The Chippewa Valley Post provides news of area nonprofit organizations in order to increase public awareness of their missions and activities, and to provide information that otherwise might not be made available.
Our “6 of Substance” series is part of this effort. It presents answers from area nonprofit organizations, in their own words, to six questions about who they are and what they do. The responses are edited only for length, grammar and style concerns.
This series will be updated regularly to introduce Chippewa Valley residents to the many nonprofit organizations and people working to serve the needs of our area. If you have a favorite nonprofit organization that you’d like to see featured here, please let us know at email@example.com.
Mahmoud S. Taman Foundation
Who do you serve?
The Mahmoud S. Taman Foundation’s goal is to serve the Chippewa Valley community, especially youth, as well as community, social service and social justice organizations. We create and support projects and grassroots initiatives that promote interfaith and civic causes whose general nature is the promotion of humanity. Initiatives include interfaith outreach actions (especially those advocating for inclusivity of Islam), civic participation, peace education, humanitarian issues, health promotion (including mental health awareness and advocacy), education and literacy, arts and culture. These efforts can be undertaken by organizations or by individuals who aim to fulfill a need in the targeted community. The Foundation also serves individuals and groups outside the Chippewa Valley – in northern Wisconsin, elsewhere in North America and internationally.
How long have you been established in the Chippewa Valley?
The Foundation was established in 2015. It was a wish of Dr. Mahmoud S. Taman, who lived here and served the Chippewa Valley as a psychiatrist and a Muslim interfaith advocate, to continue to support his community and causes he valued. The Foundation’s three current programs include an essay contest for Chippewa Valley high school students to promote discussion on equity, diversity and inclusion. We also provide community grants to organizations and individuals for efforts that align with our mission. Finally, we award scholarships to Islamic studies students in North American universities.
The Islamic Society of Northern Wisconsin – Center and Mosque originally managed the Mahmoud S. Taman Trust which offered some of the programs of the Foundation but on a smaller scale. Visit our website to see some of the past programs.
What are the major issues you will be facing over the next 18 months?
One of our major goals is to stimulate a discussion in the Chippewa Valley about the importance of diversity and inclusion within our community, as well as in the nation. We think that asking youth to learn about those who are different from them will bring people together, whether this involves the white majority population learning about minority populations or minorities studying the vast diversity in the majority. We also wish to support actions that aim to bring about social equity, which includes addressing mental health care, pulling people out of intergenerational poverty and overcoming Islamophobia.
Aside from financial support, how can the Chippewa Valley Community support you?
We hope that our programs will become well known in the Chippewa Valley. We are providing small grants and want the Chippewa Valley to see us as a resource. We hope to engage with the many ongoing initiatives by providing a new perspective.
Who are some of the key people in your organization?
We have a diverse board of directors including friends and colleagues whom Dr. Taman valued, and his three children: Sahar, Mona and Tarik. The president of the Mahmoud S. Taman Foundation is Prof. Ali Abootalebi, a political scientist at the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire. Originally from Iran, he is a researcher on the Middle East, especially Iran and the Palestinian/Israeli issue, and a social justice commentator and blogger. His vision is for the Foundation to become an integral part of the community. Sahar Taman, Dr. Taman’s older daughter, is secretary-treasurer of the board. She has a background with the federal government and in interfaith dialogue and international exchange. She hopes that the Foundation will honor and promote the many passions of her father. The board also includes Dr. Thom Chisholm, a Chippewa Falls native and an armed services veteran who returned to the area after a distinguished world-wide medical career. He is a co-founder of the Open Door, a free medical facility in Chippewa Falls.
What is the most important thing about your organization that people should know, but don’t?
While the Foundation is still a small organization, we are open and accessible to all ideas from the community. We look forward to hearing new ideas about how we can improve and serve the real needs of the area.
— by Sahar Taman, Secretary-Treasurer
If you would like more information about the Mahmoud S. Taman Foundation, visit www.facebook.com/mstamanfoundation.
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