By Laila Mehta, Director, Civic Engagement Fund (AAPIP)
In philanthropy we know that story-telling is a critical way to illustrate impact. A new video — Post 9/11: The Impact of a Funder Collaborative – tells the tale of what we learned through the Civic Engagement Fund. The CEF is a collaborative fund that supports little-understood communities that were propelled to the spotlight after 9/11, and remain invisible yet hyper-visible in mainstream America even today.
In the Bay area, a network of grantmakers recognized that they have Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian (AMEMSA) communities in their regions but did not know how they were impacted post 9/11 or what organizations existed to serve these communities. The funders involved recognized that the narrative around AMEMSA communities, even 12 years after 9/11, was too often shaped by misperceptions, bias or ignorance.
A recent Bay Area Muslim Survey, also supported by a collaboration among Bay area grantmakers and AAPIP, finds that Muslims from all walks of life continue to face ongoing Islamophobia that results in fear and mixed effects on their civic engagement (measured by donating, community participation, and voting).
Ultimately, the true value of the Civic Engagement Fund isn’t in the dollars distributed, but in the capacity built and relationships developed. We hope this video spurs conversation about how foundations are addressing these and other underserved communities that are a vital part of our regions and nation. We also hope it inspires grantmakers to strategically include and invest in AMEMSA visibility, voice, leadership and capacities. Our call to action is to develop meaningful partnerships with AMEMSA community leaders and organizations.
Here are some lessons we learned that apply to philanthropy, policy makers and advocates:
- Partner with funders for deeper engagement and to mitigate risk
- Resource new and emerging leaders who address unique or persisting challenges
- Keep up with changing demographics & issues to stay relevant and be effective
- Engage in conversation with community organizations from the start
- Build capacities, relationships and collaborations
- Commit to long-term investment that will empower the community
- Facilitate dialogue and build bridges within AMEMSA communities
- Include racial and religious profiling in the immigration conversation
Watch video here:
NCG member Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF) is currently conducting a Corporate Citizenship Survey. If you are a corporate funder, please consider taking a few minutes to help advance corporate citizenship by participating in this survey.
The purpose of this survey is to better understand how Bay Area companies are engaging in citizenship both locally and globally through philanthropy, employee engagement and other activities. The goal is to analyze responses in the context of the social and economic needs of the Bay Area, compare local corporate activity to national trends and to identify some of the most promising and innovative practices underway. The findings will be published in a report which will debut in December and will be shared with all participants.
The SVCF will be accepting partial responses for all surveys.
For more information, please contact us at email@example.com. The survey will close on July 19, 2013.
Take the survey now.