Alexandria, VA – In celebration of its 25th anniversary, Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA), a nonprofit humanitarian and advocacy organization, has awarded a $25,000 “Silver Anniversary” grant to Bespoken Live, an organization focused on providing effective storytelling techniques and opportunities as a way to bridge divides between different communities.

The ‘Silver Anniversary Community Bridge-Building’ program was announced as an initiative to bridge the differences that frequently divide communities – such as religion, race, or political opinion. The grant announcement generated 175 formal inquiries from organizations working in 36 states and Puerto Rico, demonstrating that people all across America are interested in finding common bonds and committing to a common mission for the sake of their communities.

“The tremendous response from grassroots, community-based, and national organizations shows that people who, on the surface have little in common, can come together to make the world a better place—a place where there’s more unity, more sensitivity, and an endless amount of potential and promise,” said Anne Wilson, director of programs for IRUSA.

The grant provides opportunities in interfaith youth programing, with the goal of reducing social isolation, especially among youth. One of the ways to accomplish that goal is through crafted storytelling. Through the Bespoken Live on Campus program, a group of interfaith youth leaders will share stories about themselves and their friends at retreats at various locations, including houses of worship, afterschool programs, youth centers/organizations, etc.

The target audience is high school students, ages 14-19, in the Greater Cincinnati area. The grant will help fund things like weekend retreats. Participants will learn effective ways to tell stories, as well as the benefits of listening.

“We are thrilled to partner with Islamic Relief USA to create safe and honoring spaces that will empower student leaders to spark outbreaks of tangible hope in their communities,” said Brad Wise, executive director of Bespoken Live.



Syed M. Hassan or
(703) 370-7246



Islamic Relief USA, based in Alexandria, Va., is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) humanitarian organization. Its mission is to alleviate suffering, hunger, illiteracy and disease regardless of color, race, gender or creed, and to provide aid in a compassionate and dignified manner. Islamic Relief USA aims to provide rapid relief in the event of human and natural disasters and to establish sustainable local development projects, allowing communities to better help themselves. Its programs benefit millions of people each year around the world, including in the United States.

Islamic Relief USA meets all of the Standards for Charity Accountability of the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, a national charity monitoring group affiliated with the Better Business Bureau system. Islamic Relief USA is on the U.S. government’s Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) charity list, and it is also a signatory to the code of conduct of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

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