Cool Charities

“Our dreams and our futures are one.” That simple quote from our founder, Joe Issa, succinctly encapsulates what we’re all about as a company. We believe in giving back to the community in a real, tangible way, not just with lip service. And that’s why we formed COOL CHARITIES. We’re proud to say it’s been a huge success. Click here to read about how we’re making a difference in education. Soon, this area will be fully interactive and you’ll have the opportunity to join our giving team as we chase our dreams (and our futures).

A Cool half million a month to education

Jamaica Observer
Published: November 25, 2007

Jason Alliman is a psychology freshman at the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts. His tuition and related fees total more than US 46,000 or JA$3.3 million per year, a sum Jason says he would have had to borrow had it not been for the Cool Charities/Holy Cross Scholarship Fund operated by gasoline retail Cool Corporation and the US college.

“It (the scholarship) does give me an advantage, but it’s hard to try to fully appreciate the value of the scholarship and of coming to Holy Cross because, obviously education is important but it doesn’t matter where you go to school so much and what you study.” The St George’s college grauade told the Sunday observer from his dorm room at holy cross.

He is however happy that he has the advantage of not having to worry about money and applying for loans. His mother Claudia however was less modest in her response. “He wouldn’t have been able to go had he it,: she laughed “he is right we would have borrowed [because] we would have done anything to help him but he had to earn it” she added.

Jason, like several other students from across the country have been benefiting from the Cool since 1998 when executive chairman of the group, Joseph Issa, started the initiative to help students realize different aspects of their educational goals. The scholarship programme, which started out targeting beneficiaries from the company’s St Ann headquarters, also includes a project called Computers 3000 Education Programme which donates computers and air conditioning units to educational institutions.

At Mar-Jam prep school in Ocho Rios, administrator Heather Maragh said the three computers handed over by the group which has diversified its products offerings to include phone cards and cash machines have given more students access to the world wide web.
“We’re really grateful to Cool because usually donations are given to government schools because the perception is that we’re rich but that isn’t so. Most of the fees we earn goes back out into salaries. They [donors] don’t realize the importance of private schools but with the population growing and public schools not being built, we have stepped in to fill the gap,” she said.

The benefits to students at Exchange All-age in the garden parish are just as invaluable, according to school secretary Lavern Mignott who spoke with the Sunday Observer last week.

“The two computers have helped us to reach closer to the goal of having 24. With the new ones, we now have 11 and for group activities, it means that at least six more students are able to access computers,” she said.

“That helps both the students and the teacher because more groups can go per session and that means a shorter class time,” added Mignott.

Cool Corp has pledged to continue demonstrating a keen interest in the future of young people and says it will continue its support by giving $500,000 each month to education.

“The Fund is committed to spending a half million dollars per month to assist the education sector across the island,” group marketing and promotions Sasha Gaye Downer told the Sunday Observer.

“Mr. Issa is a strong believer that a solid education at the initial stages of learning will make a brighter and better Jamaica tomorrow. With this in mind, anything that the fund can do to help facilitate the educational system in this country we are willing to take a look at and try and see where we can be of assistance,” she continued.

The Cool Charities/Holy Cross scholarship pogramme is not he only aid programme Issa has supported. While he was still a student at the London School of Economics, he organized the ‘Educate the Children Fund’ which raised more than £3000 to purchase Mathematics and English text books for students in Jamaica and other Caribbean islands. He also spearheaded the establishment of Global Education 2000 which focused on the physical improvement of schools, increasing literacy among young children and fostering better relations between schools and the communities in which they exist.

Dozens of Jamaican students have already received scholarships through the fund to peruse degrees at holy cross college – Issa’s alma meter – and at other intuitions in the United States.

“The Fund started out by assisting one student with a scholarship to a school in the US,” said Daswani. “We mainly focus on schools in the rural areas of Jamaica as we found that these schools were in more need. After the first scholarship more and more persons got motivated to apply and qualify for this opportunity to study aboard.

Concerning the addition of projects to the scholarship fund, she said: “The projects we had are based on the needs of individual schools. the first project was called ‘Computers 3000 Education Improvement’ where we have donated more than 20 computers to schools and we have another 20 on the way.”

It was under that project, Cool Corp presented computers and air condition units Marjam Prep and Exchange All Age in July this year. At that time they also donated equipment to 6 other schools in the Ocho Rios area. St John’s, Mt Zion and Columbus prep schools, which received three computers each; Steer Town and Priory primary and junior high, each of which got two computers and two air condition units; and the United Learning Centre which received two computers and one air condition unit. They also donate text books to students who demonstrate academic excellence but who face financial challenges and are not able to buy material for school.
Cool Corp. is the parent company for several companies bearing the Cool trade mark, including Cool Oasis service stations, Cool Cards, Cool Signs Cool Gear, Cool Wind, Cool Automotives Distributors, and Cool Petroleum, which are spread across the country.