A month ago, I discovered an innovative project taking place at the Stanford d.school called The Muslim Giving Project by d.school fellow and lecturer Nadia Roumani along with Stanford students, alumni, professionals and affiliates.
The project seeks to explore the answer to this question: Why is there such a disconnect between American Muslims motivation to give and their charitable actions?
We at MGP believes that there is untapped potential in the American Muslim community to give and contribute to broader society.
MGP is anchored in a human-centered design process, with a focus on American Muslim individuals, their deeper needs, and their motivations around giving.
Today, the MGP’s Muslim Fund website launched, a new online crowd-sourcing platform to help American Muslims make secure charitable donations to professionally reviewed projects.
MGP Fund is a new model in the philanthropic space, developed as a hybrid that combines the best of the traditional foundation model with the best of crowd-sourcing platforms. This new venture is a fiscally sponsored initiative at the Community Initiatives Fund of the California Community Foundation (CCF).
I’m extremely excited about this site! You can submit your own project for funding, learn about new projects happening all over the country, and easily track the progress of the project and your own donations. A few of the projects on the MGP Fund site now:
- IMAN’s Green Reentry Project: Job training, personal growth and Muslim community support for formerly incarcerated men in Chicago’s South Side
- UMMA’s Connecting with Seniors: Integration of Muslim seniors through healthy, uplifting activities which includes free health check ups, fun exercise sessions, and more
- DRUM’s Keep Families Together: Guidance of undocumented youth to organize and advocate for just immigration reform
There’s also the Muslim Labs, which hosts giving challenges, conducts blog outreach and holds events to get American Muslims excited about giving. This is a super awesome way to deal with the so-called “armchair activism” and really revive conversations about philanthropy in a community that experiences fundraising fatigue.
From my brief experience with the social sector so far, I don’t find a lot of American Muslims around me involved in crowd-funding, social entrepreneurship, and impact investing. I see them struggling tirelessly in more “traditional” forms of fundraising and pledge drives for emergency aid and charity in terms of local Zakah or supporting international causes that may or may not be really organized or reputable.
Various research, census data, and reports talk about the affluent and educated Muslim demographic in America. Instead of seeing those statistics and thinking cha-ching! More consumers we need to target and advertise to for more materialistic spending by adding trendy scarves here, Arabic there and halal meat everywhere!, we should be thinking about how to be better philanthropists and global citizens, supporting and empowering communities to tackle their biggest problems from hunger, homelessness, drug abuse, unemployment, etc in creative, tech-savvy ways.
I encourage you all to explore the MGP platform, give constructive feedback, and help develop a new, innovative culture of philanthropy in the American Muslim community!