2017 Annual Campaign
people

The Need

At ISPU, we work relentlessly to strengthen community and build bridges. Recently, we helped launch an anti-Islamophobia curriculum with the American Federation of Teachers, trained groups of imams in two states to create welcoming mosques that are hubs for hope, shared our data on domestic violence at a conference on violence against women, and much more.

Here’s the thing – we need your help. The request for our work has grown exponentially across the country. We are honored and humbled to be a unique institution, providing fact-based information about American Muslim communities at a time when it is in great demand. And donors like you are an integral part of helping us meeting that demand.

REALITY: We depend on generous individuals like yourself to provide nearly half of our revenue, so your support is critical to the continuation of our work. Your donation makes a big difference, no matter the amount.

The Campaign

Throughout the next month, we will be working to raise $75,000. Starting May 30 and through June 30, we will share a weekly story that shows how our work is making an impact through the eyes of partners, community leaders, and stakeholders, and we will ask for your support. And the good news is that the first $15,000 will be matched by two generous donors, meaning that you can double your impact if you donate early!

We hope that we can count on you to help us reach our goal. Every dollar counts, and every contribution goes a long way.

Thank you for empowering us to make a difference.

ISPU: Speaking the Truth

For many communities, last year sadly brought an increasing wave of bigotry and discrimination. In the face of this wave, there was remarkable resilience. There was resilience in the way so many communities stood together to denounce hate and to show support and solidarity. This is the American spirit.

Perhaps the most encouraging outcome was that many of us turned to facts and truth. Because we collectively understood that what we have to do, and what matters, is to find and speak the truth.

As the former director of the White House Office of Urban Affairs, Justice and Opportunity, I understand that good, accurate, audited, comprehensive, transparent, and disaggregated – data is essential. ISPU is a leader focused exclusively on conducting objective, solution-driven research on the challenges facing American Muslims today. In a time when, according to ISPU’s American Muslim Poll, 42% of Muslim families deal with bullying of their children because of their religion, this kind of truth-seeking is vital. During my interactions with ISPU, I have come to know an impressive organization that is fiercely committed to dispelling stereotypes through facts. They are committed to providing policy makers, activists, the media, and other change makers with the research they need to make a difference.

ISPU’s work is indispensable. We need ISPU because facts, education, and understanding empower us all to work together to move this great nation to achieve its greatest ideals.

Sincerely,

Roy L. Austin, Jr.

Roy L. Austin, Jr.
Partner, Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis LLP
Former Director
White House Office of Urban Affairs, Justice & Opportunity

Roy Austin
ISPU’s work is indispensable. We need ISPU because facts, education, and understanding empower us all to work together to move this great nation to achieve its greatest ideals.

ISPU: A Partner in Pluralism

As the Director of National Security Outreach at Human Rights First, I lead the project Veterans for American Ideals (VFAI), a nonpartisan group of veterans who share the belief that America is strongest when its policies and actions match its ideals. We stand firmly against Islamophobia and bigotry, and we have worked to educate the public and policymakers about the essential benefits of a pluralistic society – one that accepts those most in need, including religious minorities, as well as refugees and asylum seekers.

ISPU has been an essential partner in these efforts. ISPU’s innovative research and resources have helped VFAI continue to spread our message and make an impact, whether at public events or in meetings with lawmakers. ISPU’s 2017 Poll: Muslims at the Crossroads, for instance, has been instrumental to our work and understanding of the American Muslim community and the risks of bigotry and Islamophobia. At a time when facts are needed more than ever to counter the flood of misinformation and fearmongering on these issues, ISPU provides an invaluable service. We applaud ISPU’s actions and the passionate and outspoken leadership they provide in upholding the ideals that truly make our country great.

Sincerely,

Scott A. Cooper

Lieutenant Colonel Scott Cooper, USMC (Ret.)
Founder, Veterans for American Ideals
Director of National Security Outreach, Human Rights First

Scott Cooper
At a time when facts are needed more than ever to counter the flood of misinformation and fearmongering . . . , ISPU provides an invaluable service.

ISPU: Empowering American Muslims

As the Project Manager at ISPU, I wake up every morning energized to do my part to strengthen my community, address their needs, and build understanding among Americans. It is sometimes tough work, but I do it because it is vital.

