NGOsource Partners with Zakat Foundation of America: The State of Philanthropy In and Around Syria

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Given the current situation in Syria, many of our members are curious to know more about Syrian and Syrian-related organizations.  We’ve been listening and are thrilled to announce our partnership with Zakat Foundation of America (Zakat Foundation of America), international relief and development organization, NGOsource member, and foremost expert on charitable giving in the Muslim world. In collaboration with Zakat Foundation of America over the course of the next several weeks, we will publish a series of articles addressing philanthropy in Syria, and issues related to funding conflict zones. 

We kick off our series with a look at Zakat Foundation of America’s mission and the incredible work it is doing across the world.

Launched in 2001, Zakat Foundation of America was founded on the Islamic principle of zakat. As the third pillar of Islam, zakat is the obligation of the privileged, to provide alms, or wealth, to empower the underserved. Zakat Foundation of America uses sustainable methods to foster charitable giving from privileged Muslims and other donors toward the immediate needs of the most vulnerable people in over 35 countries around the world. Zakat-funded programs focus on empowering those served toward self-reliance, and include refugee assistance, education, food security, shelter repair, and orphan sponsorship. Through its global regional offices, Zakat Foundation of America also provides immediate response to man-made and natural disasters along with reconstruction efforts to ensure momentum towards recovery and self-sustainability.

Zakat Foundation of America both provides a range of direct services as well as grantmaking. Since the start of the civil war in Syria in 2011, Zakat Foundation of America has invested over US$10 million into relief for Syrians located in and outside of Syria. By seeking the most vulnerable populations affected by the crisis in Syria, Zakat Foundation of America has been able to consistently provide hope and resources to this neglected group of refugees.

In addition to supporting Syrian refugees in their journey to Europe, Zakat Foundation of America has opened schools in Turkey and Syria, launched medical clinics for individuals impacted by the violence in Syria and surrounding countries, and even funded a large bakery in Syria to provide food for afflicted communities. Learn more about Zakat Foundation of America’s work in Syria here.

Stay tuned as we examine the complexities of giving to organizations in Syria, philanthropic support of Syrians in other non-Syrian countries, and more.

We thank Lara Kalwinski and other Zakat Foundation of America staff for their contributions to this article.