Founded in 2016, the American Muslim Fund (AMF) is the first grassroots, national community foundation in the United States focused on creating Donor Advised Funds, distributing grants, and building endowments for the Muslim community.
The lunar month of Ramadan means many things to Muslims who adhere to the fourth pillar of the faith, Fasting (Saum). The third pillar, Almsgiving (Zakat), is often coupled with Ramadan to increase the merits of one’s actions. The American Muslim Fund (AMF) welcomes this holy month of fasting and philanthropy and hopes to amplify the impact American Muslims make with their philanthropy.
According to Giving USA, Americans gave $390 billion in 2016. “Muslims represent roughly 1% of the population in the U.S. Our goal is for Muslims to contribute more than 1% of all charitable giving,” says Co-Founder Muhi Khwaja. A veteran fundraiser, Khwaja began his career a decade ago and credits his passion to University of Michigan’s Development Summer Internship Program and was awarded its alumni award in 2017. Khwaja currently works at the American Red Cross.
“AMF is the first Muslim community foundation in this country, and we are looking to revolutionize the way Muslims give,” says Khwaja. “AMF supports Muslims in fulfilling their religious obligations of Zakat and philanthropy (sadaqa) by providing a streamlined vehicle for charitable donations through Donor Advised Funds (DAFs).” Since July 2017, AMF has worked with 18 families across the country and has already distributed over $200,000 to more than 70 nonprofit organizations, including hospitals, schools, museums, relief organizations, food banks, and educational institutions.
AMF’s vision is to lead sacred, sustainable, and strategic Muslim philanthropy for today, and for future generations. This is accomplished by cultivating a thriving philanthropic ecosystem to advance charitable causes by evolving donor giving and diversifying funding pathways for community organizations. AMF has a goal of building a $5,000,000 endowment by December 2020.
This Ramadan, AMF is looking to open DAFs across the country and seek support on the world’s largest Muslim crowdfunding site, LaunchGood. Those who establish a DAF through AMF receive an immediate tax benefit and can support charities of their choice through grant recommendations. DAFs are growing in popularity and are one of the most efficient and cost-effective alternatives to private or family foundations. If you are interested in learning more about supporting AMF, establishing a DAF, or hearing about our mini-grants, contact Muhi Khwaja at Muhi@AMuslimFund.org.