Some excerpts from…
Recently, the Council of Michigan Foundations (CMF) published a report detailing the evolution of Arab American philanthropy and its future in Michigan. Drawing on original research and from an event that CAAP hosted earlier this year, CMF relates Arab American philanthropy to the larger movement for more inclusive and diverse philanthropy in the U.S. We’ve included a few excerpts from the publication below, and you can read the entire report and access other resources on our website.
While participating in a philanthropic organization like CAAP is a relatively new concept for many Arab Americans, the practice of giving of one’s time, talents, and treasure to helping others is a long cherished and deeply rooted tradition in the community. Through CAAP, these donors are providing important support for new immigrants, new community organizations, educational programs and recreational facilities for children and youth, and international humanitarian aid for those affected by war, drought, famine, and disease.
Arab American and mainstream philanthropic leaders in Michigan and throughout the U.S. acknowledge the importance of developing new strategic and collaborative efforts with this burgeoning ethnic giving population. According to Steve Lawrence, the Foundation Center’s director of research, Arab American philanthropy is one of the largest untapped sectors in terms of projected current and future dollars that are expected to come from this constituency group, second only to the Asian American community.
There is great power in participating in philanthropy as part of a cultural group. However, hailing from 22 countries that share as many cultural, linguistic, political, and religious commonalities as differences, first-generation immigrants from the Arab world do not always identify as Arab American. Even after a generation or two has passed, Arab Americans may still choose to identify themselves as Syrian American or Egyptian American, rather than as Arab American. And, politics in the Arab world have the power to both unite and divide the community. This diversity constitutes significant challenges to a broad vision for Arab American philanthropy.