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.
2012 Holiday Gift Guide
Some of the best holiday gifts are the ones that keep on giving. That’s what happens when you use your gift-giving as a way to support nonprofit organizations. With that in mind, in this Holiday Gift Guide we highlight our 2012 grantee partners. You can support their important work by giving great gifts that friends and family are sure to treasure.
1) Favorite Arabic Foods Cookbook from the Arab American Association of New York (AAANY)
AAANY’s Adult Education ESL and pre-GED programs are proud to present their Favorite Arabic Foods cookbook, a collection of favorite recipes, food artwork and memories of cooking. Over the course of the summer, members of the class contributed a great deal of time, effort and expertise to produce the book, which features over 80 pages of delicious recipes and beautiful designs by Razan Tayeh. At every level of English-language learning, from beginning literacy through advanced conversation, students honed their English skills by writing recipes, telling stories about learning to cook, and teaching about national food traditions in Yemen, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Palestine and Jordan. Buy one here for $25 and support AAANY’s Adult Education programming.
Rough Hands tells the story of Mustapha, a forty-year-old barber in Casablanca. His clients are retired high-ranking government officials and power brokers. On the side, Mustapha has an underground business “facilitating” paperwork, using his privileged access to grease the wheels of bureaucracy. The film debuted in California this year at the AFF.
Habibi, a story of forbidden love, is the first fiction feature set in Gaza in 15 years. Two Palestinian students in the West Bank are forced to return home to Gaza, where their love defies tradition. To reach his lover Layla, Qays grafittis poetry across town. Habibi is a modern re-telling of the famous ancient Sufi parable Majnun Layla and premiered in Boston this year with the BPFF.
3) Al-Bustan’s 2013 Concert Series
Philadelphia-based Al-Bustan annually features internationally acclaimed guest artists performing with their resident takht music ensemble led by Music Director Hanna Khoury. In February, the ensemble will showcase original work from Kinan Abou-afach, a Syrian-born cellist and composer. The music will be augmented by artwork from Kevork Mourad, a Syrian visual artist. Tickets for this event and others can be purchased here for $30. Al-Bustan is also selling beautiful handmade coasters with their logo. Available by contacting them here.
We are so proud to partner with all of our 2012 grantees and encourage you to support their meaningful work.
P.S. Don’t forget to check out the store at our sister organization, the Arab American National Museum, for handcrafted holiday gifts from the Middle East!
- 2011 Holiday Gift Guide (Philanthropy in AAction)
Alighting a philanthropic flame in the Arab World
If you’ve been paying attention to the news over the past couple years, chances are you’ve noticed that 2011/2012 have been momentous years for institution-building in the Middle East. But what role does philanthropy play amidst the tumult of the Arab Spring?
Both Alliance and Effect philanthropy magazines, among others, have recently attempted to answer this question. Beginning in the early 2000s, the Arab World began establishing foundations for the arts, human rights, youth, and development. These grew slowly,partially from a lack of involvement from Western philanthropic organizations.
Now, sparked by the refusal of youth to wait for social change and a huge push for self-determination, a philanthropic flame has been lit in the Middle East. Arab World philanthropy leaders such as Atallah Kuttab, are calling for more local ownership of development programs that are relevant to societal needs and that fit within the context of the local culture.
Just as we encourage diversity in the U.S., diversity should also be encouraged in the Arab World. Since the beginning of the Arab Spring, minorities, women and youth have had a greater voice in politics and decision-making - and it should be the same for development and philanthropy.
And even though the philanthropy world has shown an increased interest in measurement, transparency, and demonstrating impact, foundations also need to be adaptable and make tough choices that may include taking more risks than usual. Some advocates are pushing for U.S. foundations to take on a greater role in the Middle East, and to collaborate more with local experts and foundations.
Travel philanthropy series - Voluntourism in Jordan
When you volunteer abroad, you have the opportunity to experience a new place, and to create a positive impact for people and the planet. As people who regularly travel while offering their time for local causes, “voluntourists” understand the reward that comes from sharing their talent and resources for the benefit of others.
Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI) has been building and subsidizing homes for families living in poverty since 1976. HFHI hosts international volunteer trips in partnership with their local chapters. Volunteers from abroad can sign up to help build homes in several different countries as part of HFHI’s “Global Village” program. Typically, the traveler covers the cost of their own flight and expenses. From Nov. 9-16, Habitat for Humanity Jordan is hosting a volunteer work trip to rural parts of the country. Volunteers will construct homes from concrete, and will also have opportunities for group activities in the evening. Participants often elect to take side trips to scenic parts of the country for some “R&R” after the work trip is finished. These international work trips, as well as helping out families through much-needed construction projects, also foster cross-cultural dialogue, mutual understanding and collaboration.
HFHI hosts several work trips a year to countries all over the world - keep your eye out for a trip that might interest you, and learn more about their Global Village program!
This post concludes CAAP’s 2012 travel philanthropy series, we hope that our articles have encouraged you to become a more responsible tourist. We’ve had a great time exploring destinations throughout the Middle East with you this summer!
Photo courtesy Ezra Millstein
Sports philanthropy and the 2012 London Olympic Games
The philanthropic legacy of the Olympics is both obvious (such as the Special Olympics that provide sports training for people with intellectual disabilities) and not immediately apparent. Fundamentally, the Olympics serve to inspire people around the world to play competitive sports and strive for excellence in our lives - as well as inspire loyalty to our home countries.
Playing sports has been shown to improve mental and physical health, reduce crime and bring communities together. Our own Teen Grantmaking Initiative recently distributed funds to several sports-oriented charities that serve youth in the Detroit metropolitan region.
Sports often inspire charitable contributions, as shown by a bet on tennis great Roger Federer’s recent Wimbledon win that ensured the charity Oxfam received a $157,000 donation. Even after major sports events reach their conclusion, many athletes partner with charities, and even start their own foundations to benefit causes that are important to them. By following sustainable practices, athletes wishing to donate through a foundation can keep giving back in perpetuity. This is evident in the legacies of foundations such as Livestrong, founded by Olympic cyclist Lance Armstrong, which has raised millions of dollars for cancer causes.
What begins with a worldwide event such as the Olympic Games often has a trickle-down effect that positively impacts communities for years to come. How will the 2012 Olympic Games inspire you to do more to give back?
- Sport for good: London’s Olympic legacy (Alliance)
- Arab League: A unique look at the Middle East’s aspiring women Olympians (Foreign Policy)
- Her participation will stun, inspire (Fox Sports)
Photo courtesy Brigitte Lacombe
Dalia Association drives “momentum for philanthropy”
The Dalia Association, Palestine’s first community foundation, has put out an open call for stories of Palestinian giving affecting real world change. The competition, “Momentum for Philanthropy,” encourages submissions of songs, poems, stories, photographs or videos, and the contest rules are as follows:
- Research real examples of Palestinians anywhere in the world who are giving back to their community. Giving can mean contributing financial resources, volunteerism, participating in organized philanthropic work, and more. Document the example in a story of 1,500 words or less, a video up to 3 minutes long, a poem, song or photo essay.
- Upload your examples to the Dalia Association contest site before the deadline of July 25, 2012. You may submit as many examples as you would like, but please submit each as a separate entry.
- Dalia Association will post qualifying entries on the competition blog and will promote their visibility through traditional and social media, and community organizing.
- A volunteer committee of youth activists will select winning entries in each category based on the inspiration of the example. Creativity and professionalism of the presentation are also considered. One grand prize will also be awarded, half of which will go to a youth organization of your choice.
- The winning applicants are informed and recognized at an exclusive awards ceremony in Ramallah in August, 2012.
- Dalia Association continues to disseminate winning and non-winning entries as part of its ongoing efforts to institutionalize and recognize Palestinian philanthropy around the globe.
We encourage you to think about entering the contest. Big ideas create big change! After all, CAAP was founded by a Palestinian immigrant to the United States, Maha Freij! For more information about the competition, please visit the Dalia Association’s website.
