Five Organizations Supporting Muslim American Creatives

Five Organizations Supporting Muslim American Creatives

In today’s streaming era, opportunities for artists to make a viable career are limited — take this month’s Hollywood Writers Guild strike for example. New sustainable support methods are required to keep creatives in the industry, especially creators from marginalized backgrounds.  Here are five organizations supporting Muslim American creatives. 

1. The Pillars Fund

The Pillars Fund is a Chicago-based foundation that funds nonprofit programs supporting American Muslims in media, public relations and leadership development. One recent initiative, accepting applications until May 31, is the Pillars Artist Fellowship. The program is presented in partnership with Riz Ahmed’s Left Handed Films and sponsored by Netflix and Amazon Studios. It will award 10 fellows in 2024 with an “unrestricted award of $25,000,” and provide mentorship from industry experts on navigating Hollywood’s business.

2. Islamic Scholarship Fund

The Islamic Scholarship Fund (ISF), an organization aiming to “increase American Muslim representation in media, film, government, and the legal field,” created the first American Muslim Film Scholarship program in 2009 with the purpose to reframe the narrative of Muslim stories and support Muslim filmmakers. Since then, they have awarded over $365,000 to over 84 Muslim filmmakers. They also held a Muslim Centered Writers’ Lab in November 2022. The three-day lab offered workshops to guide participants from script through pitch, in addition to fellows receiving $5,000 towards their project’s advancement. This initiative supported writers such as Aizzah Fatima and Khaula Malik, to name a few.

3. Muslim Public Affairs Council

The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) is a national American Muslim advocacy and public policy organization headquartered in Los Angeles and with offices in Washington, D.C. The organization was founded in 1988, and has been entrenched with industry leaders in various fields for years. MPAC’s Hollywood Bureau unveiled a $10,000 grant for Black Muslim filmmakers in 2011. They also offer various labs and workshops, such as their Screenwriting Lab for TV

4. Deen Arts Foundation

The Deen Arts Foundation was founded to help connect individuals to the tradition and practice of Islamic fine arts. They offer unique courses such as calligraphy, manuscript illumination and tehzip. Established in 2017 in Dallas, their aim is to “bridge the lack of opportunities to understand Islamic Arts from aesthetic and philosophical perspectives based in Revelation and Divine Unity.” Their classes are taught by masters in their fields, “mirroring the traditional apprenticeship methodology codified in the Ijazah process.” 

5. LaunchGood

LaunchGood is a crowdfunding platform focused on the Muslim community. Along with charity initiatives, they offer a service for Muslim Americans to fundraise for their creative projects. Some examples of projects that have been funded through the site include Gathering All Muslim Artists, ISF’s National Film Grant, and various movies, novels and animated series. Anyone can start their own campaign on the website.