About Us

Founded by Zakat Foundation of America in 2020 as an independent, professional graduate program, Zakat Foundation Institute provides hands-on training and thought leadership to serve Muslim charitable work by offering advanced degrees in humanitarian and development studies. In partnership with leading institutions, scholars, and organizations.

The Institute offers specialized coursework with the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy to students and professionals with a proven commitment of service to the Muslim charitiable sector. 

Zakat Foundation Institute awards humanitarian tuition fellowships annually – fully funded by the Zakat Foundation of America – to professionals with a demonstrated commitment of service in established Muslim charities. 

The program commenced in the 2020 Fall Semester, with Fellows from the US and abroad.

This remarkable inclusion reflects the Institute’s aim and commitment to bringing about effective and much-needed informed and fundamental change to Muslim charitable work in the world and to the global humanitarian sector, which faces unprecedented and dire systemic crises. 

The Zakat Foundation Institute conducts its coursework online, with limited in-person seminar requirements and internships.


No human being should be subjected to preventable poverty, hunger, or displacement while the world has the knowledge, tools, and ability to respond to humanitarian challenges.


We offer a solution-oriented educational experience that accelerates the success of the social good sectors through empowering local charitable-work leaders with specialized knowledge and professional skills and integrating them into the service of global humanitarianism and philanthropy.


Build a diverse, multi-generational alumni body that develops sustainable, evolving, socially responsive projects that engender inclusive cultures of compassion and mutual respect and changes the world for the better.


Rasheed Ahmed


Sobia Khan

Librarian & Program Manager


Abbas Barzarger

Academic Director

Dr. Barzegar is Zakat Foundation Institute’s Academic Director where he oversees curriculum development and research programming. He is a term-member of the Council on Foreign Relations and maintains research and teaching affiliations with Indian University's Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, Emory University's Masters in Development Program, and George Mason's Ali Vural Ak Center for Global Islamic Studies. He has years of applied research experience covering the transnational Muslim civil society at the intersection of Islamic revival and geopolitics. Recent projects he has led include the European Union funded "Bridging Transatlantic Voices" initiative at the British Council USA, the digital archive, "After Malcolm" at George Mason, and the Hijacked by Hate study on US philanthropy and anti-Muslim special interest groups. In addition to numerous articles and book chapters, he is the co-author of Islamism: Contested Perspectives on Political Islam (Stanford). His work has been supported by The European Union, The British Council, The US Institute of Peace (USIP), the Mellon Foundation, The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and The American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS). His commentary and analysis can be found in a variety of print and broadcast media outlets, including CNN, Fox News, The Guardian, The Hill, The Huffington Post, and Aljazeera. 

Shariq Siddiqui

Dr. Shariq Siddiqui is an Assistant Professor of Philanthropic Studies and Director of the Muslim Philanthropy Initiative at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Shariq has a Ph.D. and M.A. in Philanthropic Studies from the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. He also has a JD from the McKinney School of Law at Indiana University and holds a B.A. in History from the University of Indianapolis.

Shariq authors research on Muslim philanthropy and the Muslim nonprofit sector. Most recently, he conducted a national survey of full-time Islamic schools in the United States. This project resulted in the book (that he co-authored) Islamic Education in the United States and the Evolution of Muslim Nonprofit Institutions, published in November 2017. Shariq also serves as the co-editor of the Journal of Muslim Philanthropy and Civil Society, Journal on Education in Muslim Societies and as the Series Editor of the Muslim Philanthropy and Civil Society Book Series. All three of which are published by Indiana University Press. He has served as a nonprofit practitioner for over 20 years for international, national, regional, and local nonprofit organizations.

Previously, Shariq served as the Executive Director of Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA). ARNOVA is a leading international association that connects scholars, teachers, and practice leaders in research on nonprofit organizations, voluntary action, philanthropy and civil society.