Building Relationships in Chicago and Beyond

I love the moment when someone learns something new during one of our presentations, seminars, or conversations, and I can almost see the lightbulb flash in the person’s eyes. It’s this moment that motivates me to lead our charities program at Muslim Advocates.

I recently returned from a training in Chicago to educate nonprofits and mosques on nonprofit governance and finances. I witnessed a number of lightbulb moments when participants—nonprofit leaders, board members, and community advocates—learned new information about how to run their community institutions more effectively and in compliance with the law.

These community institutions face many challenges in their efforts to serve our children, families, and neighbors. American Muslim charities and mosques face intense scrutiny from both the government and the public. They require support to be able to know the laws and comply with them.

At the Chicago training, I met an Indiana mosque leader who grappled with the question of how to handle membership dues to his institution. His question sparked a deeper sharing of resources about how to acknowledge and classify donor contributions according to the law, to ensure our community institutions can make the most of the funds they raise while keeping donors and members enthused about continuing their charitable giving.

Sustainable mosque funding is important as those resources go to critical programs that serve not only the community, but also educate children, house the homeless, or provide food to the hungry, so every dollar counts.

The mosque leader from Indiana previously attended our Dearborn, Michigan, seminar in December 2013; he brought five fellow mosque leaders with him to the Chicago training, and was glad he made the interstate trek to the event. I appreciated seeing how we’ve built relationships in the Midwest over time. Over 65 community leaders from around the region attended the Chicago training, which was co-sponsored by CAIR-Chicago, the Muslim Bar Association of Chicago, and the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (CIOGC).

Our next event is a seminar on May 16 in Boston. Click here for more details. We look forward to sparking your lightbulb moment.