Since our last newsletter, we've been focusing on collaboration, finding ways to connect and work together both within our network and with the wider sector. We've launched new Working Groups to tackle two of the most urgent issues we face today: humanitarian crisis response and climate change. In this time of polycrises, philanthropy absolutely has a role to play in helping find sustainable, scalable, and equitable solutions – but when it comes to bringing voices to the table to find answers, philanthropy is often left out. Our Working Groups aim to make significant positive change that aligns with global initiatives and goals while also reflecting the unique strengths and challenges of the Arab region. Read on to find out more about the objectives of each group and how you can get involved.

We've also created more opportunities for organizations in our network to share their knowledge and interests through our new Member-Led Sessions. Designed and run by our members, and hosted by AFF, these sessions allow participants to learn about timely issues while also benefiting from the deep expertise and experience of each organization leading the session. The first session in this new series was run by Greenpeace MENA and looked at the power of Islamic finance to catalyze climate funding – learn more and find a catchup link below.

Our team has also been busy elevating the voice of the Arab philanthropy sector at high-profile convenings such as the World Trade Organization's 13th Ministerial Conference in February in Abu Dhabi and the Islamic Development Bank's Annual Meeting in April in Riyadh. You can see more on that in the News From Our Network section.

Of course, the awful backdrop to all of this activity is the ongoing genocide in Gaza, now in its seventh month. If you are moved to help ease the crushing humanitarian crisis in the region, scroll down to the Support for Gaza section to learn about some of the ways our network is making a difference on the ground and to see how your contributions to our AFF Pooled Fund are already helping families whose lives have been devastated by the attacks.

Finally, thank you to everyone who filled out our Survey of Needs. We asked, you answered! And we can now reveal the Top 5 priority areas for our members this year:

  • Collaboratives and Partnerships
  • Philanthropy and Climate Change in the Arab Region
  • Inspired Leadership
  • Arab Philanthropy and Funding for Infrastructure
  • Social Impact Assessment

We already have an exciting array of events, activities, and research focusing on these topics planned for the rest of the year, and we're working on more. Look out for details and invitations over the coming months.

As always, we invite you to send us your thoughts, comments, and ideas. And if you think you might like to join our growing family, we'd love to tell you about all the benefits of AFF membership. Please reach out to Walid Nagi, our Network and Relationships Director.

Thank you for reading, and stay safe,

Naila Farouky

CEO, Arab Foundations Forum

Working Groups

Our Working Groups bring together AFF network members to leverage their collective interests, resources, and power to make real change on the big issues facing the world today. They will collaborate on projects and initiatives that are grounded in the perspective of the Arab region but also feed into global efforts.

The Humanitarian Relief and Recovery Task Force (HRRTF) serves as an institutionalized mechanism to inform and coordinate Arab foundation and non-profit interventions in crisis and fragile contexts, with the aim of making them more timely, effective, and accountable to local communities. Driven by AFF's mandate to support the information exchange and capacity building needs of the philanthropic and nonprofit sector, the task force also aims to support the transition from emergency to recovery stage, empower local communities in crisis, and foster aligned action and collaboration between organizations and relevant sectors. The HRRTF is open to both AFF members and non-members – please contact Heba Abou Shnief for details.

The Arab #PhilanthropyforClimate Working Group is tasked with developing an Arab Regional Philanthropy Commitment on Climate Change based on the framework of the International Philanthropy Commitment on Climate Change developed by our partner WINGS. Signatories pledge their commitment to taking urgent action on climate change. The goal is to catalyze a #PhilanthropyforClimate movement across the Arab region and come up with implementation guidelines that countries of the region can contribute to and adapt to fit their own circumstances and goals. If your organization is interested in getting involved with the working group – as a member, a funder, or a contributing expert – please contact Walid Nagi.

Keep an eye on our social media channels and our website for updates on the progress being made by these Working Groups and others we have planned.

Member-Led Sessions

It's time to let our members take the lead! Our new Member-Led Sessions combine several of our strategic pillars – such as networking, capacity development, and knowledge building – to offer our members the opportunity to share their expertise and their ideas on issues that touch philanthropic activity across the region. For the first session in the series, Greenpeace MENA brought together a panel of experts and leaders in climate finance to discuss the untapped potential for Islamic finance as an ethical, sustainable way to fund climate action. If you missed this eye-opening session, you can catch up on our YouTube channel.

