Help us triple our presentations

(and win two grants!)

Garden Grove, CA Education


This campaign was reached its goal on {{createDate('Thu, 16 Jul 2015 23:45:00 +0000') | date:'MMM d, y h:mm a'}}.

What is the Islamic Speakers Bureau of Southern California?

We are an organization of highly trained, experienced volunteer speakers who supplement curriculum in public schools throughout Southern California by presenting as guest speakers by teacher request.  We have spoken to thousands of students, and answer basic student questions like, "Why do you wear a scarf?" "Is it hard to pray five times a day?" and "Did you go on the pilgrimage?  What's inside the Ka'aba?"

Why is this project important?

Misunderstanding of Muslims and Islam is on the rise, and anyone can claim to be an "expert" on Islam.

We help teachers by having American Muslims teach about American Muslims and their faith, in adherence to the state curriculum.  Teachers come to us again and again because we are a trusted source; we teach, we don't preach.

Till now we have been running solely on volunteer time and effort; but we've reached our capacity.  It's time to take this organization to the next level!

"You taught us things that a real Islamic person would do and look like.  It was fun listening to [our teacher] talk about Islam, but it was better hearing it from someone who is a real Islamic person that knows what they are talking about."
--7th grade student

We are a non-profit, 501(c)3 educational organization.  With the help of Allah, we are ready to move on, to take this Bureau from being a tiny organization to an established institution by hiring our first staff member.  Won't you join us?

What your money will do:

When we hire our Program Coordinator we plan, by the grace of Allah swt, to successfully accomplish five specific goals, listed below, in the next calendar year.  Also, private donors have promised us two grants if this campaign is successful.  One grant is for $5,000 and will cover material expenses for our new hire; the other will pay to make a traveling display.  Here are all the details:

The Five Goals:

1.  Triple classroom presentations in Orange County.  Our numbers have been increasing steadily over the last seven years, but with a staff member to coordinate mailings to schools and presentations, and to help with training more speakers, we expect to triple the number of classrooms reached within the first year.  In 2013 we presented to approximately 1,330 students; in 2014, the number was 1,820.  If we hire a Program Coordinator, we expect to reach an estimated 12,000 students in the 2017 academic year.

2.  Conduct trainings for teachers, administrators and staff at the district and county levels.  These dedicated people are the core of our educational system, and one teacher can reach hundreds of students each year.  If we can reach them with our message of understanding and pluralism, and respect for all peoples of faith, our work will be multiplied accordingly.

3.  Form a panel of speakers on the Abrahamic faiths.  Our Bureau would build upon already-formed interfaith relationships to train speakers of the Christian and Jewish faiths to speak as part of a panel by teacher request.  We could then provide a panel comprised of a Muslim speaker and one or more of the Abrahamic faiths.

4.  Hold local fundraisers in our community to increase the work of our Bureau.  Several families have already offered to host small fundraisers in their homes on behalf of the Bureau, and our Program Coordinator would organize these events.

5.  Create a beautiful, state-of-the-art traveling display that features Muslim contributions to American culture.  A very cool donor has already promised a grant to hire an artist to create this display.  This display would teach in an attractive, engaging manner the Islamic roots of American everyday basics like coffee, pajamas, music, architecture and the ice cream cone.

We have successfully coordinated displays made by volunteers during Ramadan and Hajj at several local public libraries.  Now we'd like to make something truly beautiful, something that shows just a small slice of how much Muslims have given to the world, a display to last for years to come, that can travel through libraries, community centers and city halls.

However, we can get this grant only if we are able to hire a staff person to coordinate both the making of the display and its travel throughout Orange County.

There's more?

The funds raised from this effort will pay a competitive Program Coordinator's part-time salary for one year.  But that's not all ... a very generous donor has agreed to provide a grant of $5,000 to cover "office expenses," such as a laptop computer for our Program Coordinator, supplies, printing costs, etc.  We do not operate in an office space to save on costs.  So the funds raised in this campaign will go solely toward the Coordinator's salary.

Our team has been doing this for a long time, with a combined 20 years' speaking experience by our highly-trained, exceptionally valuable speakers.  Repeat requests at schools, as well as glowing testimonials, bear witness to the success of our work.

What you can do:

This work is important; we know that because of the great feedback we've received from students, teachers and staff.  Here's how you can help:

  • Donate to our campaign.  Just $25 covers the cost of one presentation, and $500 pays for a speaker training.
  • Share this message with your friends!
  • If you're in the neighborhood, host a speaker training, or even become a speaker.

What students are saying ...

"I was able to share what I learned with my family.  I hope to one day have a Muslim friend so I can learn more about the customs and traditions of your great religion."
-- 7th grade student

Teachers love us too ...

"Thank you so much for speaking to my students! It's great to work together to break down prejudices and spread understanding ..."
--10th grade teacher

"I can't thank you enough for visiting our school.  Your visit to my classes was something I will always treasure.  I hope that this was only the first of many visits."

--12th grade teacher

Our speakers say ...

"It's such a great feeling to know that, when I present in a classroom, the students have met a smiling, educated, American Muslim woman.  I talk about my children, tell jokes, tell them how I met my husband.  I think just being a normal person dispels so many misconceptions."

--Shaista Azad, speaker and Founding Director

"Where else do middle schoolers across public schools have access to an accurate and objective presentation on Islam? I feel privileged to stand before these students, answer their questions, and be a much needed resource for the teachers.

--Duaa Alwan, speaker

"It's really empowering to reach out to so many students each year. They are very eager to learn about the life of American Muslims and come with thoughtful questions. For some, it is the first time they have ever met a Muslim but after the presentation they always leave with a positive impression."

--Farhan Simjee, speaker

Workshop organizers say ...
"On behalf of the planning committee for our workshops for teachers, I'd like to thank you sincerely for your presentation last week. We received a number of compliments on your presentation and you raised many issues that had not been addressed in previous workshops, particularly everyday issues affecting the lives of Muslim women. We especially want to thank you for sharing your personal story, and for coming out on a rainy Saturday to do so. It was great meeting you and I look forward to see you again in the near future."
--Workshop organizer, Los Angeles

The key to understanding and mutual respect is education.  That is our goal, and we hope you join us.


$25 USD

One classroom presentation

Cost to coordinate one presentation for 35 students

31 claimed

$100 USD

One middle school

Cost to coordinate presentations for the entire seventh grade of one middle school

20 claimed

$200 USD

Teacher training

Cost to coordinate one public school teacher/administrative training

2 claimed

$500 USD

Speaker training

Cost to coordinate one training for new speakers. If you live in Orange County, you can request a private training in your home for friends and family

4 claimed

$750 USD

Small fundraiser

Cost of organizing one small fundraiser event. Several families have offered their homes, insha Allah the Program Coordinator will make these happen!

0 claimed

$1000 USD

Two speaker trainings

Covers coordination costs for two trainings for new speakers. If you live in Orange County, you can request a private training in your home for friends and family.

0 claimed

$2500 USD

Abrahamic Panel

This sum will cover the cost to train Jewish and Christian speakers for an Abrahamic panel, and cover the cost of coordinating these panels with schools in Fall 2015.

0 claimed

$5000 USD

Cost to coordinate creation and travel of Muslim Contributions display

A donor has promised us a grant to pay for making the display. The Coordinator will make sure the display gets done, and travels to the best venues possible.

0 claimed