“Overwhelmed by the sea of white tents”: Medical researcher visits Syrians in refugee camps
Dr. Adnan Hammad (pictured above), Senior Director of the ACCESS Community Health and Research Center, recently visited two refugee camps on the border of Syria and Turkey. Some excerpts from his experience are below, and his full account can be read here.
“I recently had the opportunity to visit the Islahyaa and Kilis refugee camps on the border of Antakya, Turkey, and Aleppo, Syria, where we are working collaboratively with Gaziantep University Medical School of Turkey on a mental health research assessment and intervention program. When I first arrived at the camps, I was overwhelmed by the sea of white tents, which house more than 10,000 refugees.”
“A majority of the camp residents (about 82 percent) are children and women, many of whom suffer from PTSD and acute trauma. I saw hundreds of children lining up for school, which is basically a tent classroom. Two hours later, we could hear shelling from a roaring fighter jet attacking those who were trying to escape to safety. This caused panic among the children in the camp school as they left their classrooms, fleeing and running about aimlessly.
The refugees have adapted to living here but always hope to return home, beyond the high mountains. As of Feb. 23, the day before my visit, 500 babies had been born in the Kilis camp. We can only hope that these little ones will have better memories than their traumatized brothers and sisters.”
“My visits to these camps raised immense concerns, not only about the mental and physical health of the Syrian refugees in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, but also about their security and vulnerability. ACCESS, in partnership with Gaziantep and Wayne State universities, will be further exploring these concerns through a PTSD assessment of refugees in three camps. We will need a lot of help from our partners to make our impact across all the camps.”
Earlier this year, CAAP raised more than $65,000 for Syrian refugee relief. Although our campaign is over, the need is still great. Visit our website to see our list of recommended NGOs for donors looking to support Syrians in refugee camps across the Middle East.
Engaging minorities through social justice philanthropy
In preparation for World Day of Social Justice on Feb. 20, CAAP suggests you read a new report from the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP), titled “Real Results: Why Strategic Philanthropy is Social Justice Philanthropy.” The report argues that strategic and impactful philanthropy must look at prioritizing and engaging underserved communities because “by and large, philanthropists do not invest at significant levels with the explicit intention of benefitting underserved and marginalized communities.” How can foundations and individuals make their giving more strategic? The authors of NCRP’s report – Niki Jagpal and Kevin Laskowski – challenge grantmakers and philanthropists to take a social justice approach through doing the following:
- Make your philanthropy truly impactful by combing strategic giving* with social justice**. In other words, have clear goals and measurable impact for your giving, while also prioritizing and empowering underserved communities and focusing on social and systematic change.
- Create structural change by funding advocacy, community organizing, civic engagement and other related activities.
- Increase grant dollars benefitting marginalized communities, especially in the areas of arts and culture, environment, education, and health. For example, the report points out that regardless of socioeconomic status, students with exposure to the arts are more likely to graduate high school and attend college.
- Mobilize grassroots organizations that work with and on behalf of underserved groups.
- Provide the type of support that organizations need. For example, many organizations report a strong need for general operating and multi-year funding, but grantmakers for the most part prefer to fund project support.
- Continue to evaluate the impact of your philanthropy. Solicit feedback from your grantees to learn how you’re making a difference and how you can improve.
The Center for Arab American Philanthropy (CAAP) can help you be more strategic with your giving to Arab Americans and other minority communities. Contact us to learn more, and also view our 2013 Request for Proposals to learn about our current general operating support grant opportunity for Arab American organizations focusing on social justice issues. Follow along with us Feb. 20 on Twitter for #SocialJusticeDay.
*Strategic philanthropy means to have clearly defined goals and strategies to achieve those goals, as well as looking at who benefits from your philanthropy and how.
** Foundation Center’s definition of social justice philanthropy is “the granting of philanthropic contributions to nonprofit organizations based in the United States and other countries that work for structural change in order to increase the opportunity of those who are the least well off politically, economically and socially.” What distinguishes this field of philanthropy from others is that it addresses the core causes of injustices, rather than symptoms.
Take advantage of the charitable tax deduction
Are you getting the most out of your charitable giving? Charities fought a hard battle to protect the tax deduction last year, worried that any governmental changes regarding the charitable tax deduction would reduce individual giving. For most people, receiving tax benefits is not their sole incentive to give to nonprofit causes, but donors should take advantage of the deduction while it remains at its current level (individuals can deduct 30-50 percent of their income). This article by Independent Sector details the government’s tax benefits extension, and how it affects individuals and nonprofit organizations.
Only individuals who qualify to itemize their deductions are able to take advantage of the charitable tax deduction. Additionally, the government has introduced new regulations regarding tax deductions — mostly related to contributions from your IRA and the giving of non-cash items. These regulations, and other considerations such as appropriating the value of in-kind goods or services, may be good to keep in mind when filing your taxes this year.
One of the benefits of establishing a donor-advised fund at a community foundation is receiving an immediate tax deduction when you make contributions to your fund. Some donors say this function makes their charitable giving easier to itemize during tax season. Check with your financial advisor to make sure you are receiving the full benefit of your 2012 charitable gifts.
