A personal appeal

mahadonateI receive hundreds of letters a day from students, teachers, and diversity trainers telling me how much ING presentations and training seminars have improved their understanding of Muslims and their faith and how much they value the work of ING not only for building mutual trust among all Americans but also for meeting educational needs that relate to Islam and Muslims in schools and public institutions. And in the context of 24/7 coverage of Muslims in the media, where the narrative is mostly focused on extremism, it is incumbent upon American Muslims and their allies to counter that narrative through education and community engagement. This is where ING comes in, and what we’re dedicated to: Islamic literacy and interfaith engagement.

Download our marketing brochure for more information about our work and impact.

Now, after 22 years of service to the community in 22 states where our presentations and other materials are used, we want to expand to all 50 states and 200 regions around the country. Click here for our Principal Goals in 2016. And to do that we are building a stable financial base that ensures that our children live in a world of intercultural understanding, mutual respect, and peace. To this end, we have established an endowment or, to use the Arabic term, a waqf. For more information about Islamic endowments, visit this page.

I invite you to join me in laying a solid foundation for our work today and for the coming generations. Please donate today to the ING endowment here. As explained below, a percentage of your contribution will go towards current expenses until the endowment is built to a certain amount. Download our endowment brochure for more information about endowment gifts.

Below are answers to some questions you may have concerning this effort. Please feel free to contact me directly at mail@ing.org if you have additional questions. Thank you.

Maha Elgenaidi
CEO and Chairman

Why did ING create an endowment?

For three principal reasons:
  1. To cut costs by up to 33%.
  2. To improve ING’s efficiency in its operations & stimulate growth by creating a consistent and dependable source of income.
  3. To help expand our work, which is more needed today than it was when we first started the organization in 1993.

Cutting costs

One of the most time-consuming challenges for any nonprofit organization is the never-ending need to raise funds. This takes away important time and resources from the mission of an organization while wearying the community with endless fundraising efforts, dinners, and initiatives, costing more and more money.

An endowment will secure our financial foundation and save up to 33% of our ongoing costs that are currently spent on fundraising.

Improving efficiency; stimulating growth

Having a consistent and dependable source of income allows us to better plan for a future of growth and efficiency. When we know what resources we have, we can plan and execute responsibly and predictably. We know where we’re going and how we will get there.

Expanding our work

Islamic literacy and interreligious engagement:

According to two independent polls in 2014, not only do many Americans continue to have negative attitudes toward Islam and Muslims, but these attitudes have actually worsened over the past several years. The Pew Research Institute recently asked respondents to indicate on a scale of 1 to 100 the “warmth” or “coldness” they felt toward certain religious groups, with 1 representing the “coldest” (most hostile) attitude and 100 the “warmest” (most friendly) attitude. Muslims scored the lowest of all groups, with a rating of 40.

A poll by Zogby Associates showed equally disturbing results: the percentage of Americans viewing Muslims favorably has declined over the past four years, from 35% in 2010 to 27% in 2014.

This makes ING’s work more crucial than ever.

ING has demonstrably made an impact in countering negative attitudes toward Muslims. For example, our surveys of attitudes before and after ING presentations show that among high school audiences:

  • The percentage of those believing that Islam promotes terrorism fell by 89%.
  • The percentage of those believing that Islam promotes the oppression of women fell by 75%.
  • The percentage of those recognizing that Muslims have long been a part of the history of the U.S. rose by 74%.
  • The percentage of those seeing American Muslims as “Americans like myself” rose by 40%.

Our full impact report for 2012-2014 can be found here. We want to expand this work to reach millions of Americans face-to-face through our affiliates and through online tools for disseminating our content.

Building confidence in Muslim youth:

According to two recent surveys, 50% to 70% of Muslim youth experience harassment in schools, and, according to a 2010 Gallup poll, Muslim youth are least likely to see themselves as thriving and feel less respected and more stressed than other children. These are the reasons why we launched the INGYouth program for Muslim youth, whose goals are to increase young American Muslims’ Islamic LITERACY to help them respond to frequently asked questions about Islam and to prevent extremism, which is often based on ignorance of authentic religious teachings; to build CONFIDENCE in their Islamic identities based on a sound understanding of their faith; and to inspire ACTION towards bridge-building between American Muslims and people of other faiths or of no faith.

Visit the INGYouth program page for more information.

Why doesn't ING just purchase a building?

Creating an endowment is like purchasing a building, but instead of merely housing the ING office, the endowment will generate money for the organization based on halal investments that annually earn between 5% and 12% of the principal, which is held in perpetuity. In other words, the principal is never spent, only the earnings.

What benefits do ING, the donor, and the community derive from the endowment?

Building an endowment where donations are kept in perpetuity and from which we spend only the money we earn from halal investments of the endowment funds has innumerable values and benefits for both the donor and ING, and for the community at large:

Spiritual and material benefits:

For you, the donor:

  • Perpetual rewards (sadaqa jariya) from God (Allah) long after you leave this world.
  • The opportunity to leave a legacy in your family’s name.
  • The knowledge that your donations become investments that build a base for ING’s future and are not used up just for current operations.

For ING:

  • Builds a solid financial foundation for the organization.
  • Improves our planning and project management because of a predictable budget.
  • Saves up to 33% of our costs that would otherwise be spent on fundraising.

For the community:

  • Improves perceptions about Islam and Muslims while building interreligious harmony among all Americans. (See ING’s latest Impact Report about our work from our clients and speakers.)
  • Establishes ING as an American Muslim institution.

It’s a win-win-win arrangement.

How much should I donate?

As much as you want and feel comfortable doing. Here’s what I recommend:

According to several of the largest charitable foundations in the United States and federal government reports, Americans donate an average of 3% to 5% of their adjusted gross income to non-profits.

I am asking you to donate to ING at least 1% of your annual income to help us build the first endowment in America specifically for teaching about Islam and Muslims and increasing religious literacy while building interreligious harmony among all Americans.

Read our latest Impact Report on ING’s work. We want to continue the benefits of our work where we already have affiliates and to start similar efforts around the country.

We ask that you please make a donation based on the schedule below that encourages support from the broader community while ensuring that any donation is not a hardship. You are of course welcome to donate more here.

  • $100 for students
  • $250 if your income is less than $50,000/year
  • $500 if your income is between $50,000 and $100,000/year
  • $1,000 if your income is between $100,000 and $200,000/year
  • $1,500 if your income is between $200,000 and $500,000 /year
  • $5,000 if your income is over $500,000/year

How will my donations be used?

Depending on your level of giving, your donation will be divided between the endowment and operating expenses until we have raised the first milestone of the endowment. We will notify the community and update you when this happens.

For more information:

If you wish to receive more information about the endowment or ING, please download our endowment brochure, or contact me directly at mail@ing.org

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