RISE TOGETHER FUND

TOWARD AN INCLUSIVE, EQUITABLE, AND JUST SOCIETY

America is a land of diverse races and faiths, but not all communities have experienced equal protection or justice as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. In particular, Muslim, Arab and South Asian (MASA) communities frequently experience acts of anti-Muslim bigotry and xenophobia as well as structural and societal barriers designed to sideline these growing and influential communities. Nevertheless, MASA communities are rising together locally and nationally to build community power and resilience, to diversify the media coverage of MASA communities, and to advocate for the rights of their communities and all those impacted by racism and xenophobia.

As the only national donor collaborative dedicated to supporting MASA communities, the RISE Together Fund bolsters the critical work of Muslim, Arab, and South Asian individuals, organizations and communities to defend and uphold the Rights of their communities, leading to Inclusion in a just, multi-racial democracy. Our name reflects our understanding that we must build relationships and Solidarity within the MASA field and with allies across social and racial justice movements in order to realize Equity and justice in America. We will achieve Rights, Inclusion, Solidarity, and Equity (RISE) Together.

As we do this, our role goes beyond traditional grantmaking. We intentionally direct our grants toward building long-term, sustainable movements, and then also work alongside our grantees and others in the MASA field to help them grow, connect, and develop a collective voice.

Our Grantmaking

Hear directly from our grantees on their triumphs, challenges, and hopes for the future:

262

Total 501(c)(3) Grants To-Date

$12,974,167

21

501(c)(4) Grants To-Date

$1,590,036

500+

Organizations Reached

Click here to explore all RISE Together Fund grants
Explore RTF Grants
Apply for a rapid response grant
Read the RFP

Our Strategy

  • Build the pipeline of leadership
  • Grow philanthropic support for MASA communities
  • Increase civic engagement
  • Build broad-based, racial justice focused coalitions
  • Shape coordinated, strategic messaging
  • Support the vision for a long-term, sustainable movement

We Support

  • Grassroots organizing
  • Civic engagement
  • Youth engagement
  • Local policy advocacy
  • Federal policy advocacy
  • Legal support/Know Your Rights
  • Communications

In the Time of COVID

COVID-19 has brought a new light to the structural inequities in the United States in how marginalized communities including immigrants, refugees, and other people of color are more profoundly impacted by crises and harmful policies. In the midst of this downturn, RTF has remained focused on our mission and values, adjusting to engaging online programming, continuing dedicated support to our core grantees, and shifting our convening fund and rapid response grantmaking to meet the moment. A few of the key pivots we have made include increasing grant amounts and moving to general operating support to allow our grantee organizations more flexibility in their work. Because our strategy has always been to support the most impacted communities, we have not had to make significant changes but are simply building upon our typical grantmaking efforts. We strive to continue building power among MASA communities, strengthening the social justice non-profit sector that has been growing in our networks, and using this moment as a turning point towards systemic and institutional progressive change.

Rapid Response to the Crisis

RTF provided $15,000 to support AAANY’s response to the immediate and urgent needs of their clients experiencing heightened domestic violence in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. AAANY is seeing increased urgency to support community members who need safe shelter right now. AAANY seeks to offer these clients programming and support so that they may be stable, healthy, and safe in this precarious time, in addition to their continued advocacy for all MASA communities in the Bay Ridge, Brooklyn area.

RTF provided $8,000 to support the National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms (CCF)’s Coronavirus Prisoner Release Project. Specifically, RTF supported their advocacy for approximately 30 inmates, all from MASA backgrounds, who are particularly vulnerable to the virus and could be eligible for compassionate release.

RTF provided $15,000 to support the Family and Youth Institute’s (FYI) development of a rapid response toolkit and field resources to help the MASA field respond to mental health challenges during the COVID-19 crisis. For example, FYI is developing a “Wellbeing in the Time of Coronavirus” toolkit, and a “Ramadan Coronavirus Toolkit,” as well as distributing mental health and wellness-centered resources to the MASA field including articles and webinars.

RTF provided $8,000 to support the newly-formed Black Muslim COVID Coalition (BMCC), a partnership between Muslim Wellness Foundation and RTF grantee MuslimARC. BMCC provides a national platform for disseminating educational resources and hosting events to discuss COVID-19’s disproportionate impacts on black Muslim communities, and a project to document the effects of the crisis on these communities.

  • Arab American Association of New York

    RTF provided $15,000 to support AAANY’s response to the immediate and urgent needs of their clients experiencing heightened domestic violence in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. AAANY is seeing increased urgency to support community members who need safe shelter right now. AAANY seeks to offer these clients programming and support so that they may be stable, healthy, and safe in this precarious time, in addition to their continued advocacy for all MASA communities in the Bay Ridge, Brooklyn area.

  • Coalition for Civil Freedoms

    RTF provided $8,000 to support the National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms (CCF)’s Coronavirus Prisoner Release Project. Specifically, RTF supported their advocacy for approximately 30 inmates, all from MASA backgrounds, who are particularly vulnerable to the virus and could be eligible for compassionate release.

  • The Family and Youth Institute

    RTF provided $15,000 to support the Family and Youth Institute’s (FYI) development of a rapid response toolkit and field resources to help the MASA field respond to mental health challenges during the COVID-19 crisis. For example, FYI is developing a “Wellbeing in the Time of Coronavirus” toolkit, and a “Ramadan Coronavirus Toolkit,” as well as distributing mental health and wellness-centered resources to the MASA field including articles and webinars.

  • Muslim Wellness Foundation

    RTF provided $8,000 to support the newly-formed Black Muslim COVID Coalition (BMCC), a partnership between Muslim Wellness Foundation and RTF grantee MuslimARC. BMCC provides a national platform for disseminating educational resources and hosting events to discuss COVID-19’s disproportionate impacts on black Muslim communities, and a project to document the effects of the crisis on these communities.

