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A personal appeal

A personal appeal
At ING, we have a firm commitment to build a stable financial base to ensure that our children live in a world of intercultural understanding, mutual respect, and peace. To this end, we have established an endowment or, to use the Arabic term, a waqf. Below we explain the reasons for moving in this direction. I invite you to join me in laying a solid foundation for our work today and for the coming generations. To donate to the ING endowment, go here. As explained below, a certain percentage of your contribution will go towards current expenses until the endowment is built to a certain amount.

Below are answers to some questions you may have concerning this effort. Please feel free to contact me directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  if you have any additional questions. Thank you.

Maha Elgenaidi
CEO and Chair, Board of Trustees 



Why did ING create an endowment?

For two principal reasons:
  1. To expand our work, which is more needed today than it was when we first started
  2. To cut costs by up to 33%

Expanding our work in Islamic literacy and interreligious engagement:

Based on two independent polls in 2014, not only do many Americans continue to have negative attitudes toward Islam and Muslims, but these attitudes have actually worsened over the past several years. The Pew Research Institute recently asked respondents to indicate on a scale of 1 to 100 the “warmth” or “coldness” they felt toward certain religious groups, with 1 representing the “coldest” (most hostile) attitude and 100 the “warmest” (most friendly) attitude. Muslims scored lowest of all groups with a rating of 40.

Equally disturbing is a new poll by Zogby Associates showing that the percentage of Americans viewing Muslims favorably has declined over the past four years, from 35% in 2010 to 27% in 2014. The news from the Zogby poll is not all bad, however. The percentage of Americans holding an unfavorable view of Islam and Muslims has declined from 55% in 2010 to 45% this year. Putting these figures together indicates that the percentage of those who do not know or who are unsure of their view of Muslims has risen from 10% to 28% over the past four years. In other words, a growing percentage of Americans is open to learning about Muslims. This makes ING’s work more crucial than ever.

ING has demonstrably made an impact in countering negative attitudes toward Muslims. For example, our surveys of attitudes before and after ING presentations show that among high school audiences:

  • The percentage of those believing that Islam promotes terrorism fell by 89%.
  • The percentage of those believing that Islam promotes the oppression of women fell by 75%.
  • The percentage of those recognizing that Muslims have long been a part of the history of the U.S. rose by 74%.
  • The percentage of those seeing American Muslims as “Americans like myself” rose by 40%.

Our full impact report for 2012-2014 can be found here. We want to expand this work to reach millions of Americans face-to-face through Affiliates and online tools for disseminating our content.

Cutting costs:

One of the most time-consuming issues for any non-profit organization is the never-ending need to raise funds. This issue takes away important time and resources from the mission of an organization while wearying the community with endless fundraising efforts, dinners, and initiatives, costing more and more money.

An endowment will secure our financial foundation and save up to 33% of our ongoing costs that are currently spent on fundraising.

Is ING purchasing a building?

Starting an endowment is like purchasing a building, but, unlike a building that is not used as rental property, the endowment will be earning money for the organization based on halal investments that annually earn between 5% and 12% of the principal, which is held in perpetuity. In other words, the principal is never spent, only the earnings.

While an endowment might be a new idea for the American Muslim community, it an idea with deep and long-standing roots in Muslim tradition. A waqf or endowment was traditionally a means for a charitable organization to pursue and continue its work while providing a continuous reward for the donor. According to hadith, this reward continues even after his or her death.

What benefits does ING and the donor derive from the endowment?

Building an endowment where your donations are kept in perpetuity and where we spend only the money we earn from halal investments of the endowment funds has innumerable values and benefits for you as well as for ING and the community at large:

Spiritual and material benefits:
  • For you:
    • Perpetual rewards (sadaqa jariya) from God (Allah) long after you leave this world.
    • The opportunity to leave a legacy in your family’s name.
    • The knowledge that your donations become investments that build a base for ING’s future and are not used up just for current operations.
  • For ING:
    • Builds a solid financial foundation for the organization.
    • Improves our planning and project management because of a predictable budget.
    • Saves up to 33% of our costs that would otherwise be spent on fundraising
  • For the community:
    • Improves perceptions about Islam and Muslims while building interreligious harmony among all Americans. (See ING’s latest Impact Report and testimonials about our work from our clients and speakers.)
    • Establishes ING as an American Muslim institution.

It’s a win-win-win arrangement.

How much should I donate?

As much as you want and feel comfortable doing. Here’s what I am recommending:

According to several of the largest charitable foundations in the United States and federal government reports, Americans donate an average of 3% to 5% of their adjusted gross income to non-profits.

I am asking you to donate to ING at least 1% of your annual income to help us build the first endowment in America specifically for teaching about Islam and Muslims and increasing religious literacy while building interreligious harmony among all Americans.

Read our latest Impact Report on ING’s work. We want to continue the benefits of our work where we already have Affiliates and to start new similar efforts around the country.

We ask that you please make a donation based on the schedule below that encourages support from the broader community while ensuring that any donation is not a hardship. You are of course welcome to donate more. Click here to go directly to the donate page.

  • $250 if your income is less than $50,000/year
  • $500 if your income is between $50,000 and $100,000/year
  • $1,000 if your income is between $100,000 and $200,000/year
  • $1,500 if your income is over $200,000/year
  • $5,000 if your income is over $500,000/year

How will my donations be used?

Fifty percent of your donation will go towards the endowment and the other 50% will go towards ING’s regular operating expenses until we have raised the first milestone of the endowment. We will notify the community and update this website when this happens.

Thereafter, 80% of your donations will go towards the endowment and 20% to operations until we reach the second milestone of the endowment. After we reach this second milestone, 100% of your donations will go towards the endowment.

For more information:

If you wish to receive more information about the endowment or ING, please contact me directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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