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Islamic Relief USA

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Disaster Aid, Disaster Preparedness & Relief Services, International, Philanthropy

Mission: Islamic Relief USA strives to alleviate suffering, hunger, illiteracy, and diseases worldwide regardless of color, race, religion, or creed, and to provide aid in a compassionate and dignified manner. Islamic Relief USA aims to provide rapid relief in the event of human and natural disasters and to establish sustainable local development projects allowing communities to better help themselves.

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.

Community Stories

335 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Samir B.


Rating: 5

Excellent organizational techniques in distributing goods to the needy.


Rating: 5

I have been a donor for Islamic Relief since 2002. I have not found a non-profit more passionate and more transparent in the work they do. I also appreciate the hard work this charity does and how responsive they are if I need assistance.



Rating: 4

I was looking at the numbers posted in this site. 147 milliion dollars raised. sounds like they know how to raise money. I have donated for many years to this charity. The only thing that I didn't like seeing in the numbers was the compenstion to CEO and Counsultant (former CEO) the numbers are for 2009. CEO got about $130K per year and the consultant got more than $217,000 dollars. That seems a bit steep to me. I wonder what were the numbers for 2010.

Review from CharityNavigator



Rating: 2

I normally would never take time to write a review about a charity but, in this case, I feel compelled to do so.

I've been donating to this organization, on and off, for several years. I've done so based on their four star charity navigator but have come to realize that that has nothing to do with the quality of a charity's business. It only has to deal with how it spends the money it raises. Therefore, since this organization employs numerous volunteers it has earned a four star rating.

I wanted to warn anyone thinking about joining this group's orphan sponsorship program. It is a hoax, a fraud, a scam. I know that sounds harsh but that's the impression the organization has given me.

I signed up for their program after attending a conference where they were exhibiting a booth. Their volunteers unfortunately are not told the truth about the program so I don't doubt that they were telling me what they honestly believe. They told me I would receive a letter with my orphan's profile shortly after subscribing to the program. They told me I could visit the orphan anytime to check up on him or her. They told me that the organization devotes 100% of the money to the child's welfare. I was, needless to say, excited and signed onto the program.

After several months of constantly calling the organization and practically begging to receive something, I finally got my orphan's profile by email and then by mail. I was relieved. However, a part of me was confused. If they were already deducting my credit card, who were they making the payments to? I suspect it was going into a general bank account used to pay for their services. If that's the case (and I can't confirm it) then why bother telling people they are sponsoring 1 particular child? Is it more of a marketing ploy? I can understand that--- it's more effective to connect to someone's emotions by showing them a specific child than to tell them they will be benefiting orphans in general.

Anyway, I was ready to put the entire matter behind me and actually went to a dinner sponsored by them and donated more money. Then, I received another orphan profile. I was excited thinking that it was an update on my orphan! The letter thanked me for being a sponsor. My excited quickly evaporated as I realized that my orphan had drastically changed! It was an entirely new child! I was shocked! Could this be an error? Maybe they sent it to the wrong sponsor? Nope, my name was on there.

I am left confused, angry and greatly disappointed. Oh, and remember how the naive volunteer assured me that I could visit the orphan if I wanted? Not true. The letter clearly states that that would be against the rules (which makes sense to me but it does reflect poorly on the organization. It clearly needs to do a better job at educating its own volunteers so they don't "innocently" give false statements).

I can appreciate the hard work it goes into making a charity successful. However, the sloppy service I experienced leaves me with this question--- if they weren't able to properly send me a welcome letter with my orphan's profile promptly, how can I trust that they are able to deliver relief services to the needy globally?

Since first signing onto the program, I've shared my experience with friends and family. I've come to discover that many of them also never received any information about their orphan. I've also come to discover that what this organization seems to do best is raise money.

Review from CharityNavigator