Islamic Relief USA
Rating: 4.72 stars 224 reviews
Issues: Disaster Aid, International, Philanthropy
Location: 3655 Wheeler Avenue Alexandria VA 22304 USA
Target demographics: Islamic Relief USA provides assistance to anyone in need, anywhere in the world, regardless or race, color, reliegion, or creed.
Geographic areas served: United States and Internationally. Islamic Relief USA operated domestically in 24 states in 2010, specifically VA, MI, MD, TX, NJ, RI, IL, CA, KS, SD, GA, PA, OR, MN, NY, MA, DC, WA, AZ, NV, ME, CT, OH, and OK. In 2011, Islamic Relief USA assisted with the Alabama tornado devastation. Islamic Relief USA operated in 33 countries in 2010: Afghanistan, Albania, Bangladesh, Bosnia, Cambodia, Chad, Chechnya (Russian Federation), China, Columbia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Kosovo, Lebanon, Malawi, Mali, Niger, Pakistan, the Occupied Palestinian Territories (Gaza/West Bank), Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Yemen, and Zimbabwe.
Programs: ORPHANS 1-TO-1 SPONSORSHIP: Islamic Relief's One-to-One Orphan Sponsorship helps the world's most desperate orphans. The beneficiaries live in the world's poorest and most devastated countries, where millions of children are orphaned and left to struggle for survival. 100 percent of our sponsors' contributions are sent directly to an orphan's guardian, where Islamic Relief's One-to-One Orphan Sponsorship allows children to remain with a loving family member who may not have been able to care for them otherwise. RAMADAN “FEED THE NEEDY” PROGRAM: During the month of fasting, known as Ramadan, Muslims are required to fast from sunrise to sunset. Feeding people at the end of the fasting day represents a very rewarding spiritual act according to Islamic tradition and teachings. The Ramadan “Feed the Needy” Program offers an opportunity for many needy people around the world who face food insecurity and hunger to be provided with a ‘Ramadan Food Pack’, which ensures that their burden is eased during the month of Ramadan. A wide range of beneficiaries were selected, they included categories like widows, orphans, destitute, aged, disabled, refugees and people affected by disasters. The beneficiaries are selected in conjunction with local welfare groups working alongside Islamic Relief offices in a given country. QURBANI “MEAT DISTRIBUTION” PROGRAM: Qurbani “meat distribution” activities are performed during the season of Eid al Adha. Muslims from the United States donate money which is used to purchase and slaughter livestock – mainly sheep, goats and cows. The meat from these animals is then distributed to the needy people in the poorest regions of the world on behalf of the donors. According to Islam, one sheep or goat equals one Qurbani; one cow, buffalo or camel equals seven Qurbanis. Qurbani meat is distributed in three different methods, the method chosen for a country is dependent on several factors including cost, availability of livestock, logistical issues and current situation of that country e.g. war, famine, natural disaster. This year again a wide range of beneficiaries were selected, they included categories like widows, orphans, the destitute, the aged, the disabled, refugees and disaster affected populations. The beneficiaries are selected in conjunction with local welfare groups working alongside Islamic Relief field offices in a given country. INTERNATIONAL GIFT IN KIND (GIK) DONATIONS: Typical donations include hygiene kits, newborn supplies, school supplies, orphans supplies (children’s clothing), children’s toys and books, medical supplies, emergency medical supplies, shelf-stable food, and medicine sent to disaster and relief locations worldwide. DOMESTIC GRANTS: Each year Islamic Relief USA provides cash to assist medical clinics, warming centers, shelters for the homeless and/or victims, educational institutions, food banks, and social service offices. DOMESTIC “DAY OF DIGNITY” PROGRAM: Islamic Relief USA provides beneficiaries in the U.S. with food (on-site meals), canned goods (select locations), clothing (t-shirts, hats, socks, undergarments), school supplies (backpacks, pencils, books), toys, blankets, sheets, towels, medical care (including oral cancer screenings, glaucoma screenings, and blood pressure readings), physical exams, dental care, first aid, wound checks, haircuts, job training (select locations), and other social services to all who attend, regardless of their backgrounds. DOMESTIC “ZAKAT” PROGRAM: Every year, IRUSA uses donated Zakat money to support the Domestic Zakat Partnership Program. Domestic Zakat is administered through local Zakat partners to provide limited financial assistance to those in need. This assistance is primarily focused upon providing basic living costs, such as food shelter, clothing, and other family needs. DOMESTIC “QURBANI” PROGRAM: Every year during Eid Al-Adha, Islamic Relief USA slaughters and distributes Qurbani meat throughout the United States. Islamic Relief USA distributes the Qurbani meat to mosques, Islamic centers, and service organizations across the country, who then distributes the meat to the neediest in their local communities. After the slaughter had been completed, the meat was packaged in five-pound packets and frozen. Local organizations were then asked to distribute ten pounds of meat per family.
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My first experience working with this organization was refreshing. However as each year passed by, I came in contact with a large variety of people and organizations who had been dealing with Islamic Relief much longer. I had been warned, but dismissed the warnings. Then gradually the employees of IR, at the time multi-cultural, multi-faith, multi-race group, had been replaced by 90% Arab/Arab American.
Although they retained a handful of "American" employees, the majority are Arab and many are family members. My last few encounters with them were not pleasant. The "New" Board started replacing employees who were productive and brought "American" organizations in the loop. We had several programs being funded by IR on a yearly basis, which required occasional audits by IR retained CPA.
Problems came about when the young inexperienced, newly graduated CPA felt his "Opinion" was the "Rule" rather than a suggestion. During the audit, he made several "suggestions", in which our Director took notes. He also gave his opinion on what he "thought" "might be considered inappropriate" practice and advised us to discontinue. On which the Director thanked him for his observation. Over all he stated that the audit went well and he did not foresee any problems.
However one month later he sent the report to our organization indicating that he could not complete it until we complied with his "suggestions". Another words he insisted that ALL of his suggestions be corrected immediately. These were internal situations that had nothing to do with applying for grants with IR. This continued for over 5 months; five months of wasting our valuable time. In which we continually thanked him for his advise and "Suggestions", however we would not comply at the time he requested.
During this five month period, our organization applied for our usual 3 grants and heard nothing back from IR. They did not even update the online application process. We were told several times to re-apply, because they lost the information. So to the point, after being audited, in which we did not comply in a timely manner to the CPA's "suggestions". After applying and re-applying for our yearly grants; one year later we were informed that we would no longer receive grants from Islamic Relief because they felt we were "Cheating".
But they still wanted us to host their "National Event". My suggestion to all the American non-profit organizations that don't deal with International affairs; stay away from organizations that fund outside the USA.... it will bite you in the end. Our government makes them "comply" to very strict rules, which local organizations are NOT required to comply with. That grant money is not worth the headache IR will give you anlong with the slander they spread about your organization when you refuse to comply!!!
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
EVEYTHING! You live in the USA, support the Americans! Don't make it harder! America, love it or leave it!
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