2019 Annual Report

July 2018 – June 2019

With your Zakat, you have helped uplift thousands from poverty.

Since 2001, we have empowered millions of people to recover from disasters and escape poverty by taking control of their own lives. We address the immediate needs of poor communities worldwide and establish long-term development projects that ensure individual and community growth.

People Reached
The need and numbers have already jumped compared with this reporting year:

Natural Disasters1

  • 315 Events
  • 68.5 Million Affected
  • 11,804 Deaths (128 worldwide)

Armed Conflicts2

  • 128,850+ Deaths
  • 83% of all deaths in Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria & Iraq

(1) Reliefweb Natural Disasters 2018, 21 June 2019
(2) “Organized Violence, 1989-2018 and Peace Agreements,” Journal of Peace Research, June 3, 2019.

Emergency Relief

Worldwide, your compassionate gifts reached victims of war, refugees and the internally displaced by conflict, as well as natural disasters.

Your generosity transformed into hot food for the hungry, clean water for the thirsty, tents and bedding for the homeless, medicine and medical treatment for the injured, hygiene kits and heaters for stricken families.

Stricken Families You Reached

You rushed help to thousands: from the victims of war in Yemen to the storm-struck of Puerto Rico.



You sent 4,908 food baskets feeding more than 36,000 children, women and men displaced by ongoing war and exposed to ravaging disease for a month.



Your gifts gave shelter and life-sustaining grains to 500 refugee families fleeing civil conflict and economic devastation in Venezuela.


North Carolina

You helped a total of 2,005 families who were affected by Hurricane Florence.



You immediately rushed food, water, emergency shelter and other aid to 480 families displaced by Super Typhoon Mangkhut.



Back-to-back earthquakes devastated Lombok island. The magnitude-6.9 and massive 7.5 temblors killed some 2,600 and displaced an astounding half-million. Your aid enabled us to open an emergency kitchen that fed more than 1,100 families a day.


Puerto Rico

The support you have shown those struck by Hurricane Maria in 2017, the worst in the country’s history, arrived with the first aid its victims received. At least 200 families still suffering from the storm’s effects received a steady supply of food, water, clothing, hygiene products and health supplies.

Food Security

You provided halal, nutritious food to some 423,903 people in 44 countries on five continents this year. Your reach grows especially long during Ramadan’s fasts, on Eid al-Adha, and with the aqiqah sacrifices of grateful parents of newborns throughout the year.

Million Meals Donated

The Gift of Hunger Relief

We reach those far off the beaten path, the poor and the hungry. The oft-forgotten. And when we arrive with your food gifts, they are filled with happiness and instantly throw their palms up, sending prayers for you.



In the month of Ramadan alone, you gave 4,125,806 meals to some of the poorest people in the furthest, most forgotten corners of the world.


Udhiyah Qurbani

Our most extensive global fresh meat distribution gave 144,329 lbs of locally raised, fresh meat (never frozen, never canned), hand-slaughtered, and hand-delivered to 200,000 grateful recipients.


Aqiqah in Africa

Your aqiqah sacrifices fed the hungry from Ghana, Mali, Kenya, and Ethiopia with protein-rich halal meat.


Haiti Schools

In 12 Haitian schools, impoverished children receive nutritious meals every single day of the year. Most of the children tell us that without it, they would go hungry.

Sustainable Agriculture

Food baskets alone are not a sustainable solution for those teetering on the edge of starvation. Your support for farming and agriculture creates long-term food resiliency.

Gaza Home Gardens

Cut-off from provisions and forcibly shut-in populations on earth, the people of Gaza benefited greatly from Zakat Foundation’s greenhouse building program. Your contributions grew fruits, vegetables, and seeds for farmers and home gardens, and supported farming equipment and greenhouse management training for hundreds of marginalized, food-insecure families.

Ghana Food Cooperatives

Our rural women’s cooperatives produce a fantastic array of sustainable and sustaining foods — from bread to tapioca — by growing and processing the carbohydrate-rich crop cassava. Now self-reliant, these women feed their entire villages of 630 people including, their children and elderly.

Gift of Goats

Your gifts of goats provided a daily source of protein-rich dairy foods to over 10,000 people in Yemen, Uganda, Kenya, Niger, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, and Bangladesh, Mali and the Central African Republic.

