Muslim Community Network
Three Year Strategic Vision and Plan
2016 – 2019
The Muslim Community Network develops the capacity of Muslim-New Yorkers and their allies, to fully participate in the social and political landscape of New York City.
MCN’s strategies include creating strong relationships with other faith-based communities; articulating and advancing an understanding of the need for citizen engagement; developing the skills and ability of our community to affect change, and building the next generation’s identity and capacity as leaders. Our program areas: Youth Leadership Development, Community Education, Cross-Cultural Education, and Civic Engagement.
VALUES AND OPERATING PRINCIPLES
- Social Justice Framework – We use a social justice framework to encourage engagement in addressing the root causes of inequality.
- Inclusion, Unity, and Diversity – We work with all of New York’s diverse Muslim and non-Muslim communities. We value diverse leadership and voices. We seek to facilitate the emergence of a Muslim identity that transcends generational, ethnic, gender, racial and class-based boundaries.
- Mutual Consultation – We believe in mutual consultation as a decision making process which works to build consensus and cooperation among diverse opinions, identities and experiences.
- Self Determination — We create spaces for all New Yorkers to engage one another and take an active role in their society. Rather than attempt to represent all Muslims or New Yorkers, we prefer to bring people to the table to represent themselves.
- Empowerment – We facilitate individual and community empowerment by providing spaces for reflection and consciousness-raising within the Muslim community, which develops the confidence and self-reliance necessary for the realization of power.
- Partnership – We value partnership as a means of effectively expanding the ways in which we can serve multiple communities through multiple methods.
- Creating Connections – We do not seek to reinvent the wheel, but rather to connect those with experience and expertise to audiences that can benefit from their teachings.
We believe that social justice is both a goal and a process. Our vision is a Muslim community, fluent in the social and civic environment of New York City and capable of critically assessing its place in that context. We also believe in supporting the Muslim community to not just actively work to assure its own civil rights, but the rights of other marginalized groups as well.
Our vision also includes an active, assertive populace of Muslim youth leading their communities, and an increasing number of spaces for collaboration, dialogue and development within the Muslim community.
ROLE AND REPUTATION
- MCN will be known as a bridge- builder for its insistence on consensus building, and its strong relationships with both Muslim and Interfaith communities throughout New York City.
- MCN will be known for our utilization of participatory methods of instruction, facilitation and training in both adult and young adult audiences.
- MCN will be known for our emphasis on social justice and amplification of voices that often go unheard.
- MCN will be known for its concern over the quality of its programming, in addition to the quantity of programming it offers.
- MCN will be known for its focus on strategic growth, discipline and connection to its mission and the communities it serves.
BASE OF SUPPORT
Our work will be supported by the communities in which we work. In the next three years, MCN will focus on expanding the support it receives from faith-based congregations in New York City, members of the Muslim community, and foundations and organizations who wish to support social justice and the empowerment of marginalized communities. We will also work to create a strong alumni network of individuals who have participated in our programs.
In the next three years, MCN will strengthen its base of support, ensure the continuation and expansion of its landmark program, Muslim Youth NYC (MY NYC), and expand its outreach to and relationships with the Muslim, interfaith and social justice communities of New York City.
By 2018, MCN’s Board of Directors will consist of 9-13 members who reflect the diversity of the communities in which we work. These members will understand their role in ensuring the financial stability of the organization, offering their expertise to MCN and investing their time to catalyze the growth of the organization.
RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT AND STAFFING
By 2019, MCN’s budget will have grown to $250,000, reflecting the need for successful implementation of our goals. Our staff will have grown to include a full-time development professional and part-time program coordinators for each of its program areas. By 2019, MCN will have secured full-time access to a space for community workshops in addition to the office space we currently utilize.
MCN’s program areas will be clearly identifiable and focused to ensure maximum impact. Our program areas are: Youth Leadership Development, Community Education, Cross- Cultural Education, and Civic Engagement.
1. YOUTH LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT
MCN responds to the need for culturally and religiously relevant programs for young New Yorkers by providing trainings and programs to hasten the development of active, engaged Muslim Youth and their allies in New York City.
- Empower the next generation of leaders by providing them with the opportunity to learn valuable leadership skills, develop their confidence and identity as leaders, and initiate social justice projects to address issues of importance to them.
- Expand the number of youth involved in our programs by creating a strong network of partners from the public and private school systems, other civil society organizations and mosques around the city.
- Expand the number of professionals serving as mentors and trainers in our youth programming by consistently reaching out to new professionals and mindfully engaging those we have worked with in the past.
- Sustain the engagement of our youth participants by creating a robust alumni association, transitioning their participation to our Community Education and Civic Engagement programs.
2. COMMUNITY EDUCATION
The Community Education program informs Muslim New Yorkers of the tools and resources available to them to improve quality of life of their families and neighbors and to advocate for the civil rights and liberties of all New Yorkers. We do so by hosting panel discussions, community dialogues, and workshops and trainings for both Muslim and non-Muslim communities.
- Offer consistent training opportunities to community members to build leadership skills and tools to advocate for the rights and interests of their communities.
- Secure access to a community space with room to host up to 30 members
- Develop and maintain a comprehensive database of Muslim professionals with diverse skills and expertise to share best practices in a given subject with the Muslim community members who desire to build their repertoire in the given subject area.
3. CROSS- CULTURAL EDUCATION
MCN’s Cross-Cultural Education program builds bridges of understanding beyond sectarian, racial, ethnic, gender, and class divisions within and across communities of faith to foster communication, understanding, and build harmonious communities free from discrimination.
- Develop and implement relevant and accessible curricula to educate non-Muslims about the traditions, practices and beliefs of Muslims and Islam, as well as the diversity of the American Muslim community.
- Create opportunities for members of different faith communities to meet their Muslim neighbors and establish ongoing relationships with them through regular dialogues and service opportunities centered on shared values of community service, social justice, and peace-building.
- Counter intra-faith prejudice and discrimination by strengthening partnerships with diverse Muslim religious institutions, community and advocacy organizations to provide collaborative opportunities to engage in community dialogues, town halls, and calls to action.
4. CIVIC ENGAGEMENT
MCN seeks to build upon its successes engaging youth leaders and educating Muslim and non-Muslim community members by developing a civic engagement program to mobilize these constituencies to advocate for a more just society where the rights of all are respected.
- Develop the base of support for these actions by expanding our relationships with other civil society groups and individual members who support our work.
- Identify and strengthen our strategic role within our present coalitions and criteria for joining new coalitions.
- Triple the audience we disseminate calls to action to and significantly increase the rate of return from our calls.
- Promote informed participation in civil society and policy-related debates through coalition building, supporting advocacy campaigns and promoting calls to action.
- Provide opportunities for the Muslim community to participate in community service projects to make positive contributions to their neighborhoods alongside their counterparts from other faith traditions.
- Build a strong alumni network and connection to civic action within participants of the community education and youth leadership programs through a Civic Action Fellowship program.
MCN will create and utilize a responsible communications strategy throughout its programming and operations. The strategy leverages our communications to provide additional support for the organization and shares information about our activities and programming.
- Develop a robust Press List
- Ensure all staff members and Board of Directors can effectively articulate our mission, goals and programming.
- Create the infrastructure to target our communications to specific audiences.
- Develop a contingency plan for communications in times of heightened need or crisis.
- Utilize a range of innovative online tools and media outlets– including MCN’s website, social networking platforms, local and ethnic media, and online blogs – to disseminate information and opinion pieces and increase the visibility of the American Muslim community and the issues affecting it.
GOVERNANCE & RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT
MCN will plan for and ensure a culture of good governance and continuing education for its Board and Staff. Development of resources to support for program activities and daily operations will be a consistent and ongoing activity.
- Increase annual budget each year to $250,000 by 2018.
- Expand MCN’s Board of Directors to consist of 9-13 members who understand their role in ensuring the financial stability of the organization, offering their expertise to MCN and investing their time to catalyze the growth of the organization.
- Expand staff to include a full-time development professional, a part-time youth leadership development coordinator, part-time civic engagement coordinator, part-time community education coordinator, and part-time cross-cultural education coordinator.
- Expand the intern and volunteer base to support Board and Staff in carrying out programmatic activities and provide educational enrichment programs for interns and staff.
Over the course of this three year plan, MCN will strengthen its fundraising capacity with a comprehensive plan to sustain its operational and programmatic costs and expand its current programs.
- Develop, diversify, and expand our funder base with an emphasis on cultivating individuals, corporations, and foundations, including a corresponding plan to increase donor retention and renewal of donations.
- Develop and maintain a portfolio of materials consisting of organizational information, press releases and communications, and programmatic activities and accomplishments to enhance development and fundraising efforts.
- Create and implement a successful Development Plan to encompass 6 strategies including, but not limited to, grants, major gifts, support from companies and corporations, gifts-in-kind, online campaigns, and special events. The plan will have clearly designated roles of responsibility for Board and Staff.
IDENTITY AND BRANDING
MCN has ten years of organizational history in New York City. That history includes programs related to health, social justice, civic activism and much more. Within the next three years, we will distinguish MCN’s vision and programming from its past iterations and clearly demonstrate its mission in action.
- Create an ongoing public relations campaign to successfully articulate our core programming, vision, goals and mission, and distinguish our work from that of other organizations.
- Strictly adhere to our programming goals and develop criteria for strategic and sustainable expansion of our work, especially the addition of new programs.
- Maintain consistent branding across communications platforms and online and print materials, including visual devices, perceived emotional experiences and personality, and messaging that reflect the values and aims of the organization as a whole.
- Develop a strong sense of belonging amongst our program participants by frequently involving them in additional opportunities to volunteer and attend MCN sponsored events, recognizing their contributions to the organization, and ensuring that they are included in additional projects and requests for input.