology, that can improve their living conditions upon graduation.
The story of each edSeed student reflects their ambitions, challenges, and hopes. Knowing that most of our students aspire to engineering, medical, and other health-related fields, the VIP.fund aims to increase the number of students specializing in these programs, allowing them the opportunity to keep pace with current technology.
Like other crowdfunding platforms, edSeed enables individuals to campaign and receive funds; however, edSeed also offers orientation and training on how students can present themselves and campaign effectively. Success is driven by the student’s ability to reach a network and raise the first 10-20% of the donations before the campaign launch. This initial amount is critical to the success of any campaign.
Our seed funds provide the initial capital and often go further to sponsor an entire campaign. Seed funds are established and managed by individuals and organizations who care about education and conflict-impacted youth.
Since 2018, these endowments have collectively raised $310,006 and we currently have 9 established, targeted seed funds.
Ammar Al-Shami Fund
Syrian and Palestinian students
Estebar and Wajih Barazi
Syrian students with disabilitie
Youth in Zaatari Camp, Jordan
The Artisan Fund
Artisans in conflict zones
Abdullatif Chakaki Fund
Leadership and environmental stewardship
Faris Eid Fund
Syrian students with disabilities
Syrian youth in Lebanon
Cosmic Centaurs Fund
Women in Lebanon
Jenny Leary Wallin Fund
Refugee women committed to serving other
Crowdfunding Platform Technology Improvements
The power of connection grows more important every day. We work better together as the democratization of tech pushes us forward, bridging students and donors.
In 2021, we have:
- Updated the platform to facilitate sharing student experiences on social media
- Provided an automatic Arabic-to-English translation tool for campaigns and blogs
- Added a time-tracking tool to help our volunteers log their hours
Speaking Out: Student Blogs
edSeed’s blog page encourages our students to share passions and articulate their points of view on relevant issues, giving agency to their experience. Storytelling can be an antidote for trauma and hopelessness. By using their voices, our scholars connect with donors and friends as part of the global community.
This program provides 30-minute to 1-hour webinars, providing perspective from entrepreneurs, tech experts, media specialists, and education professionals on topics of interest to university students and recent graduates from the Middle East.
- Impact: Raises awareness and sparks interest in the latest disruptive technologies, trends, and startups in tech, media, and education among target youth in the Arab world.
- Format: Short presentations, typically presented in Arabic, followed by a Q&A encouraging dialogue between presenter and participants.
69+ Training sessions
Dwara, a 6-week pilot supported by the VIP.fund, offers space to bring select female students together to express, connect, and build community around a common theme. Drawing on a cultural tradition from the Syrian city of Homs, Dwara symbolizes visits between friends and families in the safe space and shelter of home.
The Peer-2-Peer Mentor Program
offers a unique opportunity for connection and mutual growth between a student and a volunteer mentor. Mentors help mentees reach their particular goals and they are paired based on shared interests, education, or backgrounds, learning from each other by virtue of the program’s collaborative structure.
These weekly webinars connect tech business leaders with our students on opportunities in the field and topics such as blockchain, AI, circular economies, and the future of displaced populations.
Our buddy program launched in October 2020 and focuses on:
- guiding onboarding students on how to launch their campaigns
- explaining our core values
- introducing students to new skills acquired by joining edSeed
- encouraging communication between students.
Our mission is to build an online community to connect with youth and support them through their academic and professional journeys. Our day-to-day operations run through the support of volunteers.
$109,807+ Time value
Thank you for investing in quality education for all. We can’t do this work without you.
2020/2021 Educational Institutions
Rasha Ajalyaqeen / Fund and Campaign Manager
Rama Chakaki / CO-Founder
Gail Vignola / Grants Manager
Suha Nabhan / Strategic Communication
Tala Odeh / Communication & Marketing Strategist
Bashar Alallawi / Student Onboarding and Event Organizing
Anas Bakro / Tech Lead
Mohamad Tayeb / Web Developer
Yousef Kayali / Web Developer
Hiba Dahcheh / Operations Manager
Donors who contributed more than $1000:
|Ghalia & Omar Al-Qattan||Heba Barazi||Mr. & Mrs. Kawas||Fares Eid|
|Eyad & Dania Nashawati||Hichame Assi||Sara & Karim Wali||Cosmic Centaurs|
|John Kahler||Manal Horani||Goldman Sachs||Tamkeen|
|Sherif Sakr||Justin Hefter||Salaam & Bassam Barazi||Abdullatif Chakaki|
|Nawara Chakaki||Hania Krajewski||Mr. & Mrs. Abdulrahman Alrashed||The Artisan|
|Hazar Jaber||Gail Vignola||Reem & Omran AL-Kuwari||Project Turquoise|
|Mai Barazi||Melika Al-Kawas||Mr. & Mrs. Kareem Sakka||Estebar and Wajih Barazi|
|Obada Chakaki||Judith Sargent||Mr. & Mrs. Ali Ojjeh||Ammar Al Shami|
|Hani & Hazar Eid||Hadi Kabalan||Merrill Lynch|
|Soussane Chartouny||Jennifer Vann||Anmar & Mohamed Kuzeiz|
|Raed Masri||Carl Wallin||Mr. & Mrs. Feras AlKawas|