Leading Persian Community Foundation Offers 115 Grants Since 2006 To Support Civic Participation, Leadership Development and Arts and Culture in the Iranian-American Community Worldwide
REDWOOD CITY (September 29, 2009) - PARSA Community Foundation reached a
historic milestone this week: it passed the one million dollar mark in grants.
From summer camps that support Iranian-American youth leadership to cultural
programs that promote the rich historical and artistic legacy of Persia, from
documentary films that explore motherhood in Iran to organizations that support
civic participation in America, PARSA CF has funded, supported, and nurtured a
diverse range of organizations dedicated to promoting Persian culture and
The historic million dollar milestone has been reached through its competitive semi-annual grants program and donor advised fund grants. Since its inception in 2006, PARSA CF has contributed to organizations all across the United States devoted to empowering Iranian-Americans, supporting Persian arts and culture, and building a better future for all.
The foundation's 115 grants have targeted local, national and global projects.
Grants are funded by pooled donations from individuals, families, businesses and
other organizations. An independent grant advisory committee reviews and ranks
grant applications based on sustainability guidelines covering scalability,
financial health, and innovation among other metrics. To broaden community
participation, committee members can serve only a maximum of two consecutive
grant cycles. New and diverse groups of subject experts are recruited
constantly. Thus, PARSA CF has proven to be an attractive philanthropic vehicle
for all interested in supporting Persian culture and Iranian-American
Noosheen Hashemi, PARSA CF Founder and Chairman said: "Vibrant diaspora communities tend to exhibit three common characteristics: they are major contributors to the economy of their adopted homes, they are politically integrated and influential, and they give generously of their funds and time to the community at large. PARSA CF facilitates and supports the third element. Philanthropy is core to American citizenship and giving of time and money is an important part of reaching the American dream."
PARSA CF is modeled after successful ethnic community foundations such as Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles, Asian Pacific Fund and Latino Community Foundation. Like other community foundations, PARSA CF provides tax-efficient giving vehicles, education and networking opportunities to its donors and helps them reach their philanthropic goals wherever they may lie. By providing convenient ways to give, PARSA CF allows donors to focus on the causes that they are passionate about rather than on paperwork. Donor advised funds encourage donors to budget for their giving, evaluate trade offs when approached for grants, and track their giving and hence impact over time.
Dr. Trita Parsi, Founder and President of the National Iranian American Council, a PARSA CF grantee, said: "PARSA Community Foundation is one of a kind - it's an institution creating the foundation for the future wellbeing of Iranian-American community life. For NIAC, PARSA CF's support has been crucial. Thanks to PARSA CF, NIAC could undertake the largest Iranian-American voter registration campaign in the community's history, helping thousands of Iranian-Americans take the first steps towards participating in the American democracy."
Dr. Matthew Stolper, Director of the Persepolis Fortification Archive at the University of Chicago's Oriental Institute was also grateful for PARSA CF's multi-grant support: "It is absolutely wonderful that PARSA CF has been able to mobilize so much support for the Oriental Institute's Persepolis Fortification Archive project and has used it towards not only Iranian-Americans but for the heritage of all Iranians worldwide. Without support from PARSA CF, we'd have been completely unable to keep the high level of preservation work continuing on the tablets."
PARSA CF Co-Founder and Board member Anousheh Ansari says: "Community foundations are good catalysts for citizen-led change as they aggregate donations, whether they are five dollars or five million dollars, and spend it in the community. This approach allows investments in projects that are too big or too broad for one donor or one foundation to take on. Organizing around philanthropy is a great way to build a community."
The foundation has funded projects as diverse as voter registration drives through the Bay Area Iranian American Voter Association, educational funding for Iranian refugee children in Turkey through Children's Hope International Literacy and Development, and arts programs through the Smithsonian Institution. It hopes to match donors to community needs such as a chair to study Elamite language - a key to understanding ancient Persian history - to bilingual preschools, elderly care and cultural centers for community members to convene.
"PARSA CF is making a difference in the lives of others," says PARSA CF Board member Afshin Molavi. "We hope to continue building these vital bridges that link the beauty of Persian culture to the world and empower Iranian-Americans to take their rightful place in the cultural and social fabric of American life."
About PARSA Community Foundation:
PARSA Community Foundation is the first Persian community foundation in the United States and the leading Persian philanthropic institution practicing strategic philanthropy and promoting social entrepreneurship worldwide. Managing the largest independent endowment fund dedicated to Persian philanthropy, the California-based PARSA CF provides tax-advantaged vehicles to donors and grants to nonprofit organizations. Grants are awarded through semi-annual competitive grant cycles and are reviewed by an independent grant advisory committee. The organization is a nonpartisan, nonreligious, and nonprofit 501(c) (3) entity. For more information, please visit www.parsacf.org.
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