Catalytic Philanthropy

CAMP seeks to transform the way Muslim Americans engage in philanthropy. Muslim Americans lead busy and engaged lives. Most people have limited time and resources available to fulfill their philanthropic missions. CAMP has established the following initiatives to help the limited funds we have to become a catalyst for greater impact.


  • Community Foundation Initiative
  • Planned Giving
  • Rehmah Fund – Muslim Community Fund
  • United Muslim Appeal


Community Foundation Initiative


The year 2014 marked the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the first community foundation in the United States. This first foundation, The Cleveland Foundation, was followed by others including Chicago Community Trust, California Community Foundation and the Indianapolis Foundation. Community foundations are instruments of philanthropy designed to pool donations into a coordinated investment and grant making facility dedicated primarily to the social improvement of a given place. Community foundations are a global phenomenon with 1700 existing around the world of which over 700 are in the United States.


Many Muslim Americans choose give through donor advised funds with major financial institutions. CAMP is launching the Muslim Community Foundation Initiative. The Initiative seeks to have at least one Muslim American donor advised in every community foundation which is geographically located where an Islamic center exists. It is our belief that community foundations are proactive and engaged in the process of uplifting their communities. The community foundations invest in the “value” proposition. The value proposition does not focus solely on the return on investment (or bargain) but the larger core values of the donor. By engaging Muslim Americans with community foundations we not only make strategic investments in our communities but we upgrade the impact of our philanthropy. Donors are connected with other philanthropists in our community, are routinely invited by the community foundation to educational events that can further enhance giving and create small, middle or large gifts that will continue to serve the community well after the donor passes on.


A number of Muslim Americans are already heavily engaged with the community foundations. One of the largest community foundations in the US, Chicago Community Trust, has a Pillars Fund that aggregates Muslim American giving and gives out annual grants. Models like this need to be replicated across the country and CAMP is committed to provide the education and outreach to make this happen.


Planned Giving Initiative


It is estimated that over the next 20 years a major wealth transfer will take place between Muslim Americans who started their careers in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Transfer of wealth at the time can be the subject of estate taxes. However, these taxes can be mitigated if Muslim Americans employ planned giving strategies to insure the financial interests of the things they care deeply about including family, friends and charities. CAMP intends to launch an initiative to educate Muslim American individuals and charities about the benefits of planned giving. Furthermore, CAMP will also seek to train planned giving and estate planning professionals about Muslim Americans and specific religious and cultural norms that may help them in better assisting their clients.


Rehmah Fund – The Muslim Community Fund


CAMP has established an endowment and grant fund through a partnership with the Central Indiana Community Foundation called the Rehmah Fund. The fund allows Muslim Americans to give donations to the Fund. These funds are aggregated and the donors then collectively vote upon grant proposals presented to them through CAMP and CICF. A portion of each dollar included in the fund is placed in an endowment fund so the Rehmah Fund may operate perpetually.


The Fund is open to Muslim and non-Muslim nonprofit organizations. Islamic centers and international relief organizations are not eligible to apply for grants from the fund.


United Muslim Appeal


CAMP is planning to launch the United Muslim Appeal (UMA). UMA brings together Muslim American registered 501C3 organizations (not including Islamic centers or schools) that have a budget of less than $1,000,000. UMA coordinates a joint mailing to a list of Muslim Americans donors. Donors are educated about the partnering charities and select the charity that best reflects their interest. Donors who do not select a charity can give the funds to UMA. UMA will then distribute the funds to partnering charities based upon specific grant requests. The costs of the mailing and fundraising campaign are shared by the charities in proportion to the funds allocated to them by donors. UMA will utilize state of the art fundraising theory and techniques to raise money for these small charities.