Pillars Fund

Kitchen Table Philanthropy in the Time of Ramadan

Posted By Pillars Fund  /   April 8, 2022

By Dilnaz Waraich

This April, Muslims around the world are observing the holiday of Ramadan—a month-long period of fasting from dawn to sundown, and of thinking of others, and of giving back. Philanthropy is deeply rooted in the Muslim faith, as well as my own.

When I was a child, the month before Ramadan, my immigrant parents would sit at the kitchen table with my sister and me to discuss how our family could give back. They would tell us about a family relative back in India who could use our help. Maybe it was for something critical, like surgery; or something invaluable, like education; or something practical, like a sewing machine!

My working class family’s support was not extravagant, but we did what we could. This experience taught my sister and me that, even as kids, we had the power to make a transformational difference in others’ lives.

My husband and I are fortunate to continue the tradition of sitting at the kitchen table with our two sons to discuss our family values and the organizations we want to support in our community.

During one of those conversations a few years ago, we realized we weren’t prioritizing Muslim American-led nonprofits in our philanthropic giving—so we decided to change that.

Wanting to understand the challenges those organizations faced, I reached out to our grantees. From our discussions, I could see the resilience and humility these organizations possessed. Without connection to the broader philanthropic community and funding support, these organizations were caught in a mindset of scarcity.

My family was curious if these Muslim led nonprofits could be supported in a way that could help them move away from a scarcity mindset to a mindset of abundance. Read the rest of Dilnaz’s reflections here

 

Dilnaz Waraich, a Pillars Trustee and President of the Waraich Family Fund, has over 25 years of experience in education, community organizing, and interfaith engagement. This essay was originally published by the National Center for Family Philanthropy.

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