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, Black/African, Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian (BAMEMSA)* 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, BAMEMSA communities are rising together locally and nationally to build community power and resilience, to diversify the media coverage of BAMEMSA 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 Black/African, Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian communities, the RISE Together Fund bolsters the critical work of BAMEMSA 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 BAMEMSA 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 BAMEMSA field to help them grow, connect, and develop a collective voice.

*In 2021, RISE Together Fund changed the acronym we use to describe our field. Noting that the previous term, “Muslim, Arab and South Asian,” was not sufficiently inclusive nor did it accurately reflect the communities our grantees serve, we shifted to Black/African, Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian (BAMEMSA).

Our Impact

In March 2020, South Dakota Voices for Peace began receiving calls from Smithfield meatpacking plant employees in need of assistance due to the conditions in the plant that caused the rapid spread of COVID-19. The level of fear among the employees was blatantly apparent. Ms. Islam worked in partnership to build a statewide coalition of immigrant and refugee leaders and ally-led immigrant service organizations that became known as the South Dakota Dream Coalition. The coalition consists of eight organizations representing the Hispanic/Latinx, Muslim, Nepali, Burmese, and African communities in SD. Ms. Islam led the South Dakota Dream Coalition to triage media calls and calls for assistance regarding state unemployment benefits. The coalition organized multiple public actions which led to one of only meat processing plants in the country to shut down for 14 days to install PPE and clean the facility. In addition, Ms. Islam began building an Emergency Relief Fund. SDVFP raised $1.2 million to provide cash assistance to 1,750 immigrant families in South Dakota. Funding recipients represented 91 different countries, and approximately 50% of recipients represented BAMEMSA communities. Recipients received checks of up to $600 and were eligible to reapply for funding every 30 days. In 2021, SDVFP continues their COVID-19 work around equitable vaccine access to immigrant and refugee communities throughout the state.

In 2020, Unite Oregon mobilized hundreds of voters from immigrant, refugee, & Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) communities around Measure 110, the Drug Addiction Treatment and Recovery Act, which will redesign Oregon’s broken drug laws to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of drugs and make treatment more available across the state without ruining lives with arrests or jail time. Oregon will be the first state to shift its approach from punishment to public health. To achieve this victory, Unite Oregon’s organizers and allies educated voters across the state, collected hundreds of stories from people devastated by the war on drugs, and organized town halls to educate elected officials. It was a historic victory – passing by over a 17 point margin. This year, Unite Oregon is re-energizing its community to demand that the measure be implemented this year—although the measure passed, the Governor is holding back funds to implement it based on COVID-19 related funding shortages. So far this legislative session, organizers have engaged thousands of supporters that were mobilized during the field campaign. During their Week of Action, they rallied 165 community members to speak directly to 35+ legislators about why treatment & recovery services are needed right now in Oregon.

2020 was a record-breaking year for Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative, in which it nearly quadrupled its training bookings requests from the previous year. Among the trainings MuslimARC offered, Margari Hill hosted a webinar on Facebook Live called “Doing Business In Black Neighborhoods,” several days after George Floyd’s murder. Approximately 8,000 people attended. The conversation exemplifies MuslimARC’s nuanced approach to anti-racism training through its deep historical analysis of some of the most visible ways that racism is manifested in Black and Black Muslim neighborhoods. In this conversation, panelists discussed the challenges of Arab American and South Asian American store owners contributing to a climate of securitization in Black and Black Muslim neighborhoods, including surrounding George Floyd’s murder. As Ms. Hill said, “We’re trying to do anti-racism work where you don’t need a graduate degree to understand it…There’s a way to take everyday people through their own lives and show them where they can find the white supremacy.” MuslimARC later partnered with Inner City Muslim Action Network (IMAN) on its corner store initiative, which included a webinar and three townhalls, and developing a curriculum for a one-day anti-racism workshop for store owners.

