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A Grain of Hope Foundation, Inc.

A Grain of Hope Foundation's founder offers a few insights:

Finally, after five years of careful monitoring, selective fundraising and reams of paperwork, we have achieved our final determination from the IRS that we are indeed a 501(c)(3) public charity. All new independent public charities must follow this five-year path to achieving the final determination, and we thank all who donated, because each one of you helped us achieve this goal - a critical milestone in the development of any public charity.

I founded this charity because it was too easy to write a check to an organization. Yes, there are a great many worthy charities already out there, and they do great work; but I always was left with an empty feeling. I realized I needed personal involvement, to get my hands dirty, metaphorically.

In my field as a software developer, I get the same empty feeling when I work on a large project where my code is combined with that of many others, then shipped off somewhere thousands of miles away to be run by someone whom I will never have contact. To me, the best jobs are where I can develop programs to be used in-house, where I can actually see the benefit that the tweak or gizmo brings.

For me, it is the same with charity. I feel the need to see what value my contribution is making, see the changes in people's lives. And I freely admit that it is a selfish need - but I believe it is an instinct that God has given us, that instinctive need to feel wanted.

There are many other charities out there that do grass-roots old-fashioned feed-the-needy work - I could have just joined hands with them and have my involvement just as well. But it seemed that there were very few Islam-based organizations whose main purpose was charity rather than mosque operation, construction or public relations. And many Christian and Jewish organizations, while extraordinarily devoted, caring, and worthy (and to which I will continue to contribute), may not always operate in the same way that an Islam-based organization would (for example, holding a fundraising raffle or selling alcohol at a fundraising event). I urge you to continue to support the organizations in your community that you feel worthy, regardless of what religious affiliation they may bear (if any). We all benefit from the work of Hospice, Meals on Wheels, Blood and Fire, the food banks, and all the others that work tirelessly for the benefit of the poor and needy. But if you believe in our mission - and have $5 to spare - I personally guarantee you that your donation won't be wasted.