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2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Silk Road Rising

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Cultural & Ethnic Awareness, International, Promotion of International Understanding, Theater

Mission: Silk Road Rising creates live theatre and online videos that tell stories through primarily Asian American and Middle Eastern American lenses. In representing communities that intersect and overlap, we advance a polycultural worldview.

Community Stories

43 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Our experiences attending Silk Road Rising (SRR) performances are thought provoking. The story lines bring to life human experiences of cultures we, unfortunately, rarely experience in real time. SRR truly is a gift in the heart of Chicago.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Silk Road is an amazing, creative and contemporary company. I love their cutting edge plays, that provide the curious and uninitiated individual with deep insight into the lesser known cultures and mores. They provide a service that is desperately needed in present turbulent polarized times.
Thank you guys, you are loved.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

Silk Road has been doing wonderful work to promote the modern and traditional aspects of personal and social experiences of Asians and Asian-Americans, along with current events, to the public through stories brought to life in new contemporary plays.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Extraordinary artistic, noble, and activist theatre!

The two founders (from Middle-Eastern/Caucasian/Muslim/Christian/gay backgrounds) founded the theatre to promote cultural understanding in response to the 9/11 attacks.

Their artistic work is fantastic; they put up entertaining, thought-provoking plays working with both established and up-and-coming talent.

They reach out to the community with educational initiatives, discussion panels, online plays, essays, and more. Silk Road Rising and its tireless founders (who frequently greet guests after shows) is taking the Chicago arts scene and cultural understanding to another level. During these interesting times, the world needs Silk Road Rising more than ever.

1 Jessica307

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Silk Road Rising is a company that I have seen many shows at and participated in many events as an audience member. The work they produce is always stellar and eye opening in a way that creates conversations that are not always easy to have given the current political climate. They are a pillar in the Chicago theatre community with a staff that is always extremely welcoming and helpful. As an artist, I am proud to say that their shows have informed not only my career, but my personal life.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

A theater that thrives on presenting eye-opening (and mind opening) productions exploring how we are different-- and the same. They tell the experiences of the people whose ancestry is along the Silk Road, from the middle east to the Pacific; exploring issues that are both relevant to today, and timeless.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have attended most of the plays produced by Silk Road Rising and enjoyed them all.
As an Arab-American, Muslim and a woman they speak to me more than other productions.
The plays are current, creative, informative and break down many stereotypes.
I have brought high school students to see the plays and Silk Road Rising has worked with several of Chicago Public High Schools.
They have been a reflection of Chicago as a global city!
Fadwa Hasan

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Having attended about 12 performances in the past few years, I have always been so impressed with both the production and content of what I have seen. Each performance has both entertained me and, more importantly, educated me to ways of thinking I had not understood or considered. When I can walk away from a performance and have had my ways of thinking challenged – I consider myself better for having seen it. Silk Road continues to be my go to place for as many of the performances as my schedule allows me to see. AND, those who run Silk Road have always made me feel very welcome and shows great appreciation for my attendance. It’s always a very personal experience.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Silk Road Rising is a unique nonprofit that tells important stories in compelling ways. The opportunity to learn about and understand Asian-American and Middle Eastern-American experiences is critical in our age of fear and prejudice. Silk Road Rising productions raise issues that inspire, challenge and entertain us with creativity, variety and integrity. We are fortunate that they are located in Chicago.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

An excellent theatre that truly prioritizes patron's experiences. Programming is current, nuanced, and offers diverse perspectives. Both Jamil and Malik really offer a personal face for the company and go out of their way to engage in a wide range of communities that they serve. A truly mission-aligned theatre, Silk Road Rising challenges and educates through great honesty, artistic rigor, and integrity.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

We are retired educators who worked extensively with multicultural issues. Silk Road Rising is a major force in improving racial and multicultural relations in the Chicagoland area. Some folks are seeing, perhaps for the first time, their lives and issues presented on stage. Others are walking in other people's sandals--all in a non-threatening venue. Every performance is well thought out and honed to perfection. Authenticity is key. Plays, like life, are nuanced.
The Silk Road staff reaches out to subscribers and potential audience members in meaningful ways. Opinions are sought; feedback is important. Silk Road Rising always creates dialog.
What a great gift to the artistic community and to society at large! Malik and Jamil are amazing human beings.