Next up is a workshop designed and led by the Coordination of Organizations for Voluntary Service (COSV) exploring the impact of the Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) in Lebanon. SSE prioritizes social and often environmental objectives over profit motives and you can learn more about it in several policy papers published by COSV through their initiative Social2Square. Be sure to register for this session when the invitation hits your inbox soon!

Support for Gaza

As we witness the horror of the continuing assault on Gaza, it can be difficult to know how to help. Funding aid and relief efforts is one of the most concrete and immediate ways to support Gazans, but the massive choice of where to send your money can be overwhelming, from major aid charities to individual GoFundMe appeals.

We are proud that many organizations across our network are devoting their time, money, and teams to helping the people of Gaza. Many rely on donations to continue doing their good work, and your contribution to any one of them would make a life-changing impact. As just one example, the International Medical Corps (IMC), an AFF member, runs a field hospital in the Al Mawasi area on Gaza's southwestern coast, providing comprehensive lifesaving services to the civilian population.

Photo credit: Ammar Marwan, Tawasal

Opened in January in Rafah, until it had to relocate due to the escalating bombings in the area, the facility has grown from 50 beds to 140 and provides a range of vital health services, including trauma surgery, physical rehabilitation, emergency obstetric and newborn care, nutrition, mental health and psychological support, access to water, sanitation and hygiene facilities and much more. Over the past four months, the hospital has provided critical medical assistance to more than 53,500 people and the IMC is now establishing a second field hospital near Deir Al Balah. 

To support more of the amazing organizations in our network who are tirelessly working with their teams and partners on the ground in Gaza, you might consider donating through our Gaza Donor Appeal. The appeal, which launched with initial support from The Asfari Foundation, is made up of American Friends Service Committee, Taawon, United Palestinian Appeal, Life for Relief and Development, and Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism – you can donate to one or all of them through the dedicated page on our site.

We also have the AFF Pooled Fund, which directs money to smaller community organizations so they can get food, clothing, medicine and other supplies into the hands of the people who need them. We are amazed by the generosity of those who have donated so far. Since October, we have sent $10,000 to Tawasal, an AFF member organization based in Gaza, which used the money to buy warm clothes to help mainly women and children cope with the freezing winter nights. Another $5,000 is going to a local Gaza soup kitchen, with service points in the region's north and south providing hot, nutritious meals to thousands of displaced Palestinians every day.

The fast-moving catastrophe in Gaza makes it extremely difficult to get funds to aid providers on the ground, with local organizations disappearing daily, whether that's because they have run out of resources, it has become impossible to reach them, or their team members have been killed. For large NGOs and government agencies trying to get aid to Gazans, the obstacles are numerous and ever-changing.

Photo credit: Ammar Marwan, Tawasal

That's why at AFF we are focusing on directing donations to organizations and individuals who are currently inside Gaza and can provide immediate help. If you want to do the same, there are many local groups beyond our Pooled Fund whose small teams are making a big impact. Palestine Humanitarian Response provides clothing and medical supplies and runs a children's village to allow more than 250 displaced children to forget the terror they are living through, if only for a minute. HopeHub for Gaza runs a co-working space to give freelancers displaced by the conflict an essential place to keep working. And at Gaza Funds you can find an aggregated, regularly updated list of verified GoFundMe appeals from families trying to raise enough money to escape the relentless attacks.

If you want to donate but don't know where your money will make the most impact, please consider giving to one of these groups or another community-level organization in the region. They may not have the resources, reach, or name recognition of global aid charities, but they are dedicated to improving the lives of Gazans going through unimaginable pain and trauma.

News From Our Network

Philanthropy and Trade Roundtable

At the World Trade Organization (WTO) MC13 meeting in Abu Dhabi in February, AFF moderated a roundtable hosted by the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Economy and Crescent Enterprises which brought together 20 experts to discuss where and how trade and philanthropy can best work together. The discussion, which was based on a comprehensive white paper that you can read on the WTO MC13 site, dug into ways strategic philanthropy can contribute to streamlining global trade processes, enhance impact and inclusivity, and help build resilience within the global trade ecosystem.

