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MY Project USA Spent More Than A Million On Client Services In 2021

The Fiscal Budget for 2022 is 1.6 Million. $350K is needed in private donations

Dear Family,

MY Project USA is a true story of a startup business/organization that was started with zero dollars in an account. Its first office was my kitchen table. The first year was the hardest year financially. I borrowed thousands of dollars on my personal credit cards to support the cash flow. From those humble beginnings, our organization marked its first major milestone in 2020, as revenue broke the $500,000 mark. Even then, the expenses exceeded that amount in 2020, so the organization applied for a SBA loan equal to $150,000, and I myself lent another $40,000. In 2021, we focused more on grants and strategic fundraising and we were able to double the previous year’s budget, making MYPUSA a million-dollar organization for the first time in its history. We served more than 40,000 clients including 150 children on weekly basis last year.

I am truly humbled by the generosity of our community and am grateful for the support of the Columbus City Council, The Columbus Foundation, United Way of Central Ohio, Mid-Ohio Food Collective, National Coalition of Reinvestment in Communities (NCRC), Huntington Bank, and many other agencies, nonprofit and corporate sponsorship to bring us at this point. Because of them, we have several new job openings in the organization. We have hired four amazing people to run various initiatives. Their profiles are below.  

As you know, the pandemic has risen the crimes and violence everywhere. We are no exception. More of our children are still at-higher risk of gangs/gun violence and drugs. Hundreds of children are behind in their academics and will fail if we don’t help them on school side. Therefore, we have no other choice then expanding our services to 300 children this year along with other services to their families. There is of course a larger cost to it but the benefits are far more than the $1.6M cost itself.

2022 Core Budget & Expenses

As we are applying for several grants, we must raise at least $350,000 from our private donors like you.

The breakdown of the total expenses will be as following:

  • $800,000 Salaries
  • $70,000 Transportation for Clients & Programs
  • $100,000  Incidental & Supplies, Goods for clients
  • $100,000 Rent & permits
  • $270,000 One Time Expenses Capital Improvements
  • $20,000 Equipment and Building Repairs
  • $230,000 Administrative Cost 

What are the economic benefits of our programs?

The Afterschool Alliance reported in March 2020 that every dollar invested in any out-of-school youth programming creates $3 in benefit by increasing children’s earning potential, improving performance at school, and reducing crime and juvenile delinquency. A 2015 report by Teachers College at Columbia University found that the types of social-emotional learning activities provided by MYPUSA’s youth programming create an $11 return on every $1 spent (Belfield et al, The Economic Value of Social and Emotional Learning 2015).

Most directly, expanded youth services will create 30 new jobs and will upgrade 10 existing jobs within MY Project USA. We will provide living-wage jobs with benefits that allow the staff members to be self-sufficient while training the next generation to find self-sufficient employment.

Our program also creates indirect economic benefits as well. Our youth empowerment programming takes youth that are on track to be a net cost to society – due to low earning potential, crime, and involvement with law enforcement and incarceration – and places them on track to be productive citizens. 

Need of Private Donations

Your donations help us continue this success and expand MYPUSA’s culturally competent academic, job preparation, and recreational services to up to 300 at-risk youths. It will support new and current jobs and other program expenses needed to support youth and families in various hotspots of crime, drugs, and gang activities in Columbus, Ohio.

we lack funding to currently make an impact. We want to offer services in new communities through a combination of site expansion, transportation to our current services, and embedding programs and staff in the locations of other community assets.

Your donations will help us pay livable wages to current employees and enable us to hire more.

We have plans to hire up to 20 full-time and 20 part-time employees. In just the first two months of 2022, we have added four seasoned professionals to our staff to move the organization forward. In addition to these four new hires, we plan to greatly expand the education team in particular, adding ESL specialists and putting together a team of dependable tutors to help our kids make great strides in their academic success. Without your continued support, we can meet these goals and hence cannot give competitive services to our youth and their families.  

Please donate now and also plan to attend our 8th Annual Ramadan Iftar Dinner & Fundraiser on April 10th. Your support is always needed and much appreciated. 

In solidarity with youth and families, 

Zerqa Abid, 

Founder & Executive Director, 

MY Project USA

Carl Holtman, Deputy Executive Director: Holtman will be assisting our Founder and Executive Director Zerqa Abid in growing current and launching new initiatives across the organization. Holtman obtained a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and Near Eastern Languages from Ohio State University and a Master's in Russian, East European, and Central Asian Studies from University of Wisconsin. He also has certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language. Like Abid, he brings experience in working abroad and in the USA to the organization. This is the first time in the seven-year history of the organization that we have hired a person for administrative jobs at this level.

Maryam Gula, Director of Workforce Development & Human Resources: Gula has a Master's in Public Administration from Wright State University. She will be overseeing the Career Counseling, MY Tailored Image, MY