Diversity Community Orgs Grants

‘Tolerance, Compassion and Respect’: Taman Foundation Supports Arts, Cultural Efforts

distributing more than $120,000 since its founding in remembrance of local pillar Taman, organization looks to 2023

McKenna Scherer |

COMMUNITY PILLAR LIVES ON. Through the Mahmoud S. Taman Foundation, Dr. Taman's legacy continues to thrive, the organization supporting efforts near and far.
COMMUNITY PILLAR LIVES ON. Through the Mahmoud S. Taman Foundation, Dr. Taman's legacy continues to thrive, the organization supporting efforts near and far. (Photos via Foundation website, Taman and family pictured above)

Dr. Mahmoud S. Taman, who lived in the Chippewa Valley for more than 40 years, believed in the power of education, community, and faith, and his legacy lives on through a foundation dedicated to those ideals. 

Taman was a psychiatrist for over 43 years in the Valley, first moving to the area with his family in 1973, and became a pillar of the community through his professional work and as a leader of the local Muslim community. He co-founded the Islamic Society of Northern Wisconsin (the Altoona Mosque) in 1991 and being an active member of the interfaith community, believing in the values of tolerance, compassion, and respect. Well-traveled, he also kept his Egyptian roots firm, visiting his home village over the years, but always returning to the Valley. 

Since the Mahmoud S Taman Foundation’s founding in 2011, the organization has distributed more than $120,000 to community and international groups, all striving to make positive change in a variety of ways. The foundation aims to advance missions and projects which work to better their communities in areas such as youth education, artist development, culture and interfaith dialogue in the media, and immigration support for the new Afghan community.

In the past, the foundation has supported the Sojourner House, the Chippewa Valley Post, the Eau Claire Regional Arts Center, the Wisconsin Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies, and many more organizations and individuals. 

In 2023, the foundation aims to continue providing financial support for community organizations, projects, and initiatives, funding grants of up to $1,000, and through its essay contest and scholarship programs.

In 2022, the Foundation awarded funds to the Boys and Girls Club of Chippewa Falls and the Midwest Artist Academy, while several youth education initiatives were supported by the Community Grants program, all of which were dedicated to advocating for children around the world. “Our grant recipients this year are a testament to the kindness and passion for transformative change that exists in the hearts of our community members here in Wisconsin and around the world,” the foundation said.

Art educator and master’s candidate Celine Anderson used grant funds to create engaging projects for her underserved classes in Virginia to learn about art in a culturally affirming setting, while Khayraiya Mohamed Arafa used the funding to ensure adequate and safe housing for displaced young women transitioning between high school and college in Egypt. Also in Egypt, funds for textbooks at Al Azhar University were awarded to students pursuing Islamic Studies, a portion of that funding also going towards food donations and medical supplies for the community thanks to Amal El Iraqi’s advocacy.

“The outpouring of support we have seen from longtime community members of the Chippewa Valley community in supporting our new Afghan neighbors has been overwhelming.”

Mahmoud S. Taman Foundation

In Kyrgyzstan, the Kalpak English Academy was awarded funds to purchase English books that are otherwise inaccessible in the rural area. The academy’s students advocated for by second-time grantee and former US Peace Corps Volunteer, Director Noah Bratcher. 

In arts and media, the foundation awarded funding to the Chippewa Valley Book Festival for their 23rd annual festival while local Eau Claire filmmaker Ben Kreibich received grants to finish post-production efforts on his short film focused on exploring mental health and trans identity, which will premiere in both Minneapolis and Eau Claire’s Micon Cinema sometime in 2023. 

The foundation’s highlighted grantee of the year is Welcoming New Neighbors, a grassroots effort to support Afghan community members in resettling and immigration processes. Grant funding was used for supplementing the financial needs of several Afghan families sponsored by the Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan.

“The outpouring of support we have seen from longtime members of the Chippewa Valley community in supporting our new Afghan neighbors has been overwhelming,” the Foundation said. “We are proud to help aid in these necessary efforts for resettling families into our diverse community.” 

To apply for the Mahmoud S. Taman Foundation’s grants, visit its website. Keep up with the organization by following its Facebook page and reach out with any inquiries at MSTamanFoundation@gmail.com.