The Alavi Foundation is a private, American 501(C) (3) not-for-profit organization incorporated in the State of New York that has provided more than $50 million in funding for charitable activities in the United States since our founding in 1973. Throughout our history, we have been committed to funding cultural programs, universities, schools, free clinics and college scholarships.
Our charitable activities promote the study of Persian culture, language, art, literature, and civilization. We have long supported programs in interfaith studies. We stand for democracy, freedom of expression, religious co-existence and pluralism, and equal rights for all.
The Foundation and the communities we serve are proud of the fact that our funding is primarily from our 60% ownership of the building we constructed in the 1970s at 650 Fifth Avenue in the heart of New York City. We are resisting in court the government’s efforts to seize our share of the building because we have no affiliation with any government, let alone the government of Iran, and we have never knowingly provided unlawful services to Iran or any agency of Iran. We have done our best to operate in accordance with the laws of the United States and the State of New York, the jurisdictions in which we operate.
Our work has always been entirely charitable and not for the benefit of Iran or any other government. Our goals are to support the education of young people, to prevent radicalization and violent extremism, and to enhance the appreciation of Persian culture, including Islamic studies, here in our country. The United States is a nation of immigrants. Hundreds of not-for-profit organizations in the United States promote the culture and language of foreign countries from which the Americans they serve (and their ancestors) emigrated. That does not make them agencies of the governments of those countries.
As Iranian-Americans, we are proud of the history, traditions, and cultural values that we promote through our extensive charitable activities. We are Americans, and we categorically reject all violence and terrorism, state-sponsored or otherwise. We have no doubt that our efforts to promote Persian history, culture, and religion – which benefit many Americans, not merely Iranian-Americans who are assimilating into this great country – actively help strengthen the fabric of our society. Indeed, that is our ultimate goal.