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.”
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.
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
Debunking Grant Delusions
Feeling fuzzy about why your organization is lacking funding success? About.com has provided us with some handy hints about how nonprofits can increase their grantwriting savvy.
- Getting a grant:
Quick fix. Finding and securing your first grant is like finding and securing your first job. It requires a lot of time and patience. However, if you keep on keeping on, you are much more likely to find success.
Unique form of fundraising. Networking, networking, and more networking. The better your relationship with your potential funders, the more favorably they will view your organization during grantmaking season.
- Bad economy =
no grants. Maybe larger foundations may be doling out less in grants than before the economic crash, but that may mean that you should diversify your funding base. Look to smaller and mid-size foundations!
- Grants don’t give us the
operational support we need. More and more foundations are shifting from solely funding programs, to providing more overhead support. In fact, CAAP did just that with our grants in August!
- No shoulder-rubbing =
no funding. Don’t worry if you don’t know Melinda Gates personally. Instead, you may well have a board or staff member at a foundation. Work that connection!
- We have
no access to grants. With a little creativity, (using the library or free databases online), you won’t have to pay in order to attain grants featured on expensive databases.
Confounding! Tell your story and follow the guidelines. That’s pretty much it. No grant writerson staff!! You’d be surprised who will turn out to be capable to perform this crucial task. You can engage volunteers or find a grant writer who would be willing to train members of your organization.
Be sure to check out resources like Guidestar’s Anatomy of a Grant, and keep checking our blog for more grant-related news!
Photo credit: DNetworks
Center for Arab American Philanthropy
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