- Travel philanthropy series - Palestine tour offers dose of “reality” (Philanthropy in AAction)
Photo courtesy Razan Ghazzawi
Travel philanthropy series - Palestine tour offers dose of “reality”
Throughout the summer we are bringing you a series of Middle Eastern destinations that allow you to practice a little philanthropy along the way. This month we are pleased to spotlight the “Reality Tours” hosted by Global Exchange, an international nonprofit dedicated to promoting social, environmental and economic justice, as well as a recent grantee of our Teen Grantmaking Initiative.
Global Exchange’s Reality Tours are meant to promote “experiential education” by exposing travelers to less-traveled destinations that have a history of injustice - and present possible solutions to that injustice. Reality Tours offer more than 100 delegations each year to more than 40 destinations that address contemporary political, economic, environmental, and cultural issues around the world.
A notable Reality Tour destination is Palestine, where visitors have the opportunity to volunteer with local farmers during the olive harvest from Oct 26-Nov 4. These Palestinian olive farms are Fair Trade Certified - which helps ensure that workers are paid fairly, the products are grown sustainably, and that farmers have access to international markets. This trip will underscore the benefits of supporting Palestinian Fair Trade products in the U.S. as a way to promote solidarity between internationals and Palestinian farming communities. Travelers will also take part in Oktoberfest in Taybeh, which features traditional Palestinian dance, music, and (of course) food!
The Center for Arab American Philanthropy encourages you to keep a philanthropic mindset wherever you go this summer! Check out the rest of our travel philanthropy series, and learn more about us by visiting our website.
- Travel philanthropy series - Destination: Morocco (Philanthropy in AAction)
Photo courtesy Global Exchange
Travel philanthropy series - Destination: Morocco
The term “summer vacation” often invokes images of sandy beaches and poolside refreshments. This year, why not make your summer travel count towards a cause? “Travel philanthropy” is increasing in popularity as more and more tourists want to make a positive impact on the world through their globetrotting.
Fortunately, organizations like Elevate Destinations offer several types of tours that give back to both people and the planet. Their “donor travel” itineraries take philanthropists abroad to demonstrate the impact of their contributions to international non-governmental organizations. The company also arranges private tours that allow groups, individuals and families to experience a richer cultural and community exchange by showcasing the work of local nonprofit organizations along the way.
One such tour takes voyagers to Morocco. The two-week excursion explores the major cities of Marrakech, Fez, and Rabat while experiencing the work that community organizations like Association Merzouga are accomplishing in youth development, architectural/cultural preservation and environmental conservation. You can read more about the tour on Elevate Destinations’ website.
The Center for Arab American Philanthropy encourages you to keep a philanthropic mindset wherever you go this summer! Over the next few months, we’ll be taking you on a virtual tour of travel philanthropy destinations all over the Middle East.
Photo courtesy marcp_dmoz
Overcoming barriers to Arab American strategic giving
Ellen Remmer, founder of The Philanthropic Initiative (a firm that advises donors, families and foundations on strategic giving), posted an recent article in Alliance magazine discussing concerns that might impede donors from practicing philanthropy. While Remmer makes many solid points, and mentions family politics, privacy concerns and the lack of donor education on the philanthropic process, she neglects to consider culturally-specific barriers that would discourage strategic giving.
During a recent event hosted by the Center for Arab American Philanthropy (CAAP) and the Council of Michigan Foundations, Arab American philanthropists were asked the question, “What is the biggest obstacle to your participation in philanthropy?” While the answers varied, several themes emerged from the discussion.
9/11 and strategic giving
Largely due to the backlash that Arab and Muslim Americans have experienced since the terrorist attacks of 9/11, many potential donors are afraid to identify as Arab Americans, associate with Arab American organizations or celebrate their Arab American identity. There is a worry that if they donate to a certain organization (especially overseas), that organization may acquire undesired affiliates and thus, all donors to that organization will suffer negative consequences. In addition, some Arab Americans are reluctant to adopt new giving technology (such as text messaging donations), in fear that if their information is available online it will be used for harmful purposes. Due to these concerns and general distrust, many Arab Americans stopped giving outright after 9/11 - a trend that is slowly being reversed.
