07 Jul 2019 Florida Muslim civil rights group [CAIR-FL] uses grants to open new office in Ft. Myers
by Majda Rahmanovic, CAIR Florida
CAIR-Florida, Inc. is excited to start serving the diverse Southwest Florida immigrant community from our new office in Fort Myers, thanks to the generosity of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation. CAIR stands for “Council on American Islamic Relations” – we are a Florida non-profit civil rights organization with established offices in Tampa, South Florida (Sunrise), Orlando and Panama City – and now in Fort Myers. From these offices, eight attorneys and 15 coordinators and administrators work tirelessly to build bridges between the Florida Muslim and Non-Muslim Community. To achieve that, we provide educational programs to combat school bullying and other forms of discrimination. We also provide community building and legal services to the community at large. Our cultural trainings to law enforcement and first responders have been successful in ensuring mutual respect while keeping the community save and engaged with governmental entities. If necessary, we advocate for our clients in court.
Our services in Fort Myers focus on assisting the immigrant community – regardless of religious affiliation – in Naples, Port Charlotte and Bonita Springs with legal and educational services to address their needs. Since we were awarded the Southwest Florida Foundation Community Impact and Immigration Programs grants, we have opened a new office in Fort Myers office and have already held or participated in ten events to help raise awareness of our presence in the Southwest Florida.
Some of these events have been “Know Your Rights” presentations on immigration law as well as a presentation on women’s rights to mostly immigrants, who are often unfamiliar with legal norms in the United States. We have also spoken at Florida Gulf Coast University’s Muslim Student Association Dinner, which seeks to inspire the youth to get civically engaged for the benefit of the community at large.
We are extremely grateful for this opportunity to expand our services and consider the awarding of these two important grants to CAIR Florida a validation of the impact and importance of both the immigrant and the Muslim Community to Southwest Florida. We look forward to building a stronger relationship with the Southwest Florida Foundation and the community in the years to come.
This summer, Florida Weekly has graciously allowed us, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, to spotlight the nonprofit organizations funded through the Foundation’s 2019 competitive grant cycle. Funds made available for these grants are graciously given by donors through Field of Interest Funds. Many of these donors are deceased and have left instructions to the Foundation on the causes they care about and then rely on the Foundation team to address the communities’ greatest needs within the established criteria by the donor. We have asked these grantees to share their stories. We are pleased to partner with these change-makers.
The Southwest Florida Community Foundation, founded in 1976, cultivates regional change for the common good through collective leadership, social innovation and philanthropy to address the evolving community needs in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. The Foundation partners with individuals, families and corporations who have created more than 400 philanthropic funds. Thanks to them, the Foundation invested $6.8 million in grants and programs to the community. With assets of more than $126 million, it has provided $78.2 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves since inception. The Foundation is the backbone organization for the regional FutureMakers Coalition and Lee County’s Sustainability Plan. The Southwest Florida Community Foundation’s regional headquarters are now located in the historic ACL Train Depot at Collaboratory in downtown Fort Myers, with a satellite office located in LaBelle (Hendry County). For more information, call 239-274-5900 or visit www.floridacommunity.com.