MASA Fund Foundation Inc

MASA Fund Foundation Inc

MASA Fund was formed to engage an often-ignored community of voters in Florida–Muslims, Arabs, and South Asians (MASA)–and mobilize them to push for much-needed policies at the state and national levels Our data reports over 450,000 registered MASA voters living in Florida, a number large enough to sway elections throughout

MASA Fund Foundation Inc

MASA Fund was formed to engage an often-ignored community of voters in Florida–Muslims, Arabs, and South Asians (MASA)–and mobilize them to push for much-needed policies at the state and national levels Our data reports over 450,000 registered MASA voters living in Florida, a number large enough to sway elections throughout the third most populous state in the country. However, most members of this community don’t see the importance of voting because of the slow pace of government, so we educate them on how government tangibly affects their lives Our work is ultimately about building power in the dispossessed. Our community is full of immigrants and refugees who came to this country to seek a better life, only to find America not to be what they imagined. Confronted by racism and xenophobia, they have been subjected to random attacks on the street that have made many to become scared of going outside. Resources for education, housing, and economic prosperity have been sparse. As immigrants ourselves, we understand what it’s like and wish to spare others from having the challenging experiences we’ve had. This organization and our work are simply our way of giving back to our community. For each of our programs, we use different metrics to evaluate success. For our digital campaigns, we track social media stats: likes, views, plays, comments, and shares. Social media trends change over time and we monitor these stats on our posts to see which formats generate the most returns. A year ago, Instagram Reels were the key to expanding an audience. Right now, captioned videos tend to do the best. Social media trends continuously change as the companies tweak their algorithms and by regularly evaluating our statistics we are able to evolve our strategies alongside the platform.

About the Organization:

MASA Fund was formed to engage an often-ignored community of voters in Florida–Muslims, Arabs, and South Asians (MASA)–and mobilize them to push for much-needed policies at the state and national levels Our data reports over 450,000 registered MASA voters living in Florida, a number large enough to sway elections throughout the third most populous state in the country. However, most members of this community don’t see the importance of voting because of the slow pace of government, so we educate them on how government tangibly affects their lives Our work is ultimately about building power in the dispossessed. Our community is full of immigrants and refugees who came to this country to seek a better life, only to find America not to be what they imagined. Confronted by racism and xenophobia, they have been subjected to random attacks on the street that have made many to become scared of going outside. Resources for education, housing, and economic prosperity have been sparse. As immigrants ourselves, we understand what it’s like and wish to spare others from having the challenging experiences we’ve had. This organization and our work are simply our way of giving back to our community. For each of our programs, we use different metrics to evaluate success. For our digital campaigns, we track social media stats: likes, views, plays, comments, and shares. Social media trends change over time and we monitor these stats on our posts to see which formats generate the most returns. A year ago, Instagram Reels were the key to expanding an audience. Right now, captioned videos tend to do the best. Social media trends continuously change as the companies tweak their algorithms and by regularly evaluating our statistics we are able to evolve our strategies alongside the platform.

organizational budget

$100,000 - $500,000

existence for

0-5 Years

Organization benefits AAPIs residing in the following state(s):

Kentucky

organizational budget

$100,000 - $500,000

existence for

0-5 Years

Organization benefits AAPIs residing in the following state(s):

Kentucky

The Issue:

MASA Fund was formed to engage an often-ignored community of voters in Florida–Muslims, Arabs, and South Asians (MASA)–and mobilize them to push for much-needed policies at the state and national levels Our data reports over 450,000 registered MASA voters living in Florida, a number large enough to sway elections throughout the third most populous state in the country. However, most members of this community don’t see the importance of voting because of the slow pace of government, so we educate them on how government tangibly affects their lives While the national poverty rate in the United States was 10.5%, it was 23% for MASA Americans. While 63% of the general US population were homeowners, only 50% of MASA Americans were homeowners. In addition, between 40-50% of our voting-age population does not vote in presidential elections and up to 70% ignore local elections. A common justification for this lack of participation is “voting doesn’t matter” and “[their] votes won’t make a difference anyway,” but we know this defeatist mindset is promoted by parties who are threatened by increased civic participation and whose goals harm the public good. Our campaigns push back on their anti-democratic messaging and encourage our communities to keep fighting for their communities. While a causal pathway between voting and poverty cannot be proven, we believe the two factors are highly correlated. By educating and mobilizing voters, not only can we elect better leaders that pass more equitable policies, but we can build knowledge, skills, and networks within the MASA community that can help them achieve self-actualization.

The Solution:

Our organization employs a variety of programs to build political power. Our digital campaigns highlight the lived experiences of MASA and AAPI young adults through interviews that are either transcribed or shared as Instagram Live videos. With this effort, we provide opportunities for young adults to practice their public speaking and storytelling skills and also reflect deeply on how their racial and ethnic identities have affected their lives. This is important work that helps to control the narrative and correct prevalent false beliefs, such as the model minority myth, which is used as a weapon against other communities of color and is disingenuous in its methodology and conclusions. With our digital campaigns, we are also building a media platform that will serve as a hub for all MASA- and AAPI-related news in Florida. With this effort, we hope to unite a coalition of communities throughout the Asian diaspora in Florida, educate and provide commentary on current issues, and help focus political power on shared goals. During election years, we also host candidate forums in swing districts to educate voters on the differences between their candidates for State Representative and State Senator. Before hosting each candidate forum, we work with local organizations and community members to generate questions for the candidates, thereby ensuring our communities’ ability to learn their candidates’ stances on the issues most relevant to them. Since Vetnah Monessar has been a community leader and organizer in Florida for over a decade, she has a strong network of allies and other professionals in the movement that she is leveraging to help emerging leaders accelerate their projects. We provide free consulting to Community Changemakers Florida, Weave Tales, the Duval County Theory of Change Table, and other groups that are unlikely to receive institutional support. By doing this work, we hope to eventually become a regranter so we can funnel money towards small but important projects and invest in future leaders.

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