Sadaqah Jariyah

Charity Ever-Flowing. 2.2 billion people on earth — the blue planet — lack access to drinking water at home, on demand, and free of contaminants. That’s more than 1 in 4 human beings in the world.

People with Clean Water

Quenching the Thirst of Thousands

More than half of all people, 4.2 billion, don’t have safe sanitation resources. Another 3 billion don’t have an acceptable way to wash their hands.3

You’ve responded with enthusiastic support for our Clean Water Program. Last year, you sponsored the digging and installation of 146 wells and hand pumps around the world.

They serve about 36,500 people a day. Such is a charity whose blessings gush ever on for us into the eternal Hereafter.

Building Mosques, Building Community

With the support of our donors, this fiscal year completes the construction of two mosques — in Ghana and the Philippines — offering congregational prayers and a place of gathering for community, women and youth groups. Your donations also funded the renovation of nine mosques with masonry, carpentry, doors, windows, latticework, painting and pulpits, generators for electricity, and loudspeakers. Together, these community spaces benefit some 15,443 individuals.


In Africa, east Asia, the Middle East, the Caribbean and for refugees right here, we provide livelihood and economy-strengthening programs. Thanks to donors like you, we created a durable financial foundation under their feet.

People lifted out of Poverty

Animal Husbandry & Farm Cooperatives

You’ve equipped Zakat Foundation’s specialists in the field to design flourishing farming cooperatives, self-proliferating animal husbandry programs. We can provide a growing array of vocational courses that give people the skills, means, and market connections to independently support themselves and nourish their families.

Animal Husbandry Program

You have supported our work to buy mating pairs of cattle, sheep, and goats. We gift them to destitute poor farmers in Yemen, India, Bangladesh, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Mali, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Côte d’Ivoire.

They give their families milk, wool and hair for cloth, skins for clothing and leather items, field labor, and, of course, meat. As part of the program, beneficiaries pay it forward and give their needful neighbors cattle birthed by their herds to help them become self-sustaining too.

Farming Cooperatives


As Yemen enters its fifth year of widespread famine and disease, the increased production, processing, and availability of sesame as a concentrated nutritional local staple is very vital. Zakat Foundation’s sesame farmers program now has 1,420 families. Experts teach these farmers how to maximize their productivity in the field. In the past year alone, there was a 30 percent jump in yields.

Your generous gifts to the farmers of Yemen has helped us to supply processing plants with generators to overcome the ravages of war on the country’s energy and water utility availability.

We’ve recently added Yemen’s farmers into our Animal Husbandry Program with 40 pairs of mating sheep for milk, wool, and meat to make food supplies more readily attainable.


The two Women’s Cassava Cooperatives continue to run strong with your support.

Cassava requires intensive preparation that these women used to do by hand. We gave them processing machines and proper power, which increased their production 50-fold. This dramatically raised profits and job prospects, directly creating health and education dividends for their children and communities.

The profits benefit the women and their families for home, food, medical care, clothing, education, and social activities such as weddings and funerals — virtually all of it circulating within the community. In this reporting period, the women of one Cooperative alone produced revenues of GH¢1.4 million ($266,000).

Vocational Training & Business Start-Ups

Refugees and vulnerable girls benefit from acquiring new, marketable skills and help in establishing their own businesses.

Refugee Girls Turn from Trauma to Triumph

Refugee survivors of trafficking and abuse fleeing from East and Central Africa find refuge in the RefuSHE safe house in Nairobi. Its girls, ages 13-23, receive safe housing, formal secondary education, and counseling for gender-based abuse and sexual assault.

United States
Job Placement for Refugee Professionals

Your generosity toward refugees in America has had life-changing outcomes for 255 people this year. Before being forced from their homes, they were educated as professionals (engineers, scientists, academics, degreed specialists). Your support helped them find internships, retraining for licensing qualifications in their fields, and English language training. In partnership with appropriate agencies, we help them find employment in their areas of expertise.

Dominican Republic
Empowering Domestic Workers

With your contributions, Zakat Foundation has continued teaching English language and labor rights to domestic workers in the Dominican Republic. English increases their employability and pay. Workers’ rights training helps keep them safe and with commensurate compensation.

Mothers of Orphans Become Self-Supporting Artisans

The Syrian civil war has pushed evermore refugees into Turkey — already the largest host country in the world — with numbers threatening to top 4 million.

But your generous gifts for these suffering women have brought safe housing, vocational and language training, and comprehensive physical and mental healthcare every year to 48 destitute mothers and their orphaned children. Zakat Foundation’s now renowned Muhammad Ali Safe House in Gaziantep, Turkey, coupled with Turkey’s southernmost Hatay Province Sigharuna Kibaruna Free Clinic, has set a humanitarian standard of refuge, training and socio-economic integration for war’s most vulnerable victims. Zakat Foundation provides these women priceless training in skill crafts — calligraphy, sewing, baking — business administration, and marketing. It then equips them with resources, start-up funds, and support until their new businesses become profitable. These entrepreneurs then become the guides for the next mothers enrolled in the program.


Your unwavering support for the human right to learn has made Zakat Foundation a recognized educational leader among international humanitarian charities.

You gave thousands of vulnerable children and dislocated adults the chance to go to school last year — and we delivered systematic, well-rounded, excellent academic instruction to them at every learning level, as well as first-rate training in the trades.

Given Access to Education

Schooling Refugees, the Displaced and the Remote

Knowledge is the principal liberating force on earth. You helped us grant thousands of vulnerable people their dream of going to school. Now, they can dare to hope for and attain a better tomorrow.

Syrian refugee primary & secondary education

Nearly 5.5 million Syrian refugees in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan present a massive educational challenge for Muslims and the world.

Zakat Foundation has created education pathways exclusively for Syrian refugees from early childhood through certified graduate education at the university level. At least 3,292 refugee children attend Zakat Foundation sponsored schools in Turkey at both the primary and secondary levels. Zakat Foundation education programs employ some 300 teachers and staff, all refugees.

Zahraa University

In 2019, Zakat Foundation’s landmark all-refugee Zahraa University graduated its second class of degreed students, including engineering majors. Now enrolling 610 students in its Gaziantep campus, Zahraa has earned full accreditation for its applied and natural sciences, language, and religion programs.

Education inside Syria

Your compassionate help also reached nearly 2,500 students inside Syria, attending eight Zakat Foundation primary and secondary schools that employ nearly 150 teachers and staff.

Steam-powered education for Chicago’s youth

Your generosity reaches children closer to home. Through your gifts, Zakat Foundation sponsors two Chicago Youth Centers branches in the integrated Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) program. It gives 366 students the opportunity to hone their creative expression and critical thinking.

Students invent, build and bring a product to market in the course of their hands-on workshops with acclaimed instructors. They show a marked improvement in leadership, problem-solving and increased motivation for learning, in and out of the classroom.

Orphanage schools in Bangladesh, Nepal and Afghanistan

For many years now, you have sent hundreds of orphans and impoverished children to school and supplied them with textbooks, notepads, pens and pencils, book bags and other supplies. Your contributions have kept that stream running for some 60 girls in Afghanistan, nearly three-dozen orphan boys in Bangladesh, and separately educated 55 orphan girls and boys in Nepal. In addition, the new preschool in Bangladesh’s destitute Boubazar district benefits at least 40 children.

More solar schools shine in Pakistan

Your generous gifts to bring solar power to Pakistan’s remote rural school children enabled Zakat Foundation to power six more schools with its Solar on Schools program since our last reporting period.

That brings the total to 24 Zakat Foundation SOS schools. It gives at least 4,800 more school children year-round electricity, warmth in the winter, and a cool, conditioned learning environment in the hot months.

Orphan & vulnerable children

God and His Prophet, on him be peace, raised orphans to a special place. They are a source of blessing, a key to attaining God’s pleasure and a measure of the health of a nation.

Sadly, orphans together would make up the ninth-largest nation in the world at 153 million. Some experts say that number falls short of their actual count.

You have opened your hearts to the orphans of our world, and Zakat Foundation has delivered your care and more to 7,413 orphans sponsored and over 80,000 more vulnerable children we reached in 44 countries.

And the orphans, too, have opened their hearts to you.

Children Reached

Health & Well-Being

We all desire freedom from illness and injury. We long for security and health in our bodies and lives.

Your contributions made it possible for Zakat Foundation to treat a substantial 473,511 patients in facilities we set up, sponsored or provided with direly needed medical equipment. Some 66,629 — nearly 14% of the people your care touched with the healing hands of our medical professionals — sought mental health help.

Children Treated

Special Needs & Mental Health Care

A society may be judged by how it treats its most vulnerable.

Zakat Foundation’s Sigharuna Kibaruna Free Clinic in Turkey’s Hatay Province has treated hundreds of Syrian refugee children suffering sensory and brain trauma from physical injuries sustained in the ongoing war.

More than 50 years of occupation, growing in size and severity, has led to widespread complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD). For the second year, Zakat Foundation has translated your support into professional training for teachers, counselors, staff and principals of 42 schools to detect signs of mental health strain in their students.

Your donations toward health care have served the homeless and impoverished in five community health centers in Mali, four health facilities in Kenya, and a hospital unit in Sudan. They collectively deliver an array of services including reproductive care, nutrition counseling, chronic illness treatment, immunizations against preventable diseases, cancer screenings, general health care, and deliveries for pre- and post-natal mothers reducing maternal mortality. A total of 35,136 patients were treated through these services in this reporting period. Also, $600,000 worth of medical equipment was provided to the four health facilities in Kenya, benefitting a population of 400,000 underserved people.

Khalil Center clinicians are reviving the mental health treatment heritage of our Muslim scholars and physicians. Through cutting-edge modern methods fused with Islam’s rich sciences of the soul from Quran and Prophetic tradition, we are serving the mental health needs of our community. The community needs a holistic residential treatment center that integrates Islam’s values and mental/spiritual health care traditions. Such a facility would invaluably enable critically needed research initiatives into specific diagnostic and informed treatment strategies to effectively treat Muslim mental health.

As many as 8,000 people in the United States and Canada received direct clinical consultation at Khalil Center locations — two in Chicago, three in the Bay Area, and one each in New York City, Los Angeles and Toronto.

Khalil Center reached another 26,935 parents, children and community members through workshops, seminars and its growing Web Therapy services. Khalil Center has also added psychiatry services in Chicago.


9 Myths About Muslim Charities

Stories from the Zakat Foundation of America

“A must-read. … Demir dispels myths with facts. … It seems as if the myth-busting stories could have come from God-inspired prophets with their ability to draw tears of action from the reader.”

Rev. Mitchell L. Johnson, J.D.

This year saw the completion and launch of the critical and timely book, 9 Myths About Muslim Charities, authored by Halil Demir, Zakat Foundation’s executive director. Found on Amazon.com and at our book tour events in cities across the nation, Demir’s book demonstrates how fear and distrust swirl around Muslim charities in American society.

Purchase Book on Amazon.com
9 Myths About Muslim Charities

Advocating for Your Right to Give


Integrating our Muslim voice in thought leadership and advocacy for civil society

InterAction is a voice for nearly 200 NGOs working to eliminate extreme poverty, safeguard a sustainable planet and ensure dignity for all people.

As a participant and presenter at monthly InterAction conferences and seminars, Zakat Foundation is learning best practices from, and sharing the Muslim-American story — both victories and obstacles — with, global leaders in humanitarian services.

Charity and Security Network

Advocacy center to balance the security state with the promotion of American generosity

As an Advisory Committee member, Zakat Foundation meets with agencies, lawmakers and government to change the law, making it easier for U.S. citizens to send money to hotly political areas such as Occupied Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Congo, Venezuela and the Philippines.

Together Project

A group of professional associations advancing the work of faith-based charities

Zakat Foundation is one the founding members of this four-year (and still running) effort to lift the profile of and increase the integration of Muslim-run humanitarian charities with other faith-based humanitarian organizations.

Through the Together Project, associate partner organizations learn about the domestic and international impact of Muslim-American giving and collaborate to address misinformation or other political attacks against a partner.


The Zakat Foundation of America Statement of Activities

For the year ended June 30, 2019

Support And Revenue:
Contributions$ 9,804,256
Investment return$ 4,426
Miscellaneous income$ 5,062
Total support and revenue$ 9,813,744
Program services$ 8,153,732
Management and general$ 1,253,566
Fundraising$ 651,582
Total expenses$ 10,058,880
Change in net assets(245,136)
Net Assets at Beginning of Year:
As previously reported$ 7,934,509
Prior period adjustment(80,587)
As restated$ 7,853,922
Net assets at end of year$ 7,608,786

Board of Directors

Executive Director

Halil Demir

Chair of Board

Hasan Arslan

Vice President

Mehmet Tarhan


Aidah Abdallah


Sawsan Habali

Board Member

Fatima Khalil


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What If? Foundation logo
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