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Moms to KNOW: 200 Muslim Women Who Care

March is Women’s History Month- a time to celebrate women and remember the contributions they have made throughout history and today. Fun fact: History is being made every single day here in Tampa Bay through the local organization 200 Muslim Women Who Care, a nonprofit solely dedicated to giving back to our local community through inclusivity and philanthropy., Our city is blessed beyond measure to have the kindness of these Muslim women and their commitment to change the lives of their neighbors across the Bay.

What did you do prior to starting 200mwwc?

Farah Modi-Khan: I often joke with my husband and refer to myself as the “forever volunteer!” Being a Tampa native, there is not a time I remember where I wasn’t giving back to our community in some way, whether it was serving through the many charitable organizations I was a part of or dedicating my time to the Parent Teacher Organization at my boys’ schools. It is the essence of who I am; it is what fuels me, gives me purpose and fills my soul. Coincidentally, it is through that way of life that I met Dyma!

Dyma AbuOleim: After graduating from college, I started my career in corporate America with Southwest Airlines working as the regional director’s assistant for ground operations. After a few years, I made the difficult decision to exit the work force to become CEO of my home when my first child was born. With no family nearby to lean on for support, I felt it was the best decision for my family. During my role as CEO of my household, I’ve given back to the community in many ways by volunteering on a charitable board and organizing events and enrichment activities in local schools. I’ve also had a side hustle working in my husband’s office. I’ve been fired so many times— but he keeps re-hiring me!

What inspired you to start 200 Muslim Women Who Care?

Farah Modi-Khan: We come from a giving community of Muslim women who are known for their generosity towards charitable causes but who were not necessarily aware of our own local nonprofit organizations that strive to make our city a better place to live. Dyma and I recognized the opportunity we had to connect these inspiring women to worthy causes in our local community. We wanted to create a legacy of engagement with them by collectively donating, making a positive difference and strengthening every neighborhood in the Tampa Bay Area.

What does the selection process entail for a local 501c3 to be considered as a beneficiary of the donation from your members?

Dyma AbuOleim: Our organization is member driven, so members nominate nonprofits with missions that speak to their heart. Next, we complete an internal review where we ensure the charity is aligned to our core values, fiscally healthy and able to adhere to our strict requirement that all awarded funds must remain in our great community of Tampa Bay. Third, representatives from the nonprofits present a short summary of their organization’s mission and goals in order to give our members insight to their programs. Finally, our members vote for their top choice.

What does the future look like for your Tampa-based group? Any plans for growth beyond the bay?

Farah Modi-Khan: We are working out the details with our wonderful board of directors this year but our goal is to launch our first chapter in 2022! We are so excited about sharing the power of collective giving with other Muslim women who will become agents for change within their own local communities.

As a mother who is truly changing the world around her, what advice do you have for other moms who want to make an impact in their communities? 

Dyma AbuOleim: I remember at a conference I attended a while back, a woman introduced herself as a “professional volunteer.” I thought that was genius! For some moms, we have a tendency to undervalue the service we provide to the community because it doesn’t earn a paycheck. However, acts of service is what makes a community whole. It is what makes a community great, and it’s an important reminder of our humanity. So I say to all the moms volunteering in their children’s school PTA, or at the local road-clean up, keep doing your part because your children are watching. And if you want them to be engaged, productive and compassionate citizens then it’s important to set the example. Think about it: Who wouldn’t want help from a neighbor?

Tell us about your favorite things to do with your children in Tampa

Farah Modi-Khan: There are so many fun family-friendly places we love spending time at but you will mostly find my husband and I with our four boys strolling along our beautiful Tampa Riverwalk and ending our perfect evenings with an Eddie & Sam’s pizza!

Dyma AbuOleim: I absolutely love the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts! It is my favorite time of the year, and I have taken each of my children to it since they were born. Their favorite part is the children’s exhibit where they get to purchase real pieces of artwork donated by the artists. Parents aren’t allowed in. It is strictly for the children to decide which piece to buy. The pieces are sold at a discounted price, and all proceeds go to charity. I know this year will be the first time the festival goes virtual. It will be different, but it is something I will continue to support.

Originally published in March 2021

Julie Tingley
Julie Tingley
Julie Tingley introduced the KNOW Women community to Tampa Bay, and founded Wee Macree, a purpose-driven brand for kids. She is a 10-year Tampa transplant who has found her way through many professional and parenting transitions by maintaining focus on her vision of a better future for, and daily inspiration, her daughters Ella and Kate.

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