Typhoon Haiyan: How Arab Americans can help
With thousands living in temporary shelters and a full-scale health crisis threatening, survivors of the recent typhoon in the Philippines are in desperate need of support. The Center for Arab American Philanthropy (CAAP) is responding by researching various humanitarian relief organizations and providing donors with a list of recommended organizations effectively responding to the crisis:
American Red Cross: The global Red Cross network is responding to emergency needs with food, water, and relief supplies, and the American Red Cross is lending people, expertise and equipment to the efforts. Learn more.Donate.
Doctors Without Borders is sending doctors, nurses, surgeons, psychologists, and water and sanitation experts to the area to provide critical medical care. Doctors Without Borders is also providing medical supplies, hygiene kits, shelter materials, and water and sanitation equipment. Learn more. Donate.
Image courtesy EU Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection
Incorporating good into the everyday
List-making is an under-appreciated art form. Practiced and perfected by the likes of Benjamin Franklin and Umberto Eco (not to mention you and probably everyone you know), lists form a crucial part of our lives. Belle Beth Cooper recently wrote a piece for the Buffer Blog on the history and allure of the list, reminding us of the incredible power it has to make sense of the world around us and to enhance our productivity.
Lists can be just as useful when it comes to incorporating good into your daily routine. The next time you find yourself organizing a daily, weekly, or monthly to-do list, try to remember Cooper’s advice and apply it to your philanthropic giving:
- Prioritize – You can’t do everything. Make the most of your giving (whether that means giving money, time, or labor) by focusing on causes important to you.
- Break projects down into smaller, manageable tasks – Whatever your major goals are, you can make them more accessible (and much less overwhelming) by thinking of them as a series of tasks.
- Plan ahead: Set apart time every week or month to engage in philanthropic giving.
- Be realistic: Accomplish what you can within your own limits.
November 15 is National Philanthropy Day - what better time to start doing daily good deeds?
November is National Philanthropy Month, and the Center for Arab American Philanthropy is inviting you to get into the spirit of giving by sharing your stories of generosity (karem in Arabic) by submitting them on Tumblr or posting on our Facebook page. Just use the hashtag #KaremContest in a post of 200 words or less. We’ll share the stories across our social media platforms throughout November. The winner, who will be chosen on National Philanthropy Day (November 14), will receive a $50 giving card to donate to the charity of their choice. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for details (some restrictions apply).
We can’t wait to read your stories of giving!
Checkout charity: More bang for your buck?
Checkout charity is no doubt one of the most pervasive forms of modern-day philanthropy. You see it at your local Walmart, Costco, and Kmart, even at your local McDonalds, Chili, and Wendy’s. Nearly everywhere there’s a cash register, you have the option of donating a dollar or two to charity. As it happens, checkout charity is also one of the most successful forms of modern day philanthropy. In 2012, 63 campaigns across the country raised $358.4 million in donations. JCPenney alone raised $10.4 million in six months.
But it isn’t all good news.
In an article for the Tampa Bay Times, Susan Thurston takes a look at both sides of the issue. Checkout charity may be “big business for nonprofits,” but the practice isn’t necessarily sustainable. Charities receive no information about their donors, and, as a result, can’t make any follow-up requests down the line. Donating a dollar to cancer research at your local McDonald’s doesn’t do much to inspire a long-lasting relationship with the nonprofit accepting your money.
On the side of the consumer, the checkout charity model discourages responsible philanthropy. Spontaneous, “point-of-sale” fundraising makes it highly unlikely a person will do much research on the charity in question. The better option is to give to charities directly and diminish the risk that money might be diverted somewhere along the way. Direct donations also come with the benefit of a tax deduction and complete transparency with respect to where and how your money is being used.
In the words of Daniel Borochoff, president of CharityWatch, a prominent charity rating service in Chicago, be “more thoughtful, do some research, and find out what the charity is accomplishing.”
Photo courtesy NateOne
Yasmeen Shousher: Tackling a “big word” a little bit at a time
Can you make a community impact with less resources? CAAP recently spoke with Yasmeen Shousher, Washington, D.C. resident and owner of Mint + Modern consulting agency. Yasmeen is also a young philanthropist and longtime donor to ANERA, a humanitarian relief organization that advances the well-being of people in the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon and Jordan.
Shousher was recently recognized for her philanthropy at the 2013 ANERA Annual Dinner.
CAAP: Could you tell us a little about your relationship with ANERA?
