Arab American students receive scholarships for commitment to community
Four Arab American students were recently awarded scholarships from the Michigan-based Community Choice Credit Union Foundation. Nadeen Dakhlallah (top), Mohamed Ghandour (top), Zied Shammout (bottom), and Noor Shammout (bottom) have committed to stay in Michigan for their college education and to give back to their communities. All four scholars join a network of 101 Community Choice Scholars who are helping to end “brain drain” in Michigan, a state which has seen the largest loss of its college-educated population over the last decade.
All four of the students plan to pursue healthcare degrees, and foresee making a great impact in the community through their future careers. For more on these scholars, please visit the CCCU website. We at the Center for Arab American Philanthropy offer our congratulations and wish you all the best of luck!
Servant leadership: Adopting a philanthropic mentality to achieve success
A recent study by business administration professor Edward D. Hess analyzed the leadership of the most successful American corporations, such as The Home Depot, Best Buy, UPS, Ritz Carlton, Whole Foods, and Starbucks. Popular television programs like “Mad Men” and “House of Cards” tend to portray leaders as commanding, well-educated and ruthless in the pursuit of their personal and professional goals.
After researching the heads of these corporations, Hess found that the characteristics of successful corporate leaders belied the fictional portrayals of their counterparts. Instead, these leaders embodied what is known as the “servant leader.” Originally coined by Robert K. Greenleaf in 1970, the “‘servant leader’ focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong…the servant leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible.”
The humble servant leader is not only focused on the success of their organization, but also the overall well-being of society. Adopting the mentality of a servant leader means embodying the spirit of philanthropy in all personal and professional endeavors, by concerning themselves with the needs of the less able and cultivating a better society from the office outward.
- Develop a generous organizational culture, reap far-reaching rewards (Philanthropy in AAction)
- Servant leadership: A path to high performance (Washington Post)
- Nine qualities of the servant leader (Skip Prichard)
Photo courtesy Flickr
Strong roots, lasting vision
Like the branches of the cedar tree for which the country is famous, the Lebanese diaspora has spread far and wide. An estimated 15-20 million Lebanese live outside the country, dwarfing Lebanon’s population of 4.3 million. Many of the diaspora have met with great success, and have also given back to society through various philanthropic initiatives.
Famous Columbian-Lebanese musician Shakira fulfilled a youthful promise to help underprivileged children in her home country by starting the Piez Descalzos Fundación in 1997, which provides education and meals to over 4000 students. She has also supported various social causes around the world through various charity concerts.
The world’s richest man, Mexican-Lebanese Carlos Slim, is also one of the world’s biggest givers. In 2011, he contributed $4 billion to his foundation, Fundación Carlos Slim Helú. The foundation’s programs address a range of education, health, and economic development issues.
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the number one children’s hospital in the U.S., was founded by two Lebanese Americans: television producer Danny Thomas and car salesman Anthony Abraham. Although both are now deceased, their work lives on through the life-saving work of St. Jude.
These examples represent members of the Lebanese diaspora that have decided to give back through strategic charitable initiatives. We look forward to discovering the ways the far-flung Arab diaspora community will continue to affect social change.
- The Lebanese diaspora: A tale of two traders (The Economist)
- The Global Impact of the Lebanese Diaspora Philanthopy (Hand Foundation)
- Remembering Anthony Abraham (Archdiocese of Miami)
- Lebanese-American gives back, interview with Zeina Saab (International Diaspora Engagement Alliance)
Image courtesy ecstaticist
CAAP Board Members bring smiles and safe play to Palestine
CAAP Board Members and philanthropists Basem and Muna Hishmeh recently traveled to Palestine for the opening of the second of 40 playgrounds they are helping to build in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. CAAP staff member Katy Hanway recently spoke with Muna Hishmeh about the playground project and their experience in Palestine:
Katy: How did you decide that this was an important project to take on?
Muna: Many Palestinian children do not have safe places to play. Too many children play in the street, which can be really dangerous. There have been a few reports of children getting hit by cars, and in one village, three young boys died because they suffocated while playing in an old refrigerator on the side of the road. We dedicated our most recent playground to those boys. It’s important for us to build the playgrounds in safe areas away from major roads, and also for the playgrounds to be handicap and wheel-chair accessible.