Steve Ham and Jo Ellen Ham

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have had the pleasure to attend several Silk Road Rising performances over the last few years, and I am consistently floored by the magic they manage to work on stage. This is what theatre should be: well-performed, beautifully designed, substantive storytelling in a friendly, welcoming space (the founders, Malik and Jamil, are a delight). Even their staged readings shine with a polish so rarely found in quote/unquote "storefront" theatres. How lucky we are to have Silk Road Rising - a beacon of voices and talents so often overlooked by mainstream stages - just blocks away from the most iconic staples of the Chicago Theatre District. In my mind, Silk Road Rising contends with the best of them.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

After having seen the investigative, creative, educational and dramatic role Silk Road Rising played in relation to Mosque Alert I remained amazed with the group's work ethic, its ability to communicate and raise consciousness as well as its dedication not only to the drama but also to the dialogue. Chicago could not be more fortunate to have a theater group like this in times like today. Once Elmhurst finally gets its dedicated performing arts location underway, the group will be on the top of the list of people I recommend. Well-run charity that makes the donation decision easy.

1 Liz_81

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Silk Road is one of the most important voices in Chicago Theatre and in service of the entire community. Their work puts Chicago into the global conversation with fearless, challenging, and enlightening ideas in a passionate and compassionate context. The current production of Mosque Alert addresses one of the most critical topics we currently face and one in which we must all find our voices.

GoddessAmira

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

I am an actor and Silk Road Rising has been instrumental in helping my career to blossom. As a matter of fact, we were both "born" around the same time. I had come to Chicago in the Autumn of 2002 to pursue acting, and I somehow found out about this company then called Silk Road Theatre Project and the show they were mounting, Jamil Khoury's "Precious Stones". I attended a performance (it was actually one of the very first shows I had seen in the city) and immediately knew I had to reach out to them. I just knew we were right for each other; I am an Arab-American, and I was very interested in helping them with their mission of putting stories on stage that were written by playwrights of Asian/Middle Eastern ancestry featuring actors of similar ancestry. It was a perfect beginning for me, and over the course of the next decade, we worked together many, many times. I not only got to perform a few times in various remounts of "Precious Stones", but I participated in one of their biggest shows to date, "Merchant on Venice", as well as smaller- but every bit as interesting- staged readings. I've loved and appreciated it all. Working with Jamil and Malik is just a lovely experience every time; they are incredibly supportive and admiring of our work, and sit in the audience quite often during the run of a show, as they are such fans of the theatre. Working with them, in short, feels like coming home. I am incredibly grateful for getting to work with them so much over the years, and grateful to them for giving so many diverse artists a much-needed chance to shine.

Donor

Rating: 5

I was the minister of the Chicago Temple when Malik and Jamil came to me with their idea of starting a theater as a response to 9/11. How best can we get to know each other across cultural and ethnic boundaries? By telling our stories to each other. For over a decade I have sat in the audience and learned what I never otherwise would have known about people half way around the world and just around the corner.

What Silk Road Rising provides on stage, on line, and on campus is stunning and impactful.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I happened across Silk Road Rising as a volunteer usher, but their ability to tell the stories of Middle Eastern and Asian people with compassion, dignity, and vigor quickly turned me into a donor. We don't have much to give, but their work is so critical to a fully inclusive society that I can't imagine not doing everything I can to support their continuance.

Aila P.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Silk Road Rising has been one of the most inspiring companies that I have had the honor of working with. They open a forum in which the Chicago community is allowed insight to the often overlooked experience of immigrants in this country. It has been an honor to work with The wonderful co-founders of Silk Road Rising, Malik Gillani and Jamil Khoury, and I look forward to working with them in the future. Support of this company is integral to bring the marginalized experience of minority cultures and races to light within Chicago's vast theatre community.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have worked with over thirty theaters and arts organizations over the past three decades. Silk Road Rising Theatre in Chicago is the most efficiently operated of all of them, but what makes it stand out is that its founders care very deeply about the organization's mission. Theater, when it succeeds, is perhaps the single best tool for raising public awareness about complex social and political issues. No one in the U.S. non-profit sector is doing that more effectively than Jamil Khoury and Malik Gilani. Silk Road Rising is a ray of light, helping its audience re-think the simplistic notions parroted in the mainstream media about culture, race and politics. The organization in its structure and in its dealings with artists and audience mirrors its mission of treating every individual as a complex and humane individual. It’s actually difficult to imagine a non-profit that does a better job of serving the community.

Donor

Rating: 5

I attend the First United Methodist Church at the Chicago Temple and learned of Silk Road Theatre through that group, which houses the theatre company. I'm also a frequent theatre-goer, with season tickets to four Chicago theatres. When I discovered Silk Road Theare (now Silk Road Rising), I was excited because they are meeting a great need in telling stories of specific groups of people along the Silk Road--using playwrights and actors who have stories to tell which often don't get portrayed in other theatres. As a former teacher who worked many years in diversity education, I know how important it is that people have an opportunity to see their own lives reflected in the stories told in literature or on stage. Equally important is the opportunity for others to learn about people from these cultures--and theatre transports us, helping us walk in others' shoes, to experience in some way what they are living out. Silk Road Theatre not only provides excellent theatre experiences, it also builds bridges of understanding.