Yasmeen Shousher: My mom introduced me to ANERA about five years ago, and I began supporting the organization by sponsoring a child in the Middle East. I have been giving a monthly donation ever since. I was drawn to ANERA because it is an apolitical organization. ANERA’s goal and strategy is simple: get the necessary funds to the people most in need.
I have confidence in ANERA’s programming; I believe like the services it provides are forward-thinking and innovative. ANERA operates several healthcare and education projects, and they run a greenhouse project that encourages self-sufficiency among their constituents.
I feel like I have a partnership with ANERA, and I always feel connected with them through their communications.
CAAP: Who inspired you to give back?
YS: My parents [both CAAP Board Members] definitely encouraged my brother and I to give our time and resources to various causes from an early age. Philanthropy was a part of our upbringing. My grandparents were also very generous people and they continue to be to this day.
CAAP: Do you have advice for other young Arab Americans who want to get involved in philanthropy?
YS: Philanthropy is a big word, but I recognize I have a responsibility to give back. Once you start giving your time or money, you won’t miss it. I always remind myself that the non-profit would miss it more than me. I would also encourage those who can’t give a large amount of money at one time to not be discouraged. Small, yet recurring donations can still make a difference in the lives of others. Non-profits come to rely on these donations as they are incorporated in the budget’s monthly (or quarterly) cash flow. They’re able to plan effectively for where these funds are distributed.
Shousher’s style of giving is a great reminder we can all make a huge difference in our community no matter the kinds of resources we possess. Our thanks and congratulations go to Shousher, and we wish her success in her future philanthropic pursuits!
Image: Yasmeen Shousher and her father Hussien at the 2013 ANERA Annual Dinner
Where Diversity and Philanthropy Meet
An abundance of studies in the past few years have shed light on the tremendous value of diversity in the workplace. Not only can working with a wider variety of people help open our minds and encourage us to voice our opinions, it can also help boost creativity, drive economic growth, and reverse deep-seated trends of discrimination and structural disadvantage. According to the results of a recent study by scholars at the University of Minnesota, diversity in the workplace can also bear a considerable influence on our patterns of charitable giving.
In the study, researchers looked at 16,000 people from different walks of life and analyzed the influence different social groups had on the levels of contribution to a workplace charity drive. The results? Employees’ perceptions of themselves and their role in the world changed considerably depending on who they worked with. Having more women in the office encouraged men to give more money, and work units with a greater number of minority employees meant greater levels of donations by minority employees at large.
The implications of the study extend well beyond the limits of the workplace, impacting, in the words of the researchers, “the broader society” as a whole. It seems we can never overestimate the power in diversifying our worlds.
Photo courtesy Lafayette College
'Arab Americans Stories' wins national award for diversity
The documentary series “Arab American Stories,” produced by Detroit Public Television (DPTV) and PBS, was recently selected to win a Belva Davis Broadcaster Award from the SAG-AFTRA American Scene Awards for presenting a “varied and multifaceted view of Arab Americans from all walks of life.”
The American Scene Awards honors productions in the industry that realistically portray the “American Scene” by intelligently and progressively employing the talents of diverse ethnicity, people with disabilities, women, seniors, and other misrepresented or underrepresented groups.
“This series has given audiences an opportunity to learn about the significant contributions of those featured to their professions, communities and the world at large in a format which is highly entertaining and relatable,” said Jenny O’Hara, co-chair of the SAG-AFTRA Honors and Tributes Committee.
"We’re extremely pleased that ‘Arab American Stories’ has been selected to receive this honor," said DPTV President and CEO Rich Homberg. "The series explores the diversity of the Arab American experience and we thank SAG-AFTRA for recognizing the power of public media to promote greater understanding of misrepresented or underrepresented groups in our communities."
Based on the Emmy Award-winning success of “Arab American Stories”, Detroit Public Television, in cooperation with public television stations and local libraries, has also launched a series of community events in cities throughout America to increase public understanding of Arab American contributions to society. The outreach project is funded by a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek, Mich.
- ‘Secret Life of the American Teenager’ Honored by SAG-AFTRA for Diversity (The Wrap)
- TV’s Arab American stories brings viewers close to home (The Arab American News)
- Detroit Public Television wins national award for ‘Arab American Stories’ (Michiguide.com)
Fall Grantee Roundup
Mark your calendars! Our fall grantees are offering an endless lineup of opportunities for Arabic-style fun and education. Sign up for Arabic classes with Mizna, engage in cross-cultural dialogue with the Iraqi Art Project (organized by the Iraqi American Reconciliation Project), treat your ears with Al-Bustan’s Arab Music Concert Series, or check out any number of events near you.
