2021

ANNUAL IMPACT REPORT

January 1st, 2021 to December 31, 2021

Our education and employment platform enables displaced youth by mitigating the negative effects of marginalization and securing their future with sustainable development pathways.

Co-Founder’s message 

“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.

Rama Chakaki

Co-Founder

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

Impact

edseed_logo_black

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

Student Demographics

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.

Seed Funds

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

Ammar Al-Shami Fund

Syrian and Palestinian students

Estebar and Wajih Barazi

Estebar and Wajih Barazi

Syrian students with disabilitie

Project Turquoise

Project Turquoise

Youth in Zaatari Camp, Jordan

The Artisan Fund

The Artisan Fund

Artisans in conflict zones

Abdullatif Chakaki Fund

Abdullatif Chakaki Fund

Leadership and environmental stewardship

Faris Eid Fund

Faris Eid Fund

Syrian students with disabilities

Tamkeen Fund

Tamkeen Fund

Syrian youth in Lebanon

Cosmic Centaurs Fund

Cosmic Centaurs Fund

Women in Lebanon

Jenny Leary Wallin Fund

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.

Webinar Series

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.

 

31 Webinars

582 Attendees

69+ Training sessions

 

Dwara

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.

17 sessions

Mentorship

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. 

8 Mentees

Tech Talks

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.

5 Sessions

112 Participants

edSeed Buddies

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.

11 Members

16 Orientations

Volunteers

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.

32 Volunteers

3149+ Hours

$109,807+ Time value

FINANCIALS

Thank you for investing in quality education for all. We can’t do this work without you.

 

2020/2021 Donations

2020/2021 Donors

2020/2021 Students

2020/2021 Volunteers

2020/2021 Webinars

2020/2021 Blogs

2020/2021 Educational Institutions

edSeed Campaigns

edSeed Campaigns

Team

Rasha Ajalyaqeen / Fund and Campaign Manager

Rasha Ajalyaqeen / Fund and Campaign Manager

Rama Chakaki / Founder

Rama Chakaki / Founder

Gail Vignola / Grants Manager

Gail Vignola / Grants Manager

Suha Nabhan / Strategic Communication

Suha Nabhan / Strategic Communication

Tala Odeh / Communication & Marketing Strategist

Tala Odeh / Communication & Marketing Strategist

Bashar Alallawi / Student Onboarding and Event Organizing

Bashar Alallawi / Student Onboarding and Event Organizing

Anas Bakro / Tech Lead

Anas Bakro / Tech Lead

Mohamad Tayeb / Web Developer

Mohamad Tayeb / Web Developer

Yousef Kayali / Web Developer

Yousef Kayali / Web Developer

Hiba Dahcheh / Operations Manager

Hiba Dahcheh / Operations Manager

THANK YOU

Donors

Donors who contributed more than $1000:

 

Donors Funds
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