First global Islamic charity fund plans launch early in 2010
The first global fund to manage Muslims’ charitable donations plans to launch next year and hopes to raise $750 million from high net-worth donors during its first year. Established as an initiative by Malaysia, the World Zakat [charity] Fund hopes to start making philanthropic investments within a year. The fund has $50 million in soft commitments, and its managers predict value could grow to $10 billion over ten years as it raises money from an estimated 40,000 wealthy individuals in the Middle East, including some of the 400 billionaires there. The money will be used to fund charitable causes and make philanthropic investments including microprivate-equity investments in sharia-compliant businesses, microfinance activities in rural areas and sharia-compliant liquid investments. The fund also plans to invest in health, clean water provision, education and housing.