Interested in Arabic music, dance, and culture? Spend your Friday night out with Arabiqa, a musical performance by Karim Nagi hosted by the Center for Arabic Culture (CAC) in Cambridge, MA. Nagi will be performing on a number of traditional Arabic instruments, combining song and storytelling to reveal “the humanity and creative excitement of the Arab people.” The CAC is also gearing up for this year’s QUWA Conference on Strengthening Nonprofit Leadership, which takes place in November.
If you find yourself in San Francisco, be sure not to miss this month’s screening of Wham! Bam! Islam! – the story behind the first ever team of Muslim superheroes. The Arab Cultural and Community Center (ACCC) is hosting a screening of the film on Sept. 28, followed by a panel discussion with local Arab and Muslim artists. One week later (on Oct. 5), the ACCC will be putting on its 19th Annual Arab Cultural Festival in celebration of “the golden era of Arab music.”
Meanwhile, in Atlanta, CAAP’s founder Maha Freij, will be delivering the keynote address at the 4th Annual Alif Institute Gala honoring Arab American high achievers. Readers in Atlanta can also attend Know Your Rights, an educational presentation geared to equip Arab Americans with a working knowledge of the law.
For more upcoming events and opportunities near you, be sure to browse through our complete list of fall grantees.
Help us win Microsoft match funding for our youth philanthropists!
We recently gathered Ahmad, Mayla and Marwa, members of our Teen Grantmaking Initiative (TGI) to reflect on their program experience. "It was fantastic … I learned so many things, I definitely felt like I did make a big change in the community," Ahmad said about his first year in CAAP’s Teen Grantmaking Initiative (TGI).
TGI is eligible to compete for matching funds from Microsoft, and we need your help! Starting Tuesday, September 24 at noon EST, donations* will be matched dollar-for-dollar by Microsoft. All you have to do is click HERE or HERE to have your donation matched!
*Match limit is $1,000 per project per donor.
"I really, really like Detroit":
Nicholas Mukhtar, catalyst for change
For the last several years, Detroit has been the focal point of the Great Recession: events like the government bailout of GM and Chrysler, the abandoned building tourism industry, and the city’s declaration of bankruptcy have all received an abundance of media attention.
Despite this, bright hopefuls still aim to make positive change happen for Detroit and its residents. CAAP recently sat down with Nicholas Mukhtar, founder of nonprofit Healthy Detroit. Nick is a second-generation Iraqi-American, aspiring surgeon, and is fairly close to finishing his Master’s of Public Health.
Overcoming significant obstacles and ignoring derision from voices that told him not to “waste his time on Detroit,” Nicholas Mukhtar saw an opportunity to collaborate with government and nonprofit entities, as well as Detroit citizens, in order to form a new, health-centered nonprofit.
CAAP: Tell us a little bit about your organization.
Nicholas Mukhtar: Healthy Detroit is the first organization in the U.S. to act on the federal government’s National Prevention Strategy. Healthy Detroit aims to provide education and resources to the citizens of Detroit in order to empower residents to make healthy choices.
We are currently in the planning stages of a “Healthy Detroit schools” curriculum, and we anticipate the groundbreaking of a major “healthpark” initiative. We’re looking at a 3 year building process, which will result in innovative recreation centers in 7 Detroit districts that incorporate preventative care measures, and will be staffed by medical students.
CAAP: What have been some major successes and challenges with forming Healthy Detroit?
NM: Overwhelmingly, we have had success in working with great partners, including individuals, schools, nonprofits, and government entities. I feel like this is a perfect time for Healthy Detroit to begin to solve problems.
One challenge would be learning how to be a CEO and the many demands that come with the position; there is a lot that goes into running a successful nonprofit beyond just helping people.
CAAP: Who or what inspired you to get into this work?
NM: I believe we can save a lot of lives without cutting people open. My mom is a major inspiration, she’s been battling cancer for 12 years. My dad, an immigrant, encouraged me to work hard for my dreams.
Also, I really, really like Detroit.
CAAP: We believe that a philanthropist is anyone who gives their time, talent or treasure to a cause. Do you see yourself as a philanthropist?
NM: I do see myself as a social entrepreneur and a philanthropist. I believe that if you can help, you should. Even though Detroit’s issues are bigger than me, you take what’s there and you work with it.
We look forward to hearing more from Nick and Healthy Detroit soon! Learn more about Healthy Detroit by visiting their website.
Center for Arab American Philanthropy
2651 Saulino Ct.
Dearborn, MI 48120