The team behind the vision, delivering the mission.

Our board members, staff, and volunteers work hard to operate our national, grassroots community foundation.

Staff

Muhi Khwaja Co-Founder, Director of Development & Philanthropy

Earning a Bachelor’s in History and Psychology from the University of Michigan-Dearborn in 2009, Muhi Khwaja didn’t know what to do until the summer before graduating. The Development Summer Internship Program at the University of Michigan sparked an interest in fundraising (development) as a career. After working with several nonprofit organizations, he earned his Master’s in Public Administration in 2013, from U-M, specializing in nonprofit management. Muhi has over a decade of experience as a development professional with several nonprofits including: University of Michigan, University of Michigan-Dearborn, Council for American-Islamic Relations – Michigan, Islamic Relief USA, Institute for Social Policy & Understanding, Ta’leef Collective, Islamic Scholarship Fund, Indian Muslim Relief & Charities, Center for Volunteer & Nonprofit Leadership, Our Three Winners Foundation, Notable Music & Arts Organization and the American Red Cross, which all led to his founding the American Muslim Community Foundation. Muhi is the Director of Development & Philanthropy at AMCF and works with donors to connect them with nonprofits creating impact. In 2016 he became a Certified Fund Raising Executive from the Association of Fundraising Professionals and in 2017 earned a Certificate of Fund Raising Management from Indiana University’s Lilly School of Philanthropy where he is also Adjunct Faculty. He resides in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife Natalie, cat Ninja, and dog Atlas. Muhi enjoys riding his motorcycle, photography, and hiking.

 

Anna Kovchina Bookkeeper

Board of Directors

 

Essma Bengbasia General Member

Essma Bengabsia is an investor by profession and social justice advocate by passion. She is an enthusiast of financial inclusion and socioeconomic justice across racial, gender, and geographic lines.

Essma is a Senior Associate in sustainable and impact investing. She is also a World Economic Forum Global Shaper in Philadelphia. Essma serves on the boards of the American Muslim Community Foundation and The Muslim Network, an organization that seeks to unite Muslim communities in New Jersey across all backgrounds.

Essma’s favorite quote is, “But still, like air, I’ll rise” (Maya Angelou).

 

Agnes Chong Vice President, Legal

Agnes brings her considerable experience in founding organizations and programs to the American Muslim Community Foundation. She has broad knowledge of nonprofit law and compliance issues, and a deep understanding of the sector based on her empirical research into Muslim nonprofits. She earned her doctoral and masters degrees at Stanford Law School, was a George L. Lieberman Fellow in 2013-2014 and co-founder of the Stanford Program in Law and Society. Her research analyzed the impact of post-9/11 counter-terrorism measures on Muslim community organizations in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia. Prior to joining Stanford, Agnes worked exclusively in the nonprofit sector. She was Director of Programs and Outreach and Civil Rights Coordinator at CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, and served as the Legal Clinic Director of the Muslim Community Association Legal Clinic.  In her hometown of Sydney, Australia, she worked for the community law sector as an attorney, policy officer, and community legal educator. In that time she served as a Board Member of the Combined Community Legal Centres Group (NSW) Inc, the peak body of community legal centres in the state of New South Wales, where she also co-convened the Law Reform and Policy Committee.  She co-founded the Australian Muslim Civil Rights Advocacy Network (AMCRAN), and led the production of three editions of the publication, Anti-terrorism laws: ASIO, the Police and You, a guide to the rights and responsibilities under Australia’s anti-terror laws.

Ayman Elsawah General Member, Co-Founder

Ayman has served with nonprofits for most of his adult life. Helping them fund raise over the years, he realized that many organizations were re-inventing the wheel and spending an enormous amount of time fundraising and not focused on their operations. American Muslim Community Foundation is an effort to change that and evolve the American Muslim Donor ecosystem. Ayman’s experience and leadership skills demonstrate time and again his strategic thinking, independent decisiveness, and his ability to mentor/guide those around him.