Our Impact

In 2018, RTF released our landscape research study, “Reshaping the Country: The Growth of Muslim, Arab and South Asian (MASA) Communities in the United States,” which examined areas of the country where MASA communities are growing most quickly around the US but are under-resourced. One of the key metro-regions we came across through this study was in Minnesota. In June 2019, RTF Program Officer Claire Downing conducted a site visit in Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN, meeting with local organizations, allies, and staff of a local elected official. In addition, we partnered with the Minnesota Council on Foundations and four community funders to host a half-day briefing on our MASA growth and landscape research in the Twin Cities greater metro area on October 17 with more than 40 attendees, enhancing the relationships we had made in this region. Following the event, we surveyed the attendees, 80% of which said they would consider making a grant to one of the groups featured on the two panels we curated.

Georgia Muslim Voter Project is expanding the MASA electorate in a crucial Southern state (where MASA population is growing). In 2019, GAMVP made a deliberate decision to expand their work within Georgia given the clear needs and potential within the state, rather than to expand their national presence. GAMVP applied a methodical approach when selecting which new Georgia counties to begin working within. They looked at the population density of each precinct in Georgia, matched it to a surname match for likely Muslim voters, then compared these two figures to the number of mosques in the area. This analysis led GAMVP to decide to expand further into Bibb, Chatham, and Clarke counties, building on their existing presence in Gwinnett, DeKalb, Fulton and Cobb counties. In 2020, GAMVP has engaged in their civic engagement work across these new regions, making tactical pivots since the COVID outbreak. They have partnered with local restaurants and grocery stores to place QR codes that link to a voter registration site, registering 41 people in the span of just two weeks. GAMVP understands the new reality and has adjusted to ensure their communities are not left behind and continue to be supported.

In 2019, a number of MASA organizations including RTF grantees like SAALT, Sikh Coalition, and others including rapid response grantee Adhikaar, responded to the increasing detention of South Asian Americans at borders with translation and know your rights support, as well as galvanizing broad, multiracial coalitions to call attention to this new and disturbing trend. Similarly, the detention and deportation of Iranian Americans, particularly students, increased in late 2019 as the U.S. and Iran came to the brink of war, and MASA organizations including RTF grantees NIAC, rapid response grantee Council on American-Islamic Relations-Washington (CAIR-WA) and convening fund grantee Muslim Justice League provided organizing and advocacy support including at border crossings and airports. In 2020, RTF is also working closely with aligning movements such as anti-war coalitions and immigrant rights organizations to emphasize that MASA voices and perspectives must be included in any efforts related to South Asian and/or Iranian detention and deportation.

  • Local Level

    In 2018, RTF released our landscape research study, “Reshaping the Country: The Growth of Muslim, Arab and South Asian (MASA) Communities in the United States,” which examined areas of the country where MASA communities are growing most quickly around the US but are under-resourced. One of the key metro-regions we came across through this study was in Minnesota. In June 2019, RTF Program Officer Claire Downing conducted a site visit in Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN, meeting with local organizations, allies, and staff of a local elected official. In addition, we partnered with the Minnesota Council on Foundations and four community funders to host a half-day briefing on our MASA growth and landscape research in the Twin Cities greater metro area on October 17 with more than 40 attendees, enhancing the relationships we had made in this region. Following the event, we surveyed the attendees, 80% of which said they would consider making a grant to one of the groups featured on the two panels we curated.

  • State Level

    Georgia Muslim Voter Project is expanding the MASA electorate in a crucial Southern state (where MASA population is growing). In 2019, GAMVP made a deliberate decision to expand their work within Georgia given the clear needs and potential within the state, rather than to expand their national presence. GAMVP applied a methodical approach when selecting which new Georgia counties to begin working within. They looked at the population density of each precinct in Georgia, matched it to a surname match for likely Muslim voters, then compared these two figures to the number of mosques in the area. This analysis led GAMVP to decide to expand further into Bibb, Chatham, and Clarke counties, building on their existing presence in Gwinnett, DeKalb, Fulton and Cobb counties. In 2020, GAMVP has engaged in their civic engagement work across these new regions, making tactical pivots since the COVID outbreak. They have partnered with local restaurants and grocery stores to place QR codes that link to a voter registration site, registering 41 people in the span of just two weeks. GAMVP understands the new reality and has adjusted to ensure their communities are not left behind and continue to be supported.

  • Federal Level

    In 2019, a number of MASA organizations including RTF grantees like SAALT, Sikh Coalition, and others including rapid response grantee Adhikaar, responded to the increasing detention of South Asian Americans at borders with translation and know your rights support, as well as galvanizing broad, multiracial coalitions to call attention to this new and disturbing trend. Similarly, the detention and deportation of Iranian Americans, particularly students, increased in late 2019 as the U.S. and Iran came to the brink of war, and MASA organizations including RTF grantees NIAC, rapid response grantee Council on American-Islamic Relations-Washington (CAIR-WA) and convening fund grantee Muslim Justice League provided organizing and advocacy support including at border crossings and airports. In 2020, RTF is also working closely with aligning movements such as anti-war coalitions and immigrant rights organizations to emphasize that MASA voices and perspectives must be included in any efforts related to South Asian and/or Iranian detention and deportation.

#NoMuslimBanEver

On June 27, 2018 the Supreme Court upheld the "Muslim Ban," siding with the Trump administration. The RTF played a central role in the national and regional mobilization efforts to oppose these Executive Orders. The #NoMuslimBanEver campaign has been a watershed in MASA leadership, putting the voices of the most impacted at the forefront of a truly intersectional national grassroots movement.

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