The Advisory Board of the Center for Arab American Philanthropy (CAAP) provides oversight on all CAAP activities, reviews and approves CAAP’s competitive grantmaking rounds, and remains very active through board committees, CAAP events, and any special projects that we undertake.

 

Executive Committee


Rasha Demashkieh

Board Chair, Port Huron, MI

Rasha received her formal education in Damascus, Syria. She moved to Detroit with her husband Walid in 1975 and received a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy from Wayne State University. Rasha is currently a pharmacist at CVS Health in Port Huron, and has served on the boards of several organizations including ACCESS, the Port Huron Area School District Board of Education, and the Saint Clair County Community Foundation.  She also previously served on the State of Michigan Civil Rights Commission.


Peter O. Farah

Cleveland, OH.

Peter is currently the Vice President, Deputy General Counsel, and Assistant Secretary of The J. M. Smucker Company, where he has primary responsibility within the Legal Department for mergers and acquisitions, securities, finance, and corporate governance. Peter received his Juris Doctor from Boston College Law School in 2001, and his Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Boston College in 1997. Peter is a first generation Arab American, whose parents immigrated to the U.S. from Jerusalem shortly before he was born.


Jeanette Mansour

Flint, MI

Jeanette Mansour retired from the C.S. Mott Foundation after more than 30 years as the Director of Program Planning and Senior Program Officer. In June 2001, Jeanette received the Peacemaker/Peacebuilder award from the National Peace Foundation for her work in supporting conflict resolution/peacebuilding programs. She earned degrees in history, political science, international law and international relations from Marygrove College in Detroit, the Catholic University of America, the University of Michigan and the American University of Beirut. Jeanette formerly served as Board President of the Arab American Heritage Council in Flint.

 

Board Members

Brenda F. Abdelall

Washington, DC

Brenda F. Abdelall is the Founder and President of Bridge Strategies LLC, a public policy and philanthropic consulting firm located in the Washington, DC area.  She graduated with both a BA and JD from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, and currently serves as Board Member for the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), Advisory Board Member of the Charity and Security Network (CSN), a member of the Arab American Institute’s National Policy Council, as well as serving on the Virginia Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. She also teaches legal writing at the University of the District of Columbia’s David A. Clarke School of Law.


Ramsey Aljahmi

Sylvania, OH

Ramsey Aljahmi is the Senior Director of Operational Excellence of North America, Whirlpool Corporation. Prior to this he was the Plant Leader of 2,500 employees at Findlay Operations. Aljahmi received his Master’s degree in Business Administration and a second in Science of Operations Management from Lawrence Technological University. He also received his Bachelor’s degree in Manufacturing Engineering Technology from LTU.   Aljahmi spends his time volunteering by mentoring US Veterans, coaching youths at the YMCA, raising funds/participating at the local Habitat for Humanities, raising funds for United Way Campaigns and participating at the Company Employee Resource Groups.  Ramsey and his wife Amy were born and raised in Dearborn MI and currently reside in Sylvania, OH with their three children.


Manal Fakhoury

Ocala, FL

Dr. Manal Fakhoury, CEO of Vestech Partners (Legacy Wealth), is known for her distinctive skillset of strategy, business acumen, and passion for community service.  She is also the President and CEO of Fakhoury Leadership International, and served as a clinical pharmacist for nearly 30 years.  She serves on many national and community boards including: Truist Bank board of directors, YMCA Executive Board, AHA , Rotary Member, ING Trustee, CAIR National Board Secretary, Toastmasters International Club President, Founder and President of Ollin Women International, and curator for TEDxOcala.  She earned her undergraduate and doctorate from the University of Southern California, and her clinical residency at Shands Hospital.  She also has an MBA from Webster University.


Reyad Fezzani

San Francisco, CA

Reyad is currently the Chairman and CEO of Regenerate Power, a developer, owner and operator of utility-scale renewable energy projects. Reyad has more than 20 years experience in energy and finance, previously serving as CEO of BP Solar and Chairman of Tata-BP Solar. In addition, Mr. Fezzani has served as Chairman of the Board of Bay Area Arabic School (BAAS) since May 2015. Mr. Fezzani was born in Libya and holds an ME in Chemical Engineering and Chemical Technology from Imperial College, London.


Naseem Haffar

New York, NY

Naseem Haffar is a retired Managing Director with over 30 years of experience in investment banking and real estate finance. Haffar started his career in the early 1980s at Irving Trust Company (now BNY Mellon) and then joined JP Morgan’s Loan Trading desk. Haffar was a member of the Whitney Museum photography acquisition committee. He is on the board of directors of the Arab American Democratic Action Fund and Noor Theater and is the current board chair of the Arab American Family Support Center. He has an MBA in Finance from Columbia University School of Business and a BS in Business and International Relations from the University of Minnesota. He’s fluent in English, Arabic, and conversational in French.


Basem Hishmeh

Montvale, NJ

Originally from Jerusalem, Basem has a degree in mechanical engineering from Case Institute of Technology in 1962. He also holds an MBA from Western Reserve University. Basem has served as chairman of manufacturing companies AERCO International and Sigma-Netics, as well as the Association of Manufacturing Excellence. Basem and his wife, Muna, are very involved in arts, culture, and education initiatives, both domestically and in Palestine.


Gheed Amara-Itani

Boston, MA

Gheed has a degree in Architecture from the University  of Houston, with special focus in urban design and renovation. She worked for Brown and Root for several years focusing on industrial design. Gheed has deep roots and interest in community building and empowerment, having served on the boards of Arab American Educational Foundation in Houston and the National Network for Arab American Communities, and serving as founding member and president for six years of Center for Arabic Culture in Boston. She is currently on the board of the Boston PCRF chapter and teaches ESL as a literacy volunteer.


Rabih Suki

Houston, TX

Dr. Rabih Suki is currently the Principal and CEO of HealthSpective, specializing in healthcare strategy, quality assurance, performance measurement, data analytics and healthcare outcomes management and measurement. Dr. Suki currently serves on the board of National Arab Orchestra, American Lebanese Medical Association, and American Lebanese Cultural Center. He has also been actively involved with the Arab Cultural and Community Center in Houston, Texas, as well as the American Druze Society, and the American University of Beirut Alumni Association – Houston Chapter. He has a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from American University of Beirut, and then completed his studies at the University of Texas, receiving a Master’s in Public Health and a Ph.D. in Biostatistics.

 

Honorary Member


Richard A. Abdoo

Milwaukee, WI

 

Past Board Chairs


Hussien Y. Shousher

Toledo, OH