Katy: So you plan on building 40 playgrounds?
Muna: Yes, so far with the help of our partners, we’ve raised over $1 million, which will build 40 playgrounds throughout Palestine. We’ve opened two playgrounds so far in villages in the West Bank, and two or three more will open in April. A lot of children came to the most recent playground opening; they were shy but seemed very excited.
Katy: Who were your partners on this project?
Muna: We worked with the Bank of Palestine, ANERA, other generous individual donors, as well as local NGOs in Palestine. It costs around $40,000 per playground, so it’s really important to work with the local organizations. The Palestinian municipalities provide the land and maintain the playground for safety, and all equipment is purchased locally and the workers are Palestinians. Also, ANERA representatives are onsite to oversee the construction.
Katy: What are the challenges of building these playgrounds?
Muna: Well, some areas in these villages are very hilly so it’s difficult to make the playgrounds wheel-chair accessible. Also, it’s important that we maintain regular correspondence with our partners in Palestine so we can ensure the playgrounds are maintained and all necessary repairs are made. We plan on maintaining a small endowed fund at the Bank of Palestine for repairs in the future.
Katy: What advice would you offer to others who want to start such projects?
Muna: The best thing you can do is partner with the local people and work with great humanitarian organizations like ANERA.
To learn more or to contribute to this effort, please contact ANERA.
Giving in the aftermath of a crisis
When tragedies like the the Boston Marathon bombing occur, concerned citizens want to respond immediately to support victims and their families. Unfortunately, some scammers are trying to profit from donors’ goodwill by setting up fake charities. Responding to a sudden tragedy requires donor diligence, and even a little strategy, to make sure that your donation goes through the appropriate channels. The Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance has posted 10 cautions related to online giving after the Boston Marathon tragedy.
We recommend two charities that meet CAAP’s due-diligence standards: the Salvation Army and the Red Cross. Additionally Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino have set up a new centralized fund to help families affected by the tragedy. Supported by the Boston Foundation and called The One Fund Boston*, contributions can be made through onefundboston.org.
Donors that establish a donor-advised fund at the Center for Arab American Philanthropy are provided with the expertise and due diligence necessary to effectively support nonprofits that respond to emergencies such as the Boston Marathon bombing.
*The One Fund Boston, Inc. has applied for 501c3 status. If approved by the IRS, individual contributions to The One Fund will be retroactively tax-exempt as of the organization’s formation date of 4/16/2013.
Photo courtesy Reuters
TGI Members make site visits to Metro Detroit education and health nonprofits
Members of CAAP’s Teen Grantmaking Initiative (TGI) recently visited two of their potential grantee organizations. Site visits are a great opportunity for the youth to learn more about the health and educational programs they are considering funding in 2013. Student Leadership Services is a youth-led initiative that trains students in school-based health initiatives. The Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation is dedicated to preserving and revitalizing the Grandmont Rosedale communities of northwest Detroit by organizing a wide range of community improvement programs. Thank you to our hosts for being generous with their time and resources - the youth had a great experience, and are looking forward to revealing their grantmaking decisions in the coming weeks!
Develop a generous organizational culture, reap far-reaching rewards
Imagine if more of us were more generous at our jobs — a place where many of us spend a sizable chunk of our day? What would the effects be in other spheres of our lives? Organizational psychologist Adam Grant’s newest book Give and Take discusses motivation, workplace altruism, and personal success.
Grant’s main argument is that the greatest untapped source of motivation is a “sense of service to others” that enables us to focus on the impact of our work on the lives of others — which can even include an act as simple as responding to an email from a coworker.
“Givers motivate themselves to avoid complacency by focusing on the benefits to others if they succeed and worrying about disappointing them if they fail,” Grant writes.
Give and Take designates three categories for personal motivation: givers, matchers and takers. “Givers” are the most altruistic, and do not expect to gain anything in return for serving others. “Matchers” identify opportunities for reciprocity when they help another. “Takers” are generous solely for personal gain. Most people tested fall into the “matcher” category.
