Bay Area Funders and Community Leaders Address Anti-Muslim Bias

(SAN FRANCISCO) – Thursday, March 1, 2012 – Today, One Nation Bay Area (ONBA) joins 11 other communities across the nation, including New York and Chicago, in creating local programs designed to change misperceptions and reduce prejudicial attitudes toward American Muslims. Now completing the first phase of a challenge grant process, One Nation Bay Area granted $230,000 to 25 community-based organizations throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

In 2009, the One Nation Foundation announced a $3.5 million initiative to partner with community foundations in cities across the United States by providing a dollar-for-dollar match to support increased understanding between American Muslims and non-Muslims in their local communities.

ONBA is a partnership between The San Francisco Foundation, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Marin Community Foundation, and AAPIP (Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy).

The participating community foundations collectively have a long history of supporting immigrant, limited-English speaking, and economically and politically underrepresented communities—often in spite of opposition or institutional barriers that marginalize these populations.

The importance of engaging American Muslims and non-Muslims to understand each other was highlighted in a 2010 Gallup Survey finding that “not knowing a Muslim” is related to the highest level of bias against Muslims.

In addition, a September 2010, a Washington Post-ABC News poll showed that 49 percent of Americans held an unfavorable view of Islam, a significant increase from 39 percent in October of 2002.

Recent estimates indicate that the American Muslim community in the Bay Area is comprised of nearly 250,000 people and an estimated 58 mosques, with the heaviest concentrations in Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, and San Francisco Counties. They represent one of the largest Muslim communities in the U.S.

ONBA projects bring together diverse Muslim communities—including African Americans, Afghanis, Arabs, East and Northeast Africans, Indonesians, Iranians, and South Asians—with people from many different religious and cultural backgrounds, including Catholics, Episcopalian, Hindu, Jewish, Sikh, Arab and Asian Americans.

The grantmaking program was guided by American Muslim and non-Muslim communities across the nation as well as in the Bay Area.

A number of innovative strategies to bridge communities, among them:

•    Islamic Cultural Center of Northern California will expand its interfaith social action by serving homeless and low-income individuals and families in the Oakland area who have fallen on difficult economic times, in partnership with Kehilla Community Synagogue and Montclair Presbyterian Church.
•    Oakland Community Organization will develop American Muslim leaders and strengthen interfaith relationships by increasing economic opportunities for hard-to-employ men of color between the ages of 16 and 35. Four People Organizing to Improve Communities (PICO) affiliates—Congregations Organizing for Renewal, San Francisco Organizing Project, and People Acting in Community Together—will also be working collaboratively to share best practices and strategies to bring their work to scale across the state and nationwide.
•    Voice of Witness will use its book, Patriot Acts: Narrative of Post 9/11 Injustice, to provide oral history training for Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian communities, and to develop curricula support for teachers, local schools and organizations.
•    League of Women Voters California Education Fund and Northern California Islamic Council will collaborate to provide voter education, speakers bureau trainings and presentations, and voter registration drives at six mosques in Alameda, Santa Clara and San Mateo County.
•    The International Association of Sufism in Marin County will sponsor a program of dialogue, roundtable discussions, and personal stories among Dominican University Muslim and non-Muslim students.

Click herefor the full list of grants awarded under ONBA.

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About AAPIP
AAPIP (Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy) is a national member-supported philanthropic advocacy organization dedicated to advancing philanthropy and Asian American/Pacific Islander communities. AAPIP members include foundations, staff and trustees of grantmaking institutions, and nonprofit organizations in ten regional chapters in the United States. AAPIP engages communities and philanthropy to address unmet needs; serves as a resource for and about AAPI communities; supports and facilitates giving by and to our communities; and incubates new ideas and approaches for social justice philanthropy.  AAPIP is committed to Building Democratic Philanthropy – a framework to support the development of institutions and philanthropic practices that begin with the vision of communities first, and that draws on the assets of those communities as the starting place for any blueprint to maximize their potential. www.aapip.org

About the Marin Community Foundation
The Marin Community Foundation is the primary center for philanthropy in Marin County, CA and is one of the largest community foundations in the U.S.  It manages the assets of the Leonard and Beryl H. Buck Trust and over 400 funds established by individuals, families, and businesses.  The Foundation makes significant improvements in communities around the world in two ways: by spearheading initiatives for long-term, sustainable change in Marin, and by distributing grants from donor-advised funds locally, across the U.S., and around the world.  Now in its 25th year, the Marin Community Foundation has assets of approximately $1 billion, with annual grant distributions of approximately $50 million. More at www.marincf.org

About The San Francisco Foundation
The San Francisco Foundation (TSFF) is the community foundation serving the Bay Area since 1948, granting more than $800 million over the past ten years. Through the generosity and vision of our donors, both past and present, TSFF granted $82 million in fiscal year 2011. TSFF brings together donors and builds on community assets through grantmaking, leveraging, public policy, advocacy, and leadership development to make a greater impact in our community. By focusing on people, organizations, neighborhoods, and policy, advocacy and organizing, the Foundation addresses community needs in the areas of community health, education, arts and culture, community development, and the environment. In response to the economic downturn, TSFF is focusing funding on safety net partners, job creation and training, and mortgage foreclosure relief and neighborhood preservation for the next three years. The San Francisco Foundation serves San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, and San Mateo Counties.

About Silicon Valley Community Foundation
Silicon Valley Community Foundation makes all forms of philanthropy more powerful. We serve as a catalyst and leader for innovative solutions to our region’s most challenging problems. The community foundation has more than $2 billion in assets under management and more than 1,500 philanthropic funds. As Silicon Valley’s center of philanthropy, we provide individuals, families and corporations with simple and effective ways to give locally and around the world. Find out more at www.siliconvalleycf.org

About One Nation Foundation
George F. Russell, Jr. founded One Nation after seeing an increase in negative and prejudicial attitudes toward American Muslims that stemmed from misperceptions following 9/11. One Nation was formed to change misperceptions and reduce prejudicial attitudes toward American Muslims to uphold America’s highest ideals of pluralism and inclusion, and the great promise of liberty and justice for all. One Nation programs exist in 12 communities across the U.S., including New York, Chicago, and the Bay Area. www.onenationfoundation.org.

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