  • Local Level

    In March 2020, South Dakota Voices for Peace began receiving calls from Smithfield meatpacking plant employees in need of assistance due to the conditions in the plant that caused the rapid spread of COVID-19. The level of fear among the employees was blatantly apparent. Ms. Islam worked in partnership to build a statewide coalition of immigrant and refugee leaders and ally-led immigrant service organizations that became known as the South Dakota Dream Coalition. The coalition consists of eight organizations representing the Hispanic/Latinx, Muslim, Nepali, Burmese, and African communities in SD. Ms. Islam led the South Dakota Dream Coalition to triage media calls and calls for assistance regarding state unemployment benefits. The coalition organized multiple public actions which led to one of only meat processing plants in the country to shut down for 14 days to install PPE and clean the facility. In addition, Ms. Islam began building an Emergency Relief Fund. SDVFP raised $1.2 million to provide cash assistance to 1,750 immigrant families in South Dakota. Funding recipients represented 91 different countries, and approximately 50% of recipients represented BAMEMSA communities. Recipients received checks of up to $600 and were eligible to reapply for funding every 30 days. In 2021, SDVFP continues their COVID-19 work around equitable vaccine access to immigrant and refugee communities throughout the state.

  • State Level

    In 2020, Unite Oregon mobilized hundreds of voters from immigrant, refugee, & Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) communities around Measure 110, the Drug Addiction Treatment and Recovery Act, which will redesign Oregon’s broken drug laws to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of drugs and make treatment more available across the state without ruining lives with arrests or jail time. Oregon will be the first state to shift its approach from punishment to public health. To achieve this victory, Unite Oregon’s organizers and allies educated voters across the state, collected hundreds of stories from people devastated by the war on drugs, and organized town halls to educate elected officials. It was a historic victory – passing by over a 17 point margin. This year, Unite Oregon is re-energizing its community to demand that the measure be implemented this year—although the measure passed, the Governor is holding back funds to implement it based on COVID-19 related funding shortages. So far this legislative session, organizers have engaged thousands of supporters that were mobilized during the field campaign. During their Week of Action, they rallied 165 community members to speak directly to 35+ legislators about why treatment & recovery services are needed right now in Oregon.

  • National Level

    2020 was a record-breaking year for Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative, in which it nearly quadrupled its training bookings requests from the previous year. Among the trainings MuslimARC offered, Margari Hill hosted a webinar on Facebook Live called “Doing Business In Black Neighborhoods,” several days after George Floyd’s murder. Approximately 8,000 people attended. The conversation exemplifies MuslimARC’s nuanced approach to anti-racism training through its deep historical analysis of some of the most visible ways that racism is manifested in Black and Black Muslim neighborhoods. In this conversation, panelists discussed the challenges of Arab American and South Asian American store owners contributing to a climate of securitization in Black and Black Muslim neighborhoods, including surrounding George Floyd’s murder. As Ms. Hill said, “We’re trying to do anti-racism work where you don’t need a graduate degree to understand it…There’s a way to take everyday people through their own lives and show them where they can find the white supremacy.” MuslimARC later partnered with Inner City Muslim Action Network (IMAN) on its corner store initiative, which included a webinar and three townhalls, and developing a curriculum for a one-day anti-racism workshop for store owners.

Our Grantmaking

In 2018, RTF commissioned a research report called Reshaping the Country: The Growth of Muslim, Arab
and South Asian Communities in the United States. This research identified the metro regions and states
with the largest percentage of population growth from 2000 to 2016 of the communities that RTF
serves—Black, Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian (BAMEMSA). Over the past three years,
we have used this research to increase the geographic diversity of our grantmaking.

340

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

$15,691,991

33

501(c)(4) Grants To-Date

$1,990,992

500+

Organizations Reached

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Our Strategy

  • Build the pipeline of leadership
  • Grow philanthropic support for Black/African, Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian 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

#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 Muslim, Arab and South Asian leadership, putting the voices of the most impacted at the forefront of a truly intersectional national grassroots movement.

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