Maysoon Zayid

One of America’s first Arab and Muslim American women comedians, Maysoon Zayid has made her mark in both the world of comedy and philanthropy. Maysoon, who is from New Jersey, is of Palestinian descent and was born with cerebral palsy. She is widely known for her acting and comedic career—she was a full time contributor on Countdown with Keith Olbermann, a news program that aired on MSNBC. Maysoon’s success has advanced the image of Arab Americans and those with disabilities, and she has channeled this success into support for various causes that matter most to her. We recently had a chance to speak with Maysoon Zayid, comedian and philanthropist, to learn more about her philanthropic endeavors.

CAAP: Tell us a little about your charitable giving.

Maysoon Zayid: I support a variety of causes but the primary causes I tend to support include education, disability, and violence against women. When making giving decisions the most important thing for me is that the lion’s share of my donation goes to the actual cause and that there are verifiable results to the work I’m supporting.

CAAP: What/Who are your giving inspirations?

MZ: I mostly look to my cat for giving inspiration : ) She is wise beyond her years.

CAAP: What does the word “philanthropist” mean to you? Do you think of yourself as a philanthropist?

MZ: My definition of philanthropy is giving not just money, but energy to affect change to better our broken world. I do consider myself a philanthropist, but would love to become even more philanthropic in the future when I finally have my own talk show and have gotten off the B List.

CAAP: Do you have any advice for other Arab Americans new to philanthropy and giving?

MZ: Be careful. Only give to organizations that have a proven track record; even if a charity is run by your very best friend, trust no one. Great ideas are great, but if they do not know how to execute them, it is a waste of money. When you find an organization that you are confident in supporting, consider giving a monthly gift. It makes a huge difference for most organizations and is easier to swallow than donating big chunks at a time. Also, give to causes that save animals at least once a year. Animals are so much better than people and they need our help, too.

Thank you for bringing smiles to people’s faces, Maysoon! Read about more Arab Americans Who Care.

One comment on “Maysoon Zayid: Combining Humor With Compassion”

  1. 1
    Hala on May 4, 2016

    You are an inspiration to me,!to make people laugh and be happy is huge these days ,proud of you maysoon,
    We have a cerebralpalsy daughter, her smile is the sunshine of our lives!

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