The Mona Foundation promotes universal education and gender equality. The Foundation believes these two components are crucial strategies for the eradication of third world problems. The education of females is considered particularly important, as it is through educated mothers that the benefits of knowledge can be most effectively passed on to families and communities.
Its mission is also accomplished through skill-based training in public schools, and other social and economic development projects including health care facilities and clinics, and agricultural projects. Mona Foundation supports its adopted projects through financial grants and material resources that are needed for their everyday operation or for their development plans.
“Several of us had experience in seeing the problems of developing worlds. We knew the problems, and decided to do something about it, and that was the beginning of the Foundation. Because there were many others who wanted to help with this process as well, we felt that it was necessary to formalize our work and form a foundation to assure accountability and credibility and enable us to accomplish our goals.” The Foundation receives support from hundreds of individuals many companies and business, including Microsoft. “Microsoft has provided Mona Foundation with grant money for some large projects.”
Mahnaz grew up in Persia, present day Iran, but has been in this country since 1969 when she was in high school. She has earned her doctorate in Educational Technology, and has worked her way up into a Director with Microsoft. She emphasizes with passion “I would like people to know that everything we do in service to others makes a real difference in someone’s life and in our own lives. Our DNA is made to care and to serve – this is who we are, social beings who thrive in community and this is why ‘isolation’ is considered the worst of punishments in prisons. We are social beings and we need contact with others, and we need to care for others, and be cared for. In serving our families and communities, and in helping those less fortunate than us, we find meaning and fulfillment of our intrinsic needs. Yes, we make someone’s life better, but in return we also grow ourselves and become a better person for it. And really, we always receive more than what we give.”
Also, “to me and to the Mona Foundation every child matters and every child is ours to care for, and to grow and develop to their full potential. To us, each child is really a world – a world of stories, of memories, of joys and sorrows, and of immense potential. Save and educate a child, and you have saved a world, and to me that is enough of a mark to leave behind.”
Proud of her two sons, Patrick and Paul, who will graduate soon from the University of Washington, Mahnaz says with delight, “They both already have job offers! One will receive his degree in Computer Science, the other a degree from the School of Business. Paul will work for Microsoft Research in India, and Patrick will be employed by Intel.” Mahnaz’s husband is a business owner in Kirkland, and also serves on the board of advisors of the Mona Foundation. For leisure activities, she relates “ I love to read, but I also like to be outdoors hiking. I live in a wonderful area for that. I’m outdoors whenever I get a chance!”
Mona Foundation just recently hosted its 1st Annual Mona Foundation Phoenix Fashion Show and Luncheon with Mahsa Boutiques. This event was intended to raise awareness as to the purpose of the foundation and its goals throughout the world, and eventually to make an impact here in the Southwest.
What are your volunteer activities? I have served as a volunteer for the Mona Foundation for the past 8 years, and prior to that have been very active with a number of NGOs/development agencies in the US and abroad.
Which social event is your favorite? I love to get together with family and friends and everyone else who is involved in community service work, visit, and strengthen the bonds of friendship.
Favorite Restaurant? Purple Cafe, a local restaurant in Kirkland, WA.
Who is your hero and why? A woman called Navvab, the “mother of consolation" who came from a noble family and who by choice lived a saintly life in service to her family, to the poor, to the down trodden, and to the destitute.
Who is the most interesting celebrity you have ever met? Mr. Annan, US Sec General
If your life were a movie, whom would you want to play your part? Meryl Streep
What gives a woman/man style? Her spirit and her heart.
When you move, what will your home tell its next owner, about you? That it was a place of love and happiness.
What words describe you best? Impatient and driven, and tenderhearted. As with everyone else, a diamond in the rough.
What words would you like others to use to describe you? Caring and loving.
What was your first job? Translator.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Lack of refinement in speech.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? Dishonesty.
What is your greatest indulgence? Love dark, black tea and drink too much of it.
What is the greatest gift you have ever given and received? Love, both given and received.
What or who is the greatest love of your life? My God and my family.
What is your current state of mind? Expectant.
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement? To be mother of two wonderful boys, to have completed my doctorate in 3 years, and to have helped Mona Foundation grow and develop in service to thousands of children.
What is your most treasured possession? Our two boys and my prayer book.
What is the quality you most like in people? Refinement.
Favorite books / Writers? The Fall of Roman Empire, War & Peace.
What is the best advice you have ever received? Find out what is your passion and calling is, and then follow it.