Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Arab American Philanthropy On The Rise

Philanthropy among Arab Americans is increasing, according to a report in New America Media; and The Center for Arab American Philanthropy (CAAP) is a big part of that increase.  The Dearborn, Mich.-based group, which is a project of the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS), is the first national giving program in the Arab American community.  This doesn't mean that philanthropy is a foreign subject to this group, however.  The article notes that charity is something that has long been stressed by the Arab culture.  For example, there is an Islamic tradition known as Zakat, that requires followers to set aside a portion of their income for those in need.

Nonprofits like ACCESS, which was formed in 2005, have been very important for the Arab community in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.  They have sought to fight the negative perception of Islam that some Americans had after the deadly attacks.  Kate Casa, director of communications at ACCESS, says that many in her community were reluctant to participate in public philanthropy for fear of being accused of supporting extremist groups.  To combat this fear, ACCESS has created a system of transparency.

To read the full article, including details on the organizations that received CAAP grants, head on over to New America Media.

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