AFF at IsDB Annual Meeting

AFF CEO Naila Farouky joined a panel of esteemed philanthropists and finance leaders at the Annual Meeting of the Islamic Development Bank Group to talk about the critical role multilaterals can play in catalyzing positive philanthropic impact. Among the topics the panel addressed were the need for strong partnerships and the potential for multilateral banks to tap into their resources and access to policymakers to empower philanthropy. Rewatch it here.

Collaboratives Report Arabic edition

Our in-depth analysis of philanthropic partnerships and collaboratives in the Arab region is now available in Arabic! We publish all of our reports in both English and Arabic as part of our commitment to sharing knowledge and research created about and by the Arab region. Head to our website to read this report, along with other insightful research, articles, and opinion pieces.

Reimagining Philanthropy in the Global South

How did the COVID pandemic change the way philanthropy works in the Global South? Co-edited by AFF member and philanthropy advisor Clare Woodcraft, "Reimagining Philanthropy in the Global South" examines how newer models of philanthropy are tackling development. The book is published by Cambridge University Press and is available to buy or download for free.

Syrian Solidarity Fund

The Syrian Networks League has launched its Syrian Solidarity Fund, a locally-led pooled fund that helps vulnerable communities in Syria and Turkey by aggregating flexible aid from multiple donors to actively support local NGOs, ensuring aid reaches those who need it most. With key objectives ranging from advocacy and women's empowerment to sustainability and innovation, the Fund engages communities to ensure that the voices and priorities of affected communities are heard and considered in the design and delivery of assistance. To find out more and get involved in this vital initiative, visit the Syrian Networks League website or send them an email.

Meet Our New Members

We are delighted to welcome the wonderful organizations who have recently joined our AFF family:

  • CARE International is a 75-year-old global confederation working to fight poverty and social injustice in the world.
  • Community-centered solutions are at the heart of everything the Greenish Foundation does, as it works at the intersections between public health, environment, and climate through research, advocacy, capacity building, and education programming in Egypt and around the Arab region.
  • The King Hussein Cancer Foundation (KHCF) is the largest community-based organization fully dedicated to combating cancer in Jordan. 
  • Based in Beirut, the Youssef Tabsh Foundation contributes to the betterment of pan-Arab collaboration, enhancement of social justice, and providing access to health and medical services in Lebanon and across the Arab region.
  • The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) works with communities worldwide to challenge injustice and build conditions for lasting peace.

If you would like to find out more about AFF membership and all its benefits, please reach out to Walid Nagi.

Dates for Your Diary

May 22, 2024: Deadline for applications to join Alfanar's Luminary Internship Programme, an exciting opportunity for high school students across the world to learn about social enterprise, grassroots economic development, venture philanthropy and impact investment in the Middle East and North Africa. 

May 24, 2024: Deadline to submit a session for the fifth African Philanthropy Conference taking place in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe on July 29-30, under the theme "The New Frontiers for African Philanthropy". The conference aims to map out the new terrains of African philanthropy, from the role of digital technologies and community-centric approaches to climate science and innovative financing models. 

May 29, 2024: Our next member-exclusive capacity development workshop features the Youssef Tabsh Foundation with a focus on fundraising. If you're an AFF member, the invitation should be in your inbox, so make sure to register!

July 21, 2024: Last day for family members, teachers, school principals, and community members in Australia to nominate Year 6 students for the Fred Hollows Humanity Award, which recognizes students who show compassion, integrity and kindness in their everyday lives.

July 29, 2024: Application deadline for Cycle 3 of The Asfari Foundation's Performance Excellence Grant program. The 12-month grants of £7,000, plus technical support provided by experts, are designed to help applicants strengthen a specific function within their organization. 

December 6-8, 2024: Save the date! The Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (ARIJ) holds its 17th Annual Forum, in Amman, Jordan. Follow ARIJ on social media for information on all the sessions, panels, workshops, and more.

Insight & Opinion

How Philanthropy Can Aid the Shift from Fossil Fuels


Giving Syrian SMEs a Chance to Thrive

Philanthropy Age

Unravelling PayPal's Bias: Position Paper on Discrimination Against Palestinians

Arab Center for the Advancement of Social Media

How and Why Do Today's Companies Donate to Nonprofits?


Embrace the Future: How Associations Are Thriving in 2024


A Path for C-Suite Parity

Associations Now

Become a Member

For more information on how to join our growing network, please visit our website for a membership application.

The Arab Foundations Forum is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization EIN 84-4966210.

LinkedIn  X  Facebook  YouTube  Instagram