There is great power in participating in philanthropy as part of a cultural group. However, hailing from 22 states that share as many cultural, linguistic, political, and religious commonalities as differences, it can be difficult for first generation immigrants from the Arab World to adopt an Arab American identity. Even after a generation or two has passed, a tribal mentality persists as people identify themselves as Syrian American or Egyptian American, and groups are sometimes divided through events that happen in their home countries. These divisions constitute significant obstacles to a broad vision for Arab American philanthropy.
Adopting a new philanthropic mentality
For some respondents at our event, ignorance about strategic giving was the biggest obstacle. Philanthropy is a hard sell for many Arab Americans, based solely on the newness of the concept. In the Arab World, people are familiar with religious institutions and government entities, but not philanthropic institutions; foundations are a fairly new development in the Middle East. Additionally, there is a general conception that philanthropy is only practiced by the very wealthy, and less wealthy people often feel isolated from strategic giving.
CAAP helps break down barriers that prevent people from participating in philanthropy by promoting education about the power of giving among Arab American donors and leveraging individual philanthropy to create a more positive image of Arab American civic engagement in the United States. Further, philanthropy is for everyone, not only for the very wealthy, and CAAP is helping to change this misconception by engaging donors through mechanisms like giving circles and field-of-interest funds. Lastly, while many Arab Americans laid low following 9/11, for others it was an opportunity to embrace their background and promote their generous characters through charitable giving - a story that we continue to promote at CAAP.
CAAP provides a safe and culturally sensitive venue for charitable giving tailored to Arab Americans. Please contact us to let us know how we can help you meet your strategic giving goals.
Photo courtesy Valentina_A
Summer fun with CAAP grantees!
The Center for Arab American Philanthropy’s (CAAP) 2011 grantees have some great summer activities coming up. Check out the organizations local to you and your family for some Arab-centered fun this summer!
Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture - Philadelphia
Ibn Battuta in Ibn Battuta Mall in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Al-Bustan Camp is an Arabic culture and language camp that takes on a different theme every year. This year their summer camp will explore the life and times of 14th century traveler Ibn Battuta and his home country of Morocco. Open to children and youth of all ethnic, religious, and socio-economic backgrounds, “Al-Bustan”, Arabic for “The Garden”, encourages dialogue, respect, understanding, and celebrates diversity.
Center for Arabic Culture (CAC) - Boston
June 25-July 6
For the first time, CAC is hosting a week-long Arabic culture, arts, and language camp for 12-14 year-olds. This camp is sure to be a hit, and will get teens expressing themselves by learning about different cultures!
Alwan for the Arts - NYC
Summer Music Classes
May 31-June 23
The riqq, or arabic hand drum (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Alwan regularly features a wide array of group and private music lessons. This summer, their group sessions include “Iraqi Folk & Popular Songs”, “Arab Grooves”, and “the Songs of Umm Kalthoum” (who is known to many as the greatest female Arab singer of all time!).
Alif Institute - Atlanta
Cooking Class Series
Starts June 5
Stuffed grape leaves (Photo credit: One Turkmen Kitchen)
Learn how to make stuffed grape leaves, desserts, and prepare a full Middle Eastern meal during Alif Institute’s Summer Cooking Class Series!
Arab American Heritage Council (AAHC) - Flint, Mich
2011 AAHC Summer Camp
AAHC’s third annual summer camp at Camp Copneconic will include activities such as swimming, canoeing, zip line, rock climbing, horseback riding, and cultural exchange activities focusing on the Arab world.
CAAP is proud to support programming across the U.S. from these organizations and more. To see the full list of our grantees, please visit our website!
Center for Arab American Philanthropy
2651 Saulino Ct.
Dearborn, MI 48120