Ten Chippewa Valley nonprofit organizations received support in 2017 from the Mahmoud S. Taman Foundation.
The successful proposals fit the foundation’s mission of promoting peace, interfaith efforts and the overall promotion of humane causes and humanity, according to a press release from the organization.
An additional award went to Jeta Lubotoni, who received an Islamic Studies scholarship to help support her work toward a master’s degree in Middle East and Islamic Studies at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA.
Her interests include the unique practices of Islam among Albanians (her own heritage) as well as the interactions between religion and culture more broadly. She is passionate about youth access to trustworthy religious counseling and guidance.
Lubotoni, from Springfield, VA, completed her undergraduate degree in International Relations at American University in Washington, DC.
Sahar Taman, the foundation’s secretary-treasurer, noted that the organization “strives to contribute to the local community through diverse and sustained philanthropy.” This, she said, “was a lifelong vision of Dr. Mahmoud Taman, who worked and served as a physician in the Chippewa Valley for more than 40 years.”
The foundation’s 2017 grant recipients included a religion writers workshop, a local book festival, promotion of breastfeeding, an after-school STEM education initiative, community-based racial diversity training and a local radio program focused on peace, spirituality and activism. Other grants went to help prepare young Muslims to be productive citizens and active community members; to support UW-EC students in peace and conflict studies; to help lift the voices of the formerly incarcerated; and to help fund a community meal program.
Organizations receiving grants were:
The Boys and Girls Club of Menomonie (http://www.cvclubs.org/menomonie) to support a STEM (Science Technology, Engineering and Math) education initiative.
The Chippewa Valley Book Festival (www.cvbookfest.org), which commemorated its 18th anniversary in 2017. The Festival arranges for author readings, book signings, school visits, workshops and programs for writers of all ages.
Chippewa Valley Ex-Prisoners Organizing (CV EXPO), to support its efforts to lift the voices of formerly incarcerated individuals to the forefront of the fight to transform Wisconsin’s criminal justice system; and to guide individuals as they navigate barriers for successful reintegration into the community.
The Chippewa Valley Writers Guild (www.cvwritersguild.org), to support a craft talk earlier this month on how writing can promote interfaith dialogue and strengthen communities.
Circles of Change, UW-Eau Claire (http://marketing.campaigns.uwec.edu/circles-of-change/), an initiative aimed at building and embracing a more racially and ethnically diverse and inclusive environment here. Funding was granted to provide Family Conversation Kits (a selected group of books) at local libraries to help stimulate family discussions about race and ethnicity.
The Community Table (http://thecommunitytable.org/), to support its mission of serving balanced, nutritious meals in a safe, welcoming environment and to connect those in need with existing resources as well as to enlighten the public on issues of hunger in the Chippewa Valley.
Islamic Society of Northern Wisconsin – Center and Mosque (http://altoonamasjid.com/), to support its efforts to prepare young Muslims to be productive citizens and active members of their community.
Northern Spirit Radio (http://www.northernspiritradio.org), to assist its longtime flagship programs, Song of the Soul and Spirit in Action, in further diversifying their topics and interviewees, including Islam-related programs.
Northwestern Breastfeeding Network (https://themilkmob.org/), to help support a local conference. The Network is a 26-year-old organization of lactation professionals working to improve breastfeeding rates in the Chippewa Valley.
UW-EC Center for Global Politics (http://www.uwec.edu/academics/college-arts-sciences/departments-programs/political-science/about/center-for-global-politics/), to support student-driven research and publication relevant to Islam, multiculturalism, civic duties and peace. The Center will help students present papers at the annual faculty-student conferences of the Wisconsin Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies.
The Taman Foundation welcomes submissions of proposals from individuals and organizations for initiatives that align with its vision. Proposals that address the needs and growth of the Chippewa Valley community may be submitted year-round at mstamanfoundation.org.