- Over 40 nonprofit officials and experts to testify on charitable deduction (Chronicle of Philanthropy)
- Gifts to charity pay off for everyone (Yahoo! Finance)
- On the charitable tax deduction (Philanthropy in AAction)
- A flourishing donor-advised fund (Philanthropy in AAction)
Photo credit StockMonkeys.com
The future of philanthropy is diverse
How will America’s growing diversity contribute to the future of philanthropy? A new report commissioned by New Ventures in Philanthropy, the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers and the Council on Foundations Community Foundation Leadership Team addresses the ways that America’s growing diversity will contribute to the future of philanthropy. A selection of the trends include:
1) An increase in racial and ethnic diversity across communities
- Mainstream philanthropy will need to adjust to needs of varied populations
- Creates potential for community-based giving pools, many who may have their own giving traditions rooted in their heritage
2) A growth in high-wealth donors of color
- Drives creation of identity-based funds
- The philanthropy sector as a whole will need to identify and reach new high-wealth communities of color, or risk losing influence
- These donors will be poised to create solutions in their own communities - formerly thought of as “needy”
3) Diaspora philanthropy will thrive
- Foreign-born Americans seek to support relations “back home”
- Aggregates to $50-$100 billion each year
- Community foundations and other strategic giving vehicles will seek to accommodate diaspora giving
4) Diversified faith-based giving, with strategic Muslim philanthropy becoming more prominent
- Across all religions, more active clusters of faith-based donors
- Niche institutions will support these donors
The rest of the trends are available in Donors of the Future: 12 Key Trends and What They Mean for the New Giving Landscape. CAAP is committed to serving the needs of our diverse constituency through a variety of giving vehicles. Visit our website to learn more.
- Diversity and donors of the future (Minnesota Council on Foundations)
- Diaspora philanthropy (Philanthropy in AAction)
Photo courtesy Jose Luis Mieza Photography
Now accepting proposals for our 2013 Operational Support Grant Program
The Center for Arab American Philanthropy (CAAP) is seeking proposals for its 2013 grantmaking program. A total of $53,000 will be granted to Arab American organizations working for social justice and other issues.
Grants up to $7,000 each will be awarded to Arab American community organizations seeking general operating support. CAAP will put priority this year on organizations actively working to address social justice issues (equal, fair treatment and portrayal) of Arab Americans through various programs including advocacy, arts and culture, human rights, community organizing, civic engagement, economic development, educational reform and access, healthcare access, housing and shelter, and other areas.
Download the grant application here.
Funds for this year’s grantmaking are made available through the contributions of CAAP’s Professional Advisory Board , as well as other individual donors.
CAAP is the only national Arab American philanthropic support organization in the United States. It builds on the tradition of Arab American giving by working with donors to invest their charitable dollars in organizations and programs making the greatest impact.
Click here for more information.
Photo courtesy CAAP grantee Alif Institute
I am a Philanthropist: Diverse Voices in Giving
The D5 Coalition’s latest film features an array of donors from the Midwest U.S. who embody populations that have been underrepresented in the world of philanthropy. We are very proud that CAAP Board Member Wadad Abed was chosen to participate as an Arab American philanthropist. Thanks to D5 and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors for funding CAAP this past year and for all the hard work they are doing to promote equity, inclusion and diversity in philanthropy!
Philanthropy comes in many flavors: Different types of foundations
Part of our Philanthropy A-Z series
With more than 1.2 million public charities and foundations in the U.S., it can be confusing to sort out the differences between the types of foundations. The term “foundation” is applied somewhat liberally, but the general definition of a foundation is a nonprofit, non-governmental organization set up to donate money to causes chosen by its donors and board of directors. Structural differences in foundations may vary greatly, but most foundations have:
- their own board of directors
- at least a portion of their assets invested in an endowment, and
- grant money on at least a yearly basis.
The different types of foundations include:
- Public foundations, which according to the Council of Michigan Foundations, are nongovernmental public charities that operate grant programs benefiting unrelated organizations or individuals as one of its primary purposes. There is no legal or IRS definition of a public foundation. Increasingly, public foundations have been established to receive funds and make grants for populations with special needs, for specific subject areas, or around other non-geographic communities of interest.
- Private foundations, of which there are more than 120,000 in the U.S., are usually founded by one individual, often by bequest. They sometimes face public scrutiny due to the autonomy of their grantmaking priorities, which do not require public input.
- Community foundations are usually location based, and are set up to support the charitable activities of a town or other geographic area through mutual investment from community members. Community foundations also house donor-advised funds, much like a bank houses accounts. There are more than 1400 community foundations worldwide, with half of those operating in the U.S.
- Family foundations are a type of private foundation whose funds are derived from members of a single family. At least one family member must continue to serve as an officer or board member. Family foundation board members have 100 percent control over their grantmaking decisions. The largest operating family foundation today is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which has an endowment of more than $36 billion. Many celebrities like to set up foundations to strategically support causes that matter to them, such as the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.
