Officials from several foundations are scheduled to meet today in Washington with representatives from the Department of Homeland Security as part of an effort by the federal government to learn what philanthropy is doing to fight terrorism and other violent acts spurred by ideology.
The meeting will “explore how the philanthropic community supports community-led efforts to counter violent extremism and assess what additional efforts may enhance this work,” according to an invitation sent to foundation leaders from David Heyman, assistant secretary for the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Policy.
Mr. Heyman said he expected the meeting to begin a “fruitful dialogue” about how to foster local programs that reduce the risk of extremism. “We are looking to engage in an exchange of views about support to community efforts to directly counter and disrupt terrorist efforts to build support for, and recruit members to, their cause,” he said.
Among the funds invited are the Atlantic Philanthropies, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Grantmakers Concerned for Immigrants and Refugees, the Henry Luce Foundation, the Proteus Fund, and the Robertson Foundation for Government.
The Council on Foundations, an umbrella group for grant makers, has been pursuing ways to work more effectively with the Department of Homeland Security but is not involved with this particular meeting.
However, the leader of a Muslim community group who did not want to be identified expressed concern that the meeting “may be an inappropriate interference with charitable giving.”
“American Muslim civic organizations and mosques are already engaged in programs to combat violent extremism,” the nonprofit official said. “The freedom of individuals and foundations to promote social change, free of government intrusion, has been an integral part of American democracy.”