Islamic Relief’s story began in 1984 when some postdoctoral students founded the Islamic Relief family in England in response to famine in the Horn of Africa.

Nine years later, on this side of the pond in California, the independent affiliate Islamic Relief USA was founded in 1993, when a handful of people saw suffering in the world and wanted to help.

Here are some key dates in IRUSA’s history:


Chechnya_AnwarFirst relief campaign was Bosnia war relief.


 First U.S. relief campaign: After Oklahoma City bombing, IRUSA sends $5,000 in relief.


IRUSA has grown to include 5 employees.


Kosovo crisis begins in March. Major relief campaign begins. IRUSA workers travel to Albania in April and help set up first IR camp for Kosovo refugees.


After 9/11 attacks, IRUSA office receives threats. Workers organize blood drives to help.


First Humanitarian Day is held; this became an annual tradition, now called Day of Dignity. IRUSA spent $6.6 million on programs to help people in need.


As of January, donors are sponsoring 513 orphans. On December 26, earthquake strikes Iran, and major relief campaign begins.


IRUSA receives its first 4-star rating from Charity Navigator. Children in Need campaign is launched; it continues to help children around the world today. On December 26, a devastating tsunami hits Indonesia and neighboring countries. IRUSA donors send aid including homes, health clinics, school, and water and livelihood support.


IRUSA expands: Offices open in Texas and New Jersey. Hurricane Katrina hits the Gulf Coast in late summer, and IRUSA sends staff to provide relief for two years. Earthquake strikes Pakistan, and IRUSA sends large-scale relief.


Famine spreads in Africa, and Lebanon is rocked by violence. Islamic Relief donors send humanitarian aid. Development projects include water in Mali and health initiatives in Afghanistan.


IRUSA expands focus on development projects such as education in Mali.


IRUSA donors are now providing relief in more than 20 countries around the world.


IRUSA expands again, moving headquarters to a new Virginia office. Emergency spreads in Palestine; IRUSA sends medicine, food and clothes.


IRUSA CEO is appointed to USAID advisory committee and IRUSA hosts first Capitol Hill Ramadan Welcome Dinner. Massive flooding submerges large portion of Pakistan; IRUSA sends comprehensive aid.


CEO is appointed to U.S. State Department working group. IRUSA forms U.S. disaster response team that begins relief work in Alabama after tornadoes and New Jersey following Hurricane Irene. Political unrest spreads through Middle East; IRUSA provides humanitarian aid in Egypt, Libya, Yemen and later Syria. Drought and famine strike in East Africa; IRUSA donors provide food, water, medical care and more to hundreds of thousands of people in Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia. IRUSA CEO speaks before United Nations on providing efficient aid.


IRUSA spends $36.5 million on emergency relief, food, water, development projects and more to help people in need.


IRUSA Rated a 4-Star Charity and a ‘Top Nonprofit’
IRUSA earns 8th consecutive 4-star rating from Charity Navigator.
More than 10,000 orphans under sponsorship. Providing relief in more than 30 countries.


IRUSA signs memorandum with American Red Cross, becoming its first Muslim partner.


Donors provide humanitarian aid in more than 50 countries for the first time, helping more than 100,000 in the United States. IRUSA co-sponsors World Bank’s first summit on religion and sustainable development and takes part in U.N. summit on Sustainable Development Goals.


IRUSA responds in eight U.S. emergencies, including delivering water in Flint, Michigan, for six months. IRUSA team takes part in two U.N. summits, focusing on housing and women’s empowerment. Donors share Ramadan food with more than 390,000 people and Eid meat with more than 1 million people. By December, U.S. donors are sponsoring more than 20,000 orphans for the first time.


IRUSA co-Chairs the annual Interaction Forum.
IRUSA earns 11th 4-star rating from Charity Navigator.

2018 - 25th anniversary -