As evidenced by the anti-Sharia marches last weekend, it is no secret that the challenges facing the American Muslim community are many, from a lack of understanding of Islam and Muslims, to an increase in Islamophobia, bigotry, and discrimination, to poverty, aging, and mental health needs. At ISPU, these challenges only encourage us to work harder to educate, enable, and empower our communities through research.

80% of media coverage is telling an inaccurate and negative story about Muslims. That’s why I’m asking you to join us in telling the real story by supporting ISPU’s work. The story of American Muslims, who in Michigan alone:

  • teach 30,000 K-12 students each year,
  • created 100,000 jobs,
  • treat 1.5 million patients annually,
  • gave 177 million dollars in charity in 2016, and
  • represent 9.9 million constituents as public officials.

But American Muslims are not just statistics. They are women and men, young and old, African American, South Asian, Latino, and Arab, pioneers of the community and new arrivals, and they each have a story to tell.

We count on your support to tell our story through data and provide an accurate portrait of the American Muslim community. Your donations allow us to seek out new partners, attract high-quality researchers, take on new research projects, and expand our reach to the very spaces that need to hear our message the most.

I want to be able to continue to develop my community and amplify their needs and experiences – will you help me do that?

Sincerely,

Sarrah Buageila
Project Manager
Institute for Social Policy and Understanding

Sarrah Buageila
American Muslims are not just statistics. They are women and men, young and old, African American, South Asian, Latino, and Arab, pioneers of the community and new arrivals, and they each have a story to tell.

ISPU: A Vital Institution

I have served on ISPU’s Board of Directors for nine years, and I am more convinced than ever of the critical importance of this institution. ISPU does work that no one else does: our research enables our partners, complements and enhances their work, and strengthens the community and country. Two examples come to mind that illustrate ISPU’s role in this ecosystem:

  • Foundations concerned about pluralism, including the Pillars Fund, New York Community Trust, Ford Foundation, and Silicon Valley Community Trust (SVCT), tell us that they use ISPU’s data to identify priorities, direct and focus their work, and make funding decisions. Recently, at a meeting with other funders, SVCT gave a copy of ISPU’s study of San Francisco Bay Area Muslims to each participant to ensure that the needs and challenges of the Muslim community were front and center as funding allocations were made.
  • When Religions for Peace wanted to educate their members on challenges facing Muslims and immigrants, ISPU was asked to conduct the session on American Muslims. Our Executive Director invited Rethink Media and Center for New Community to join her, and together they trained this group of interfaith leaders. The next day, equipped with data from ISPU’s American Muslim Poll and our Muslims for American Progress (MAP) project, this group held a series of meetings on Capitol Hill, speaking to their representatives about challenges facing Muslims, and have since become amplifiers for the American Muslim community.

These are just two of hundreds of examples of our partnership and impact. These are but two of the many reasons why I am so proud to be Board Chair and why I am confident in asking for your support. Strengthening the American Muslim community, promoting pluralism, fighting Islamophobia – this work is powered by ISPU.

As ISPU turns 15, the quality of our work speaks for itself, our staff is top-notch, and we remain respectful and cautious stewards of each dollar invested. But the need for our work is growing and far outpacing our financial capacity. We are asked to partner, train, disseminate, to dig deeper on the topics that we study – and we need your help to meet this demand. We are a $1.6 million organization doing the work of one twice that size. While we do receive support from foundations, it is individual donors like you who truly fuel our growth and agility.

Your investment in ISPU – an infrastructure institution for our community and country – will pay dividends for generations to come.

Join us.

Saima Siddiqui

Saima Siddiqui
Board Chair
Institute for Social Policy and Understanding

Saima Siddiqui
Strengthening the American Muslim community, promoting pluralism, fighting Islamophobia - this work is powered by ISPU.

“We owe it to ISPU to give back”

Our work at ISPU is being used every day by policy makers, community and religious leaders, media professionals, activists, and educators to challenge stereotypes, develop communities, and dismantle barriers. In this video, Tarek El-Messidi of CelebrateMercy talks about the relevance of ISPU’s research and how he uses it in his own work. Please take a minute to watch Tarek’s testimonial – I hope it will inspire you to support ISPU.

Our research matters, and we cannot do it without the help of people like you.

This great work . . . that has benefited so many mosques and imams and activists and Muslim teachers and community leaders, all of this has been for free. And we owe it to ISPU to give back.