Civic Engagement Fund for AMEMSA Communities

The Civic Engagement Fund -- a pooled fund coordinated by AAPIP -- was initiated in 2006 and continues to invest in and raise the visibility of Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim and South Asian (AMEMSA) communities. The CEF is supporting sixteen AMEMSA organizations to increase their individual and shared capacities around issue areas of common concern; to build ownership around their own capacity development; and to better serve their communities through collective action. Since its inception the CEF has been based on a learning model that creates avenues for shared learning and understanding on the part of our philanthropic partners and grantee partners, as well as AAPIP as drivers of the process.

<Watch the video: Post 9/11: The Impact of a Funder Collaborative>

The primary focus since 2010 has been to jointly explore how to build collective power within the AMEMSA communities, leading to greater potential for long-term community change. Through the program, groups are creating a shared analysis of issues affecting the AMEMSA communities and exploring how this work can translate into more coordinated efforts across communities and organizational practices.

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. A new video tells the story of how this Bay-Area based funder collaborative came together to seize on the opportunities.

  • Increased activation of AMEMSA communities to build local and regional power
  • AMEMSA communities are able to proactively determine their social justice goals
  • Greater coordination and collaboration between AMEMSA organizations to build effective and sustainable practices that benefit AMEMSA communities and beyond
  • AMEMSA organizations are competitive in the broader funding landscape both individually and as a cohort

Past and Current Philanthropic Partners

Other CEF partners - One Nation Bay Area Project

AAPIP is pleased to collaborate 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 are partnering 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 consists 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.

  • Developed program goals from 2010 to build AMEMSA power
  • Provided three-year operating grants to 17 AMEMSA organizations
  • Leveraged $950,000 from San Francisco Bay Area based foundations to AMEMSA communities
  • Leveraged more than $150,000 from Giving Circles to AMEMSA organizations
  • Supported collaborations on key issue areas:

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.

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.

2006-2009 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.

Laila Mehta, Director, Civic Engagement Fund for AMEMSA Communities

Laila [at] aapip [dot] org

Laila joined AAPIP in May 2010, directly from Kathmandu, Nepal, where she worked for two years 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.