- For the past 100 years or so, the philanthropic sector has been dominated by white males, and grants largely ignored the needs of minority populations. Ethnic foundations were created to change this convention and to put a new face on philanthropy. A great example of an ethnic foundation is The Potlach Fund, which focuses on expanding philanthropy within Tribal Nationals and Native communities in the Northwest, United States.
- Corporate foundations represent the charitable giving arm of a corporation; their funds derive from corporate profits (and employee donations), and their funding priorities often relate to the mission or product of the company. For example, the Newman’s Own Foundation supports nutrition programs for children, appropriate for a company that makes its money selling food products.
Of course, these are only a few types of foundations, and hybrid variations definitely exist - like the Center for Arab American Philanthropy (based on a community foundation model, but focused on supporting an ethnic group). Do you know of any foundations? What causes do they support? Leave a comment below!
- Andrew Carnegie and sustained strategic giving (Philanthropy in AAction)
- The D5 Coalition: Building equity, diversity and inclusion (Philanthropy in AAction)
Photo courtesy QuintanaRoo
CAAP & NNAAC partner to strengthen Arab American civil society
AAANY youth organizer registering people to vote for 2012 elections
The National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC) and the Center for Arab American Philanthropy (CAAP) are pleased to announce they will be granting $45,000 to three NNAAC member organizations that were highly engaged in the 2012 elections, thanks to a grant from the Ford Foundation. The grants will serve as matching funds for the Arab American Action Network (AAAN) of Chicago, the Arab American Association of New York (AAANY) and the Arab Cultural & Community Center (ACCC) of San Francisco to hire field organizers. These new staff positions will allow the three organizations an opportunity to bring their advocacy and civic engagement work to the next level.
NNAAC’s Advocacy and Civic Engagement Program (ACE) is a key aspect of the Network’s mission – to provide assistance and opportunities for Network members to build their capacity and engage in advocacy and civic engagement activities and campaigns. In 2013, NNAAC’s ACE work will focus on immigrant rights, equal access to education for all, support for vital social service programs, and on an ending to racial profiling.
As part of CAAP’s 2013 goals, we are expanding our grantmaking to support Arab American organizations actively working to increase the social justice (equal, fair treatment and representation) of Arab Americans through various programs including advocacy, immigrant rights, community-organizing, and civic engagement.
CAAP and NNAAC are pleased to support these excellent grassroots organizations as they continue to perform critical social justice work on the ground. You can learn more about CAAP’s grantmaking by visiting our website, and you can keep up with NNAAC’s advocacy and civic engagement work on its blog.
TGI is giving up to $5,000 to organizations that provide education and health services for Detroit area youth
The Teen Grantmaking Initiative (TGI), a project of the Center for Arab American Philanthropy (CAAP), today announced its 2013 request for proposals from organizations that serve young people in metro Detroit. TGI will award grants of between $1,000 and $2,000 to nonprofits that address educational success or improved health outcomes for youth in the community.
- The 2013 request for proposals can be found online at www.centeraap.org.
This will be the second round of grant-making conducted by TGI, the only Arab American youth philanthropy program in the United States. Last year, the group awarded grants totaling $4,600 to 12 organizations. Some of the programs they funded target HIV and teen pregnancy prevention, develop life skills for teen mothers, and provide after-school tutoring and sports programs for low-income students.
“Last year we conducted a needs assessment among youth in the community,” said Rasha Khanafer, 16, TGI youth chair. “Based on the results of the needs assessment, we decided to focus our current grantmaking on supporting the academic success of youth and meeting the health needs of youth. We are excited about impacting the lives of youth in our community through these program areas.”
Launched by CAAP in 2011, TGI is a group of 20 high school students committed to making an impact in their communities through fund-raising, grant-making and community service.
“The group was formed to make a lasting impact on local youth by deepening their understanding of philanthropy and community service, and by nurturing the future generation of leaders making a difference in their community,” said Jamie Kim, TGI adult advisor.
“The youth have worked hard this past year learning about the issues impacting youth in their communities,” said Kim. “Through the process of grant-making, youth gain valuable skills in nonprofit program management, consensus building and grant review.”
Syrian refugee relief results
Earlier this year, we launched an emergency campaign to aid Syrians who have lost their homes as a result of the ongoing crisis. The latest estimates from the United Nations Refugee Agency place the number of Syrian refugees at more than 500,000. We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of generosity from so many of you who helped us raise $55,345 for emergency relief for thousands of refugees. With a 25 percent match from CAAP’s Disaster Relief Fund, the grand total is more than $65,000.
The funds will be distributed to Catholic Relief Services, Questscope, Mercy Corps, Life for Relief and Development and UNICEF-United States Fund. These organizations are providing much needed basic resources and services to Syrian refugees within the country and in the surrounding countries of Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. Thank you all for your concern and support. You can learn more about CAAP’s disaster relief efforts by visiting our website.
Center for Arab American Philanthropy
2651 Saulino Ct.
Dearborn, MI 48120