A New York Times article about the book summarizes: “The most successful givers are those who rate high in concern for others but also in self-interest. And they are strategic in their giving — they give to other givers and matchers, so that their work has the maximum desired effect; they are cautious about giving to takers; they give in ways that reinforce their social ties; and they consolidate their giving into chunks, so that the impact is intense enough to be gratifying.”
A major point of the book is that helping others is the key to success and personal fulfillment, but Grant’s research provides a great reminder that we should be giving in all aspects of our lives. How can you begin, right now, to be more generous with simple acts throughout your day?
Photo courtesy The New York Times, photograph by Art Streiber. Set design: Fi Campbell and Tam Reid/Stillsets. Clothing stylist: Vanessa Shokrian.
April is Arab American Heritage Month
Arab immigrants and their descendants have made important contributions to the growth of this country. As doctors and scientists, engineers, bankers, teachers, entrepreneurs and entertainers – and so much more – Arab contributions and heritage are woven inextricably into the fabric of American society. Arab American Heritage Month presents a great opportunity to celebrate and recognize the achievements of Arab Americans throughout our history.
The Center for Arab American Philanthropy (CAAP), founded in 2006 to develop, support and enhance a culture of giving within the Arab American community, is the only national, full-service philanthropic institution in the Arab American community. Through education, asset-building and grantmaking, CAAP supports and celebrates Arab American philanthropy, giving Arab Americans the ability to leverage our giving in support of the issues, causes and organizations we care passionately about.
We encourage you to learn more about Khalil Gibran, Dr. Michael DeBakey, Zainab Salbi, and the many other Arab Americans who are making an impact. Our sister organization, the Arab American National Museum, is a great resource for learning more about Arab Americans’ contributions to U.S. society. Happy Arab American Heritage Month!
Celebrate with us at ACCESS’ 42nd Anniversary Dinner on April 27! We’ll be honoring Diane Rehm and Dr. Marwan Abouljoud as Arab Americans of the Year!
We knew we could count on YOU(th)!
CAAP’s Teen Grantmaking Initiative (TGI) recently participated in a national online fundraising competition against 128 nonprofits that serve youth. Microsoft provided matching funds through their YouthSpark initiative, which is designed to empower young people through education, employment and entrepreneurship opportunities.
Thanks to community support and the match from Microsoft, TGI raised more than $70,000 that will go toward:
- the teen’s grantmaking fund, which will support Detroit-area education and health nonprofits in 2013,
- expanding the program to New York,
- TGI’s participation at National Arab American Service Day,
- creating a youth-led video documentary of the program,
- and sending TGI to the Council of Michigan Foundation’s Summer Youth Leadership Conference, held every year for youth grantmaking groups from around Michigan.
Thank you to all our donors for supporting Arab American youth philanthropy! You can read more about the challenge and view a special TGI feature on Microsoft’s website.
Diane Rehm and Marwan Abouljoud named Arab Americans of the Year
CAAP is pleased to announce that journalist Diane Rehm and surgeon Dr. Marwan Abouljoud have been named Arab Americans of the Year by ACCESS, CAAP’s parent organization. They will be honored at the prestigious 42nd Annual ACCESS Anniversary Dinner on Saturday, April 27 in Detroit, Mich.
Diane Rehm hosts The Diane Rehm Show on WAMU in Washington D.C. The program is distributed nationally by National Public Radio. In 30 years as host of the program, Rehm has interviewed a long list of notables, including then-Sen. Barack Obama, former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Nobel Laureate and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Toni Morrison. In 2000, she became the first radio talk show host to interview a sitting president (Clinton) in the Oval Office.
As director of the Transplant Institute at Henry Ford Hospital, Dr. Marwan Abouljoud has led transplant surgery at Henry Ford to national and international recognition. He was born in Beirut in 1960, one of seven children. During the civil war there he was a medical volunteer, assisting in caring for the wounded. He received his undergraduate and medical degrees from the American University of Beirut and completed his surgical residency at the University of Michigan and Henry Ford Hospital. He did his transplant fellowship at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, and at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas.
Click here to purchase individual tickets for the ACCESS dinner online. For sponsorship information contact Rose Asi at 313-842-4749 or click here for more information.
Center for Arab American Philanthropy
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