Key Points

Islamophobia and a lack of legitimacy heavily impact Muslim-led nonprofits and limit their relationships with philanthropy in the United States, resulting in an anemic, continually underfunded sector. This article explores that disconnect within a discussion of the Year of Learning, a unique series of virtual workshops that brought together foundations and nonprofits serving the Muslim American community.

Among the barriers to more effective relationships that emerged from the workshops were the presence of Islamophobia within society at large and philanthropy in particular, a hesitance among U.S. foundations to fund faith-based work, and a lack of capacity among Muslim-led nonprofits. Also evident was limited knowledge in the philanthropic community about the issues facing Muslim Americans and the nonprofits that serve them.

The workshops presented foundation leaders with a unique opportunity to showcase examples of ongoing work with the Muslim community and to interact with representatives of Muslim-led nonprofits, add them to their networks, and provide them with mentoring to expand their grant funding opportunities. Several avenues emerged for foundations and Muslim nonprofits seeking to engage to work together more closely and create a larger space for Muslim voices in discussions of diversity, equity, and inclusion for racialized communities.

Open Access