NOVI — On Saturday, May 13, the Center for Arab American Philanthropy (CAAP) held the 10th annual 100 Arab American Women Who Care event at Land Rover Novi. The CAAP is a national institution of ACCESS, a national Arab American community foundation.
Roughly 110 women gathered to celebrate and honor their continued philanthropy work. Each year this event donates a set amount to a different organization and that organization is hand-picked by the women who attend, allowing them to make a meaningful impact in the community.
Attendees donated $125 or more and nominated an organization upon registering for the event. Three of the nominated organizations are selected at random during the event and those who chose the ones selected give a brief speech advocating for that organization and its cause. From there, all attendees vote for one of the three organizations to receive the $10,000 donation.
The three nominated organizations were the Penrickton Center for Blind Children, A Girl Like Me and Project Dignity Outreach. This year, the Penrickton Center for Blind Children garnered the most votes and received the donation.
U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) attended the event along with many other esteemed Arab American women. Several Arab American women-owned business vendors were featured as well.
Photos: Mohamad Jaafar
Over the last 10 years of 100 Arab American Women Who Care, a total of $94,000 has been donated to various organizations. Some of the previous organizations that received donations include the Belinda Sue Fund for Ovarian Cancer Awareness & Research, Kids Against Hunger, Arbor Hospice and the Muslim Foster Care Association.
In 2013, Rasha Demashkieh, a local philanthropist and current advisory board chair of the CAAP, played a large role in planning the inception of the first 100 Arab American Women Who Care event. She has now led the planning committee for the last decade.
“When I was introduced to the concept of a giving circle from another community foundation, I knew that I wanted to bring it to my generous Arab American community, helping make our giving more strategic,” she said.
CAAP Director Tamara El-Khoury told The Arab American News this event strives to promote the philanthropic work of Arab Americans while also graciously helping, giving and positively impacting.
“For the event, the goal is to highlight the power of collective giving,” El-Khoury said. “It really showcases how when we all come together, we can make a far bigger impact than if we were to each just donate alone.”
She also emphasized the importance of creating a space for Arab Americans to see themselves as philanthropists.
“Most things that CAAP does is to change perceptions about Arab Americans in the community, highlight our generosity and philanthropy, and to help Arab Americans see themselves as philanthropists and make philanthropy as accessible and easy for them as we can.”
El-Khoury said that contrary to popular belief, philanthropy doesn’t require large sums of money to make a meaningful impact, and 100 Arab American Who Care has showcased that exactly. Through their giving circle, they’ve demonstrated the significant power of collective giving; when individuals join together for a common goal, they’ve proven they can and will make a positive impact.
For the event, the goal is to highlight the power of collective giving. It really showcases how when we all come together, we can make a far bigger impact than if we were to each just donate alone. — Tamara El-Khoury, director of the Center for Arab American Philanthropy
She shared that this event empowers donors by giving them the tools and knowledge to engage in philanthropic work, allowing them to play an active role in making a difference.
El-Khoury also said that philanthropy can be fun and the CAAP aims to keep it that way.
“It should be fun; and also if we do it collectively, we can make a great impact without having it to be one person.”
“Oftentimes, people feel very intimidated by the practice of philanthropy,” Demashkieh said. “It’s understood as being something that is out-of-reach for many. But through initiatives like this one, we are showing that you don’t have to be incredibly wealthy to be a philanthropist. When we give a little but leverage our giving, we can make a much larger impact.”
El-Khoury also touched on the lack of knowledge surrounding Arab American donors, as many are unaware of the Arab American community’s generosity and presence in philanthropy.
“When we give to these organizations in the community who’ve never heard of us, they don’t even know there are Arab American donors out there, let alone hundreds, so it helps showcase and introduce ourselves to the community as philanthropists,” she said.
100 Arab American Women Who Care is committed to continuing their philanthropic work, making a positive impact and inspiring more Arab Americans to make meaningful contributions in the world of philanthropy.