PARSA awards $557,000


PARSA awards $557,000
by Shorts

PARSA Community Foundation is delighted to announce the awardees of its 2008 Mehregan grant cycle, with $138,000 in grants supporting sixteen powerful ideas. This is PARSA CF's fourth competitive grant round, and brings the total number of grants given to forty-four and the total amount awarded to $557,000.
As part of PARSA CF's mission to strengthen entrepreneurial and enterprising nonprofit organizations, these grants are given in three core focus areas: preservation and advancement of Persian arts and culture, development of community leaders through fellowships and recognition awards, and encouragement of civic participation.  The national response to our call for grant applications was greater than ever, signaling that we must continue to grow our combined resources and mobilize our collective efforts towards building a stronger community.
We were thrilled to receive a substantial increase in the quality and quantity of grant applications in the areas of leadership development and civic participation.  We hope that this trend will continue so that we are well prepared for the 2010 census and 2010 mid-term elections. Reflecting our mission of promoting cultural understanding and providing humanitarian aid wherever we can in the world, PARSA CF is proud to have supported nonprofit organizations Afghanistan and Turkey, in addition to the United States.

* Strategic Philanthropy
* Selection Process
* Grant Recipients
* Next Grant Cycle
* Congratulations and Gratitude

Strategic Philanthropy

Through strategic philanthropy, PARSA CF:
- seeks the most innovative ideas across the U.S. and beyond;
- signals to other donors by raising the visibility of grantees;
- documents processes and takes steps to improving them continuously for everyone's benefit; and
- gives funds in an institutional framework, improving accountability, leverage and impact.
By giving together and by giving strategically, we can squeeze every bit of good out of every dollar donated.

Selection Process

In March 2008, PARSA CF sent out a call for grant applications. This open call for proposals is a continuing feature of our application and selection process.

PARSA CF is committed to continuously improving its grant application, evaluation and approval processes.  To that end, this grant cycle marked the first time that PARSA CF's independent Grant Advisory Committee included subcommittees made of community leaders specializing either in the arts and culture area, or in the civic participation and leadership development area. They applied their expertise in evaluating applications according to rigorous and objective criteria, such as the applicant's ability to raise funds from diverse sources and the project's ability to scale and have widespread impact. This approach ensures a democratic and transparent process and enlists the immense knowledge and expertise of our community members in identifying the most qualified investees.

During this grant cycle, PARSA CF received 38 applications requesting over $1,200,000 in grants.  All requests came from highly qualified organizations that are critical to the success of our community, making it very difficult to choose the final list of grant recipients. The high demand for grants shows the high level of need in our community and why we must continue to reach deep within ourselves and give as much as we are each can.

Following the Grant Advisory Committee's criteria-based scoring of each application, PARSA CF created a ranking and presented grant amount recommendations to the Board of Directors. PARSA CF's Board reviewed the recommendations and cast their final vote on grantees and grant amounts.

Grant Advisory Committee Included:

* Susan Akbarpour, CEO of Linkore and SiliconIran
* Taghi Amirani, Founder and Director of Amirani Films
* Reza Aslan, Fellow at the University of California's Center on Public Diplomacy, Middle East Analyst for CBS News and Author
* Abtin Assadi, Board Member, Bay Area Iranian-American Voter Association
* Shirin Bazleh, Film Director and Editor
* Mahnaz Ebrahimi, Former President of Persian Cultural Center
* Shirin Hakimzadeh, Board Member, Iranian Alliances Across Borders
* Hedieh Hashemi, Community Volunteer
* Jahanshah Javid, Founder and Editor of
* Mehdi Maghsoodnia, Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Trinity Venture Capital
* Shabnam Rezaei, Editor of and Co-Founder of Norooz Productions
* Houman Sarshar, Director of Public Relations at the Center for Iranian Jewish Oral History

In the case where an Advisory Committee member is affiliated with a prospective grantee organization, the member recuses himself or herself from evaluating the grantee.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the Grant Advisory Committee members and Board members who provided us with invaluable input and guidance.

We also thank all the nonprofits who submitted inquiry forms or applications. PARSA CF was able to fund less than half of these requests, but hopes to continue to expand its grant pool and technical assistance in the months and years to come. We appreciate all the time and care that goes into these proposals.

Grant Recipients
Congratulations to the inspiring teams behind PARSA CF's 2008 Mehregan awardees! They include National Legal Sanctuary for Community Advancement, National Iranian American Council, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Asia Society, University of Maryland Foundation at College Park, Link Media, Inc., Relief International, Golestan Kids, National Geographic Society, Children's Hope International Literacy and Development, Institute of International Education, Iranian Scholarship Foundation, Afghan Institute of Learning, Americans for Informed Democracy, Network of Iranian American Professionals of Orange County, and Persian Students Association at the City College of New York.


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