2010 Mehrgan: $300K Grant to IAAB
PARSA CF Awards a $300,000 Grant to IAAB for Long-Term Growth
March 29, 2011
As a part of its Mehrgan 2010 Grant Cycle, PARSA Community Foundation is pleased to announce a $300,000 grant to Iranian Alliances Across Borders (IAAB), the 501(c)3 nonprofit organization behind the much-celebrated Camp Ayandeh. The grant will enable IAAB to expand its programming by funding a new office and paid staff. Over the past five years, IAAB has grown year over year with an all volunteer staff operating in multiple locations. The PARSA grant leverages a remarkable track record in providing leadership development training to Iranian American youth towards a sustainable future in community service.
IAAB addresses the most current and relevant issues facing the Iranian diaspora by cultivating a safe environment for the exchange of ideas from various members of the community through programming that:
- Promotes awareness of the Iranian culture and community;
- Cultivates leadership in the Iranian diaspora community, with a specific focus on the younger generation; and
- Connects Iranians across borders wherever they may be.
This grant is the fifth grant PARSA CF has given to IAAB in four years, demonstrating our confidence in IAAB to empower and encourage Iranian youth to become active contributors to the Iranian-American community and society at large. PARSA CF was one of the first organizations to recognize the potential of this rising nonprofit and support its mission by raising the profile of IAAB through publicity, film, newsletters and other communications. With this most recent grant, PARSA is enabling IAAB to grow from an all-volunteer staff to a professional organization that employs full-time and part-time paid staff members. We feel this is one of the most important investments our community has made in the future of our people and congratulate IAAB on its continuing success and growth.
Five Years of Continued Success
Since its founding in 2004, IAAB has positively impacted thousands of community members through its various programs. In the past five years, IAAB has successfully hosted Camp Ayandeh, an annual summer leadership camp for hundreds of Iranian American high school students. For some campers, Camp Ayandeh was the first experience away from home and their first formal leadership training. For others, Camp Ayandeh was the first significant positive experience with their Iranian American peers. Numerous families have described Camp Ayandeh as a life-changing experience for their children. The emerging leaders have had a tremendous impact on their families and local communities.
"I learned to understand that being myself was alright. I always had a difficulty with people understanding who I was. But after camp, that changed." Yalda Yekta, a former camper and member of Camp Ayandeh 2010's planning committee
With the support of a 2008 PARSA grant, IAAB launched its weekend leadership gathering for college and graduate students, known as the Student Summit. IAAB is the first Iranian-American organization to develop such a student gathering to share ideas, develop a national network of student leaders and make shared plans.
IAAB has created a wide range of other successful programs including:
- International Conference on the Iranian diaspora
- "Transform/Nation," exhibitions of Iranian and Iranian diaspora art held simultaneously in Tehran and Washington, D.C.
- Project Connection, an online resource for students, created in conjunction with the Iranian Studies Group at MIT, to help students find internship opportunities in Iran
- High School Essay Contests to help students explore issues that most affect them
- Seminars on Bam-related earthquake relief efforts that engaged diaspora and international organizations
The number of people touched by IAAB's programming has grown exponentially every year since its inception and IAAB strives to serve as diverse a group of community members as possible. Since 2006, IAAB has granted over forty tuition stipends to student leaders who would otherwise be unable to participate in its programs. PARSA grants have ensured that all Iranian Americans, regardless of socio-economic constraints, can partake in Camp Ayandeh's innovative and vital programs.
"The partnership cultivated between IAAB and PARSA CF is the quintessential model for two organizations-bound in mutual respect and trust-that work together to achieve shared goals of developing the Iranian-American diaspora community." - Ramin Bajoghli, President, Board of Advisors
New Phase, New Office, New Milestones
IAAB is entering an exciting and new phase in its development as an organization. Now, with PARSA's generous investment, IAAB will serve community needs through a variety of new initiatives including fellowship and internship programs; multiple leadership camps; an annual Student Summit; volunteer programs; retreats and various workshops.
This summer, IAAB will add a second session of Camp Ayandeh that will substantially increase camp capacity. Both camps will be held in Belmont in Northern California. IAAB will also continue to work with other organizations both from within and outside the Iranian diaspora in order to build stronger and more effective partnerships.
"IAAB has acted as a training ground for me as a leader. Through my years of volunteer service in IAAB, I was able to develop my professional skills, which ultimately led to career opportunities within a number of other well-respected national and international nonprofit organizations. I am grateful to be returning to IAAB as its first paid Executive Director and to serve the organization and its members at a monumental juncture in its history. I will work hard to build the capacity of the Iranian diaspora community through IAAB's new and expanded offerings." - Mana Kharrazi, Executive Director
PARSA CF's goal in working with small non-profits such as IAAB has been to give them the flexibility to focus on developing strong and impactful programming rather than devoting nearly all of their resources to fundraising. With the help of PARSA CF's network of Iranian-American philanthropists, IAAB has been able to provide the community with innovative projects that meet the rapidly changing needs of the Iranian-American community.
To learn more about IAAB, please visit http://www.iranianalliances.org/. Please visit the website regularly or join IAAB's mailing list to receive additional information about its new programming in the next few weeks. You may also follow IAAB on Twitter and Facebook.
IAAB's continued growth in programming and services is made possible through the generous support of PARSA donors like you - PLEASE consider supporting IAAB directly.
PARSA CF promotes strategic philanthropy and social entrepreneurship within the Persian-speaking communities around the globe. PARSA CF identifies organizations and projects with long term impact and supports them through grants and networking. To date, PARSA CF has awarded a total of $7.3M in grants through its general and donor-advised funds. To learn more about PARSA CF, please visit http://www.parsacf.org/.