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The Civic Engagement Fund (CEF), founded in 2006, aims to increase the capacity of Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian nonprofit organizations, it's community partners, in order that they may better serve their respective communities in a post 9/11 environment. The CEF provides AMEMSA organizations in the Bay Area ofCalifornia with small organizational support grants, technical assistance, and peer learning opportunities. This brief is based on an external evaluation of the CEF's four-year (2006-2009) program, which comprised two cycles of grant-making, capacity building convenings, and technical assistance support. The methodology consisted of a literature review, focus group discussions with community partners/grantees, and conversations with advisory committee members and AAPIP staff. The 2010 Program was designed in part based on feedback from this evaluation report.
In September 2006, the Civic Engagement Fund for Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian (Fund) approved its first cycle of seventeen capacity building grants totaling $129,000 to support Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian (AMEMSA) communities in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Civic Engagement Fund for AMEMSA Communities is a capacity building initiative designed to support AMEMSA nonprofit organizations through a mix of small grants and the provision of technical assistance. The Fund was developed through a strategic partnership between Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP), an affinity group of the Council of Foundations, and The San Francisco Foundation, a regional community foundation. The collaborative now includes seven additional San Francisco Bay Area philanthropic institutions.This paper explores this unique partnership between an affinity group and a community foundation developed with an explicit goal of developing new strategies to amplify the issues and challenges facing disadvantaged communities and identify innovative funding solutions.