To support Minnesota’s Muslim communities as they address new and intensifying challenges, The Minneapolis Foundation has awarded a grant of $50,000 to the Minnesota Muslim Leaders Coalition.
The grant will strengthen a three-year-old initiative led by Imam Makram El-Amin to deepen and expand the ties between diverse Muslim organizations. Funding for this award comes from the Faith In Each Other Funds, which The Minneapolis Foundation launched in 2017 to support Minnesota’s Muslim and Jewish communities in a time of heightened threats and uncertainty.
Over the past year, communities across the nation saw a surge in high-profile hate crimes targeting Muslim and Jews. In Minnesota, the bombing in August of Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington was among a number of distressing instances of xenophobia and anti-immigrant sentiment.
“The Minneapolis Foundation is committed to creating a community where everyone thrives, and we must all stand up to religious intolerance,” said R.T. Rybak, the Foundation’s President and CEO. “This grant reflects our values of welcoming newcomers and lending a hand to neighbors, which are at the core of what it means to be Minnesotan.”
The Foundation’s goals for the Faith In Each Other Funds include strengthening work led by Muslims on priorities set and pursued by a broad cross-section of community members. After gathering ideas and input from the community—a process that included a diverse group of Muslim men and women—Foundation staff members identified the Minnesota Muslim Leaders Coalition as a promising initiative that was already underway.
“This grant reflects our values of welcoming newcomers and lending a hand to neighbors, which are at the core of what it means to be Minnesotan.”
– R.T. Rybak
“This grant leverages the Muslim community’s many strengths, and we’re excited about its potential to advance collaborative efforts to address issues that Muslim Minnesotans themselves have identified as top priorities,” said Catherine Gray, the Foundation’s Director of Impact Strategy for Civic Engagement.
The Minnesota Muslim Leaders Coalition will use its Faith In Each Other funding to lay the groundwork for collaboration around issues that have emerged as common concerns, such as youth engagement, security, and communication between organizations. The coalition has already engaged more than 50 Muslim leaders and 30 organizations and developed an active network of 17 organizations that are committed to strengthening ties. With help from this grant, the coalition plans to expand its membership, establish better communication systems and organize convenings of Minnesota’s diverse Muslim community in formats that encourage participation and real-time feedback.
“This grant represents a unique opportunity to organize and build the capacity of Muslim institutions to be more effective, efficient, and resilient in the face of today’s many challenges,” El-Amin said.
The Minneapolis Foundation made its first Faith In Each Other grant last year, awarding $50,000 to support a security initiative of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas.