ADC Extends Best Wishes for Ramadan
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ADC extends its best wishes to the Muslim community for a blessed Ramadan! Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic Calendar, is considered the holiest month of the year for Muslims and is a time for fasting and reflection. The purpose of the fast is to express empathy with, and understanding of, those less fortunate.
Ramadan is also a time when every able Muslim is asked to fulfill the religious obligations of almsgiving. Almsgiving is especially important this year as Arab and Muslim nations experience internal strife disrupting the lives of millions. Those giving charitably should be mindful of the applicable laws. Arab and Muslim American donors can take steps to select reputable and effective charitable organizations. ADC urges potential donors to be diligent in selecting the charitable organizations receiving donations. As in the past, ADC encourages donors to take the following steps when donating:
Use due diligence - ADC encourages all donors to use due diligence before donating to a charity. Plenty of information is available via the internet to assist donors. Helpful information can be found in excellent publications by Muslim Advocates, a sister entity to the National Association of Muslim Lawyers, by visiting www.muslimadvocates.org. The ADC Legal Department is available to assist in any research and answer questions about charitable giving during Ramadan, and can be reached at (202) 244-2990 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Investigate the charity - Investigation of a charity can be done by looking at the organization's website and other publications. Knowledge of where the charity operates and to whom it provides services is essential. All American based 501 (c) (3) organizations must file a Form 990, which can give a donor plenty of information about the organization, including mission statement, name of directors, expenses and other operational costs. Donors are encouraged to review an organization's Form 990s before donating. Forms 990s are made public and can be found on websites such as www.foundationcenter.organd www.guidestar.org.
Clear intention and record keeping - It is of the utmost importance that the donor make his or her intention clear. If a donor is making an online contribution, he or she should leave a comment such as "donation for food drive." If donating by check, he or she should leave a comment on the memo line as this will make clear the intention of the donation. Once the donation is processed, a donor should keep all receipts and correspondences, including returned checks, in an organized manner.
Assistance to foreign individuals - If the donor's intent is to assist those overseas, the best option is to donate to a charity which assists individuals overseas by finding an American based 501 (c) (3) that is involved in philanthropic efforts in foreign nations. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) works with a number of organizations to ensure delivery of donations to high risk areas such as Somalia. Information about USAID can be found at www.usaid.gov.