Introducing our Executive Director, Nipuna Ambanpola.
Who is Nipuna?
A Leader, a Change-maker, a Convener, and probably a future Diplomat or Public Service Professional with a Degree in Economics and graduate studies in progress on Public Administration and Policy.
Quiet Potential with Loud Humility
Grab a cup of coffee, some tea or just a snack, Nipuna is too great to be defined in just a few lines and this article will probably be long.
Born and raised in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Nipuna is the middle child in a family of three children. His upbringing has been special allowing him to interact with different people in high school which shaped the way he is today. Nipuna has been involved with a handful with extracurricular activities and organizations from the Rotaract club to SGA, and IVolunteer, along with winning grants and very prestigious scholarships. He held positions like the SGA president at Georgia Southern University providing leadership for his community of students, a representative in many high-level committees, Resident Advisor in Georgia Southern University and many more that fail to fit into the limited number of lines we have. But these are all titles.
Who Nipuna truly is must stand clear within this amalgam of fancy names. When you talk to Nipuna, there is no barrier. He stands out as very humble yet a great listener. Through his love for volunteering, Nipuna succeeds in bringing the best out of people. It is the quality of seeming ordinary despite his remarkable potential that makes him, him!
On a Mission to Empower Himself Through Others
A couple of years ago, Nipuna attended a workshop where the speaker wanted him to write his personal mission. It was then that he reflected on everything he wants to do in his life. The following is the personal mission that he then wrote on a piece of paper letting the odds do its magic.
To empower myself and others to actively contribute to the singular communities they live in, in order to impact the world through increased quality of lifeNipuna Ambanpola
Yes, it sounds too ambitious for this world, but have you seen Nipuna’s work in action or have you talked to him? Only then you might truly understand. Nipuna loves meeting people, listening to them and also uniting them. Thanks to his passion, he tries his best to create ” a volunteer in each person”.
How did IVolunteer Start?
This is the part where we are supposed to picture some rough background full of obstacles and unexpected circumstances leading to the organization’s birth. Though it was never easy (like most calls for action in life), the idea of IVolunteer dates back to 2010. That year, Nipuna and his friends concluded that is was hard to find volunteer opportunities and to get people involved. Whenever a disaster strikes, volunteers would show up but there was never a platform made for the sole purpose of making volunteering easier. In the beginning, the organization was called IVolunteer Sri Lanka, where they shout out the volunteer projects on their Facebook page. When Nipuna came to the States, he spoke to Tajae and decided to register IVolunteer as a nonprofit.
The organization has grown so much in the past couple of years. It is now a Gold Seal nonprofit organization on Guidestar, that since 2017, has connected over 3,000 volunteers worldwide. In 2019, World Trade Center Savannah selected IVolunteer International as finalists of the Peace Through Trade Competition. In 2020, IVolunteer International will develop and launch a geo-connecting mobile application which will be available to volunteers around the world.
When people are connected to their own communities, it creates resilience communities.Nipuna Ambanpola
Future Plans as Big as His Current Work
Nipuna dreams about the mobile app IVolunteer is developing. He believes that he will make a career out of it in the long run. One day, he hopes that IVolunteer will have its own Headquarters where it would supervise a couple of million projects that are impacting lives.
A Piece of Advice
Our Executive Director had a lot to share and offer to our readers, but one great advice he wanted to put out there is that “if you have an idea, do it. Start very small. Because in the long run, if you are so passionate about it, it will fall into place. The fact that you started it is the biggest day. Scale it up.”
A Call for Action
With this article, we conclude our Spotlight series. We hope you have enjoyed getting to know our staff. We might operate behind screens but we certainly give it our all. IVolunteer stands proudly thanks to the directions of Nipuna, the right money handling of Tyler, the tech-related skills of Akash and Thimal, the responsible representation of Tajae and Pasindu, the enormous marketing potential of Kynder, and the suitable choice of words of Balkis. We call out to each of you to start small, believe in what they do, volunteer more but most importantly fight for what is right. IVolunteer is your organization as much as it is ours. Always reach out to us for any questions.
IVolunteer International is a Gold Seal nonprofit organization on Guidestar. Operating from Savannah, Georgia, IVolunteer International connects volunteers to volunteer projects around the world. Since 2017, IVolunteer has connected over 3,000 volunteers worldwide. In 2019, World Trade Center Savannah selected IVolunteer International as finalists of the Peace Through Trade Competition. In 2020, IVolunteer International will develop and launch a geo-connecting mobile application which will be available to volunteers around the world.