LA City Hall Iftar

NewGround change-makers stand up and speak out.

On June 14th, NewGround change-maker Jason Velazquez, a gay Muslim man from Florida, shared his reflections on the tragedy in Orlando and a moment of silence with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti at the beautiful interfaith iftar hosted by the City of Los Angeles Human Relations Commission.

Change-maker Projects 2016

NewGround fellows design projects to connect with and improve their communities.


Our recently graduated professional fellows have developed some amazing projects over the past 8 months. Take a look:

Interfaith Shabbat Dinner in Support for Refugees: Muslims and Jews gathered together to share an evening of prayer, food, and thought provoking discussion. Fellows bridged communities and began a thought-provoking and inspiring discussion about one of the many crises facing our world and learned to act as protectors for one another in times of need.

Interfaith Podcast: Fellows record and produce an interfaith podcast that showcases conversations about common lifestyle struggles that exist in both the Muslim and Jewish communities. Emotional barriers are broken down as they share their stories.

Meet Pray Love: Fellows created opportunities for people of different faiths to experience one another’s traditions and prayer spaces through the simple act of visiting during a regularly scheduled service. Inspired by their own transformative experience of coming together as Muslims and Jews, the fellows foster familiarity and friendship, the seeds of which are already present but too often lack the conditions to nurture their growth.

MiND_Kit: This initiative provides necessary and innovative skills and resources to middle school children in South Central LA. Through community collaborations, computer hardware and programming tools are introduced to young children in hopes to empower the community. Fellows will develop a workshop curriculum at local universities and colleges to serve as an incentive for youth to attend the resource hubs as an alternative to potentially engaging in criminal activity.

Muslim and Jewish Kids for Change: The Silverlake Independent Jewish Community Center (SIJCC) and Islamic Center of Southern California (ICSC) bring their Sunday Schools together to learn about each other while giving back to the community. For their first meeting, the groups met at the Islamic Center for an interfaith exchange. The kids connected with one another as they learned about the many similarities between their religions and assembled hygiene kits and bagged lunches for the homeless. Get a beautiful and inspiring sense of the day here. 


NewGround Community Iftar & Fellowship Celebration 2016

The single largest gathering of Muslims and Jews held during Ramadan in Los Angeles!

On June 8th, 350 Muslims and Jews came together at the historic Wilshire Boulevard Temple to connect and build relationships across faith traditions, and to honor this year’s graduates of the Professional Fellowship program. NewGround’s community iftar and fellowship celebration is the single largest gathering of Muslims and Jews held during Ramadan in Los Angeles. Many thanks to our sponsors, donors, guests, event co-chairs, board, interns and volunteers who helped make the evening memorable for all!

NewGround named a top innovative organization by Slingshot!


NewGround was named one of America’s top 50 innovative Jewish organizations for the 3rd year in a row!

The annual Slingshot Guide, which highlights the best of the Jewish nonprofit world, was released today, March 7th, 2016, and NewGround was selected from among hundreds of finalists. The Guide noted that NewGround’s fellowship and High School initiative “produce emerging leaders who forge change.”

The organizations included in the Guide are driving the future of Jewish life and engagement by motivating new audiences to participate in their work and responding to the needs of individuals and communities – both within and beyond the Jewish community – as never before. NewGround is proud to be among the 50 organizations honored for achieving these results.

The Slingshot Guide also noted:

“In recent years, NewGround’s efforts have been so successful that the group has been recognized by Harvard University’s Pluralism Project, and the White House invited NewGround to present on a panel about effective bridge building between communities of different faiths. This kind of recognition comes when an organization is doing something right, and NewGround has perfected its approach to bridge building.”

NewGround is thrilled to be a part of the amazing community of hundreds of innovative Jewish organizations included in the Guide over the past eleven years who continue to create positive change in the community

Download a free copy of the Slingshot Guide at

NewGround Around Town


NewGround leaders inspire dialogue around Los Angeles. 


NewGround Executive Director Aziza Hasan spoke on the future of Islam in Southern California along with retired Councilman Robert Farrell and some amazing high school students at Masjid Bilal.  Saaliha Khan, NewGround Communications and Project Manager, addressed the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health Faith-based Advocacy Council meeting on NewGround’s accomplishments and vision for the year ahead.

Calling Change-makers

If you have an inspiring idea, now is the time to transform it into a reality…


Photo Credits: Two Faiths One Prayer, Marta Evry; 72 Virgins Mocktail Party, Taher Hussaini

NewGround Change-maker Grant awardees in the inaugural year experienced unprecedented exposure and in some cases viral success — spreading our message of hope and change through shared experiential learning and civic engagement.  These initiatives inspired thousands and received widespread media  coverage around the country on Upworthy and HuffPost and across the world from Pakistan to Israel.

Learn more about how you can apply here. The application deadline is 11:59 PM, Friday, February 26, 2016

Only NewGround alumni and current program participants are eligible to apply.

NewGround on BuzzFeed and CCF

Videos“A priest, a rabbi, and an imam get together…”

With over 1,000,000+ views, check out the latest BuzzFeed video featuring NewGround Board member Rabbi Susan Goldberg; MAJIC Advisory Board member, Jihad Turk; and Reverend Francisco Garcia. The religious leaders got together on camera to discuss their religious stances on tough, contemporary issues. Throughout the video, Rabbi Susan Goldberg emphasizes the importance of listening and practicing empathy and compassion with one another.

A NewGround Vision for Los Angeles

On New Year’s Eve, the California Community Foundation as part of its Centennial Celebration and Legacy Campaign posted this #LAtogether short video sharing NewGround Executive Director Aziza Hasan’s vision for Los Angeles: “A place where we have the COURAGE to tell our stories and CONNECT with each other.”

TEDx & PBS feature NewGround


NewGroud Executive Director Aziza Hasan’s TEDx Talk Now Available Online HERE!

Watch how Aziza shares transformative stories that illustrate the power of “Unlocking the Courage of Curiosity” and leaves the audience teary-eyed with a standing ovation to follow.

We encourage you to share this along with our short video #BreakNewGround to amplify our NewGround value and message of emphasizing “curiosity over assumptions.”

PBS: Check out footage at 8:07 from NewGround’s annual community iftar at Wilshire Boulevard Temple on PBS! Watch HERE!

BuzzFeed Highlights Change-makers

Have you seen it yet? Check out our BuzzFeed video HERE.

Find our NewGround change-makers Saaliha Khan, staff member, Marwa Abdelghani,  MAJIC alum and community outreach fellow at MPAC, and Tom Earl, spoken word poet, community educator & MAJIC speaker.

The video has over 15 million views and counting!

 SK BuzzFeed