Jazba Entertainment, an organization rooted in philanthropy, received the largest allocation of Student Service Fee funds from the University of Minnesota for the upcoming spring semester.
For 2019 spring semester programming, the philanthropic group, which combines art and dance, received around $28,000 from SSF funds, which provides University funds to various student groups. This is Jazba's first time applying for these funds and is only $2,000 shy of the maximum allocation for programming per academic year. The group's philanthropic work and fundraising experiences influenced the high amount of funding.
The student group is using the money to help host their annual Bollywood-fusion dance competition, which raises money that the group donates to Women In Need, a charity in India. SSF funds cannot be donated, but the group is using the funds to help with fundraising efforts.
In its efforts to regularly raise donation funds, Jazba has dabbled in a little bit of everything. The group works at booths during Vikings games, at ValleySCARE and at local fairs.
Saurav Suryawanshi, the sponsorship director for Jazba, said these were good events to promote Jazba’s mission while fundraising money. The fundraising is in tandem with corporate sponsorships for Jazba from Minnesota companies such as 3M and Boston Scientific.
This year, however, the group applied for University fees for the first time out of necessity.
“A lot of the sponsors were changing up their donation packages, so we ran into a problem where we didn’t have as much funding coming from corporate sponsors,” Suryawanshi said. The SSF funds were to make up for the gap they had in funding.
“It is important to note here that this group has successfully managed this amount of money in the past,” said Jude Goossens, Student Service Fees committee chair, regarding why the group received so much money.
With all funding requests, the committee considers the various student group’s past management of funds to determine how much money to allocate.
Aside from the dance competition, Jazba has another, larger, more philanthropic goal. “Our mission is to spread South Asian culture in the Twin Cities,” said Atul Sehgal, the philanthropy director. “But [Jazba] was all inspired through [the 20120] incident in New Delhi.”
In 2012, there was a brutal and highly-publicized sexual assault case in India. Jazba came to be a couple years later because students wanted a way to help after the event. The group is working to help and empower impoverished women in South Asia by fundraising and donating funds to Women In Need.
“It’s like a dual mission,” Sehgal said. “We spread awareness through dance and art, and at the same time we love to help out Women in Need. That’s a big aspect of who we are.”
Jazba’s work has shown in their growth. Each year, the total amount donated to Women In Need by the group has increased. In 2015, Jazba donated $3,000, in 2018 that amount rose to $18,000. In the past 4 years, Jazba has donated a total of $46,000 toward the charity.
“This year we hope to donate $20,000 or more,” Suryawanshi said. Jazba’s annual dance showcase will take place in February, due in part to the SSF funds. The ticket sale revenue will then be donated to the charity.