CC ISSUE: APR 2012 Last updated: Apr 5, 2012
Muslim Neighbors in Need
At a time when every penny counts and every Muslim charity is under the microscope, it is important to be an informed donor. You can be confident that Zakat Chicago, a committee of the CIOGC, has done the research for you. Zakat Chicago collects zakat from local residents and businesses and distributes your funds to local zakat-eligible causes, including health care, education, food pantries, and domestic abuse shelters. Each Muslim organization that has received zakat funds from Zakat Chicago has been thoroughly vetted and its progress is carefully tracked.
You may wonder why local distribution is the main agenda for Zakat Chicago. Oftentimes, people donate to charities abroad because of their family connections. Other times, people send money overseas because of the greater need and the greater impact that the funds can have. While there are several valid reasons to donate abroad, we only need to look outside of our doors to understand why local distribution is also crucial. Our fellow Muslim Chicagoans need our help.
Never has this become as evident as in the last few years. With the economic downturn, layoffs and foreclosures have collapsed many people’s lives. You may have noticed the jarring increase of boarded-up homes, businesses, and schools as well as people begging on the streets of Chicago. The rise of such misfortunes is leading to the rapid depletion of resources offered at shelters and other not-for-profit programs. That is why Zakat Chicago uses your zakat to distribute funds to local organizations and local individuals who demonstrate the need. For instance, in 2011, every major Muslim food pantry in the Chicago area that requested funding was provided with zakat funds, Alhamdulillah. The Muslim community should be proud to know that there are food pantries, funded by your zakat dollars, available for every Muslim family in need in the Chicago area.
Zakat Chicago is passionate about helping our Muslim neighbors. Using Shariah guidelines and a judicious, efficient distribution system, Zakat Chicago also provides funds for skills training, which has an immediate potential for generating income. This helps reduce dependency on zakat or other charities as the only sources of survival.
Ultimately, Zakat Chicago works to empower our Chicagoland brothers and sisters who, in turn, will help empower others everywhere, Insha’Allah. With your support, we can help countless people in dire times. We urge you to donate, and we welcome your suggestions. All members of Zakat Chicago are volunteers who are dedicated to helping our neighbors, so if you would like to volunteer, please contact us. For more information on Zakat Chicago, including its projects, history, and for donations, please visit www.zakatchicago.com.