Civic Engagement Fund for AMEMSA Communities

Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim and South Asian (AMEMSA) communities, while serving and representing ethnically and culturally distinct and diverse constituencies, collectively continue to face heightened challenges such as public and media scrutiny, misunderstanding and discrimination. More than a decade after 9/11 the challenges are daunting, yet the opportunities to support, invest and learn are immense.

Initiated in 2003, the Civic Engagement Fund (CEF) was a pooled fund coordinated by AAPIP to invest in and raise the visibility of AMEMSA communities. The CEF supported sixteen AMEMSA organizations to increase their capacities to better serve their communities, and provided convening space for them to connect with one another. Since its inception, the CEF's model promotes shared learning and understanding between our philanthropic partners and grantee partners, as well as AAPIP as drivers of the process.

Since 2010, the CEF focused on how to build collective power within the AMEMSA communities for long-term community change. Together, the organizations created a shared analysis of issues affecting the AMEMSA communities, and then developed and coordinated their efforts across sub-populations and organizational practices. To capture some of the accomplishments of CEF, AAPIP created a series of videos highlighting firsthand stories and impact on the philanthropic and community partners.

  • To increase activation of AMEMSA communities to build local and regional power
  • To support AMEMSA communities to be able to proactively determine their social justice goals
  • To enchance greater coordination and collaboration between AMEMSA organizations to build effective and sustainable practices that benefit AMEMSA communities and beyond
  • To increase AMEMSA organizations' ability to be competitive in the broader funding landscape

Over the years, CEF funders have included:

AAPIP also partnered with the One Nation Bay Area Project

AAPIP collaborated in a local effort – the One Nation Bay Area Project – with both existing and new philanthropic partners. Together, The San Francisco Foundation, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Marin Community Foundation and AAPIP partnered with the One Nation Foundation to leverage support and continue our work over the past decade with AMEMSA communities in the Bay Area. The One Nation Bay Area Project consisted of of a small grants fund, which granted organizations up to $10,000 to support civic engagement efforts that bring together American Muslim and non-Muslim leaders and residents to address community issues of common concern.

2013 Bay Area Muslim Study
(download the PDF)

This benchmark study, the first of its kind, provides groundbreaking data on the Bay Area's Muslim community: demographics, sense of identity, economic wellbeing, political and civic engagement and the challenges it faces.

2009 Program Assessment Synthesis
(download the PDF)

This brief is based on an external evaluation of the CEF’s four-year (2006-2009) program, which comprised two cycles of grant-making, capacity building convenings, and technical assistance support. The methodology consisted of a literature review, focus group discussions with community partners/grantees, and conversations with advisory committee members and AAPIP staff. The 2010 Program was designed in part based on feedback from this evaluation report.

2007 Philanthropic Case Study
(download the PDF)

This case study documents the process and key stakeholders that were involved and instrumental in the creation of the Civic Engagement Fund. Through the initial partnership between AAPIP and The San Francisco Community Foundation, along with active staff working with other philanthropic institutions, the interest to extend funding to AMEMSA organizations was actualized into a pilot project: the Bay Area Demonstration Project.

2004 Community Scan
(download the PDF)

Based on a lack of information and understanding of the AMEMSA community and constellation of organizations in the SF Bay area, in 2004 AAPIP and Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR) conducted a scan to capture both organizational needs and relevant issues impacting communities. The Civic Engagement Fund was developed based on this research concerning the needs and challenges facing these underserved populations.

Fact Sheet: AMEMSA Communities
(download the PDF)

Fact Sheet: Policies afftecting AMEMSA communities
(download the PDF)

History of the Civic Engagement Fund
(download the PDF)

AMEMSA Candidate Questionnaire

AAMEMSA Immigrant Rights Brochure
(download the PDF)


For more information, contact Cynthia Choi, AAPIP Deputy Director, at Cynthia [at] aapip [dot] org

Former staff:
Laila Mehta, Director, Civic Engagement Fund 2010-2014.  Laila joined AAPIP directly from Kathmandu, Nepal, where she worked with grantmaking institutions, donors and international agencies on issues related to governance, post-conflict peace building, and gender integration. To learn more about Laila and her thoughts on the shared experiences of AMEMSA and Asian American communities in times of crisis, view the short clip.