Jacob Colker’s ambition in life is to engage people in volunteering. Convinced that the world can be transformed by changing the way people think about community service, he seeks ways to harness human time and energy on a mass scale. After participating in several activist and political campaigns, Colker teamed up with technology specialist Ben Rigby to found The Extraordinaries in July 2008. This internet-based programme allows volunteers to donate small amounts of time to help non-profit organizations. Originally from Chicago and now based in San Francisco, Jacob Colker has a bachelor of arts in media management and is studying for a master of arts in communications at Johns Hopkins University.
Published in 2010
I work hard. I love helping people. And I love to laugh. I’ve noticed these three qualities in the culture of our organization. We come to work every day with a sense of purpose and determination. And, we have fun too!
My mom’s story has had a huge impact on my life. Her journey as an immigrant from southern Poland to America is a story that millions of American families share, but is nevertheless deeply personal to me; a woman, who didn’t speak English, alone in a new country, working three jobs to make ends meet, wondering if better days are ahead. My dad’s unwavering commitment to organizational impact is also quite inspiring. It’s their values, stories and guidance that have helped to shape my view of the world.
For me, happiness is about reflection and humility. I often ask myself a series of “check-in” questions: Have I done enough with my life to make a difference? Am I using my advantage to improve the lives of others? Am I taking time to do things that enrich my life? Do I have friends and family who care about me? If you can answer yes to all of these questions, then what more could you ask for out of life? With this, comes the humility in recognizing that you have it pretty good.
“Work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed.” —Vaclav Havel “Never take a job for which you’re qualified. If you do, you’ll never learn.” — Esther Dyson
Free time? What’s that? Haven’t heard those words before.
Nelson Mandela. Tempered, determined, unwavering, purposeful and inspiring.
Mitch Kapor (who is on our board of directors). Mitch followed his own instincts and built an incredibly successful company (Lotus 1-2-3). Then, with his wife Freada Klein-Kapor, Stephen DeBerry, and a team of talented people, Mitch turned his advantage into an organization that promotes workplace equality, social enterprise, diversity, sustainable business practices and economic opportunity for disadvantaged communities. He remains humble, accessible and carries a sense of purpose with him day-to-day. It’s quite inspiring.