Civic Engagement Fund for AMEMSA Communities (2006-2014)

In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11th, racial and religious discrimination of Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim and South Asian (AMEMSA) communities reached all new levels. This politically-charged climate was mirrored in the philanthropic sector. There was an immediate outpouring of philanthropic support for victims of the 9/11 attacks and for reinvestment in the neighborhoods and businesses affected. But with the exception of a few foundations that have been longtime supporters of civil and human rights, very little attention was paid by the philanthropic sector to the AMEMSA communities experiencing hate violence, bullying, workplace discrimination and racial and religious profiling by government entities.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, a handful of foundation leaders along with Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR) and AAPIP began to meet and learn about ways to best support AMEMSA communities experiencing unprecedented backlash and discrimination.

In response, the Civic Engagement Fund (CEF) was established in 2006 as 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.

From 2010-2014, 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.

This work would not have been possible without the thoughtful and supportive group of funders and advisory group members who provided strategic leadership and resources over the life of the CEF. The San Francisco Foundation served as an anchor partner with AAPIP from the outset to establish the CEF as a pooled fund. Key participants in the CEF Advisory Committee and learning community included the Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation, the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, the
Y&H Soda Foundation, and the Whitman Institute.

To learn more about key lessons learned read our latest report here. To learn about some of the accomplishments of CEF, check out our series of videos highlighting firsthand stories and impact on the philanthropic and community partners below.

Program Goals

  • 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


  • Leveraged over $1M 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:

Community Partners

Philanthropic Partners

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.


2015 Moving From Crisis to Community Building

(download the PDF)

This report shares key elements of our approach in the CEF and highlights for funders what we have learned about the kinds of investments needed to support community organizations that are often overlooked by philanthropy.

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
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 affecting AMEMSA communities
(download the PDF)

History of the Civic Engagement Fund
(download the PDF)

AMEMSA Candidate Questionnaire

AAMEMSA Immigrant Rights Brochure
(download the PDF)

Our Funder Collaborative Included

Download and Read the Report

This report shares key elements of our approach in the CEF and highlights for funders what we have learned about the kinds of investments needed to support community organizations that are often overlooked by philanthropy.

Download and Read the Report

Moving from Crisis to Community Building: Key Lessons from a Funder Collaborative shares key elements of our approach in the CEF and highlights for funders what we have learned about the kinds of investments needed to support community organizations that are often overlooked by philanthropy.

Download the Report