Omar Hassan Treasurer

Omar is a financial leader who believes that the way forward for philanthropy and the Muslim community is to build a sustainable framework for funding initiatives that can be both self-preserving and adaptable.  Omar is also currently an active member at his local masjid where he volunteered as a teacher at their Sunday school. Omar has mainly focused his professional career in the asset management sector where he currently serves as the Chief Financial Officer for Cloverlay, a special situations private equity firm. Prior to joining Cloverlay, Omar worked at various other global alternative asset managers. Omar is a Certified Public Accountant in the state of NY. Omar enjoys traveling, experiencing other cultures, sports, and cooking. His most important role in this world is being a husband to his wife and a father to his three young children.

Safaa Ibrahim President, Co-Founder

Safaa is a non-profit institutional development leader.  Her early career path emerged as a project manager in web solutions. As she committed her leisure time towards community volunteerism, she searched for an altruistic purpose in her vocation and shifted focus towards the advancement of civic and social non-profit causes. Safaa has served six non-profit organizations, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations-California (CAIR-CA), Islamic Center of Santa Cruz, GiveLight Foundation, Family Network, Egypt Cancer Network and Averroes Institute.  She’s held a wide-range of roles that spanned from Board President, to Treasure, Executive Director, Operations Director, and Programs Director. With a over two decades of combined experience in the private and public sector, She has harnessed a blend of innovative, organizational and strategy focused approaches to achieve vital long-term health for organizations seeking to solidify their infrastructural and institutional framework.  Safaa is passionate about bringing together diverse resources to mobilize a community and to expand the capacity of nonprofits to deliver service and value.

 

Marwah Maasarani General Member

Marwah brings her experience as an Evaluation Coordinator at the International Rescue Committee and years of experience as a Senior Program Analyst at Charity Navigator to AMCF. Marwah is on the Grants Governance Committee. Marwah resides in New Jersey.

Sherrin Nasr General Member

Sherrin focuses her energy at AMCF on process & policy as well as grant-writing. She has a degree in physical therapy and currently works as a project manager implementing healthcare software & training programs. She also serves on the board for other charities and is an active volunteer chaplain at her local hospital. Sherrin is passionate about all things dessert, and luckily is also an avid runner.

Michael Ramos-Lynch General Member, Legal

Michael studied Education Policy at Brown University and went on to teach high school English in Dallas, TX through Teach For America. Michael has always had a passion for initiatives that prioritize social good. He followed this passion to Stanford University where he graduated with a joint degree in law and “Management Science & Engineering.” Michael now uses his experience having worked at a venture capital fund, non-profit legal aid services,  and large corporate law firms to help grow his own startup juice company (www.ojoygives.com) as well as serve as legal counsel to other startups through his legal practice at www.goodbusinesslawyer.com. Michael always tries to encourage and support social entrepreneurship initiatives, which is why the juice company he co-founded donates a meal to a child in need for every bottle they sell.

Michael enjoys anything outdoors and loves to travel. One of his favorite cities is Istanbul, and he will happily discuss the intricate delicacies of his favorite baklava shops there.

Advisory Committee

  • Athar Siddiqee Strategic Planning & Development
  • Ayat Elnoory Human Resources/Co-Founder
  • Basil Hashem Strategic Advisor
  • Ghada Ahmad Strategic Planning & Development 
  • Joe Bradford Religious Finance Scholar 
  • Kinan Alhoch Marketing
  • Osman Arain Investment Advisor
  • Shafath Syed Marketing/ Strategic Planning 
  • Shams Khan Fundraising/Philanthropy 

If you are looking for opportunities to leverage your skillset and expertise for the American Muslim Community Foundation, please email us your resume and LinkedIn profile!

*AMCF consulted with Imam Tahir Anwar and Joe Bradford about zakat and overall organizational vision, staying in touch with them regularly.

Interested in evolving American Muslim Philanthropy with your time, talents, and treasures? Drop us a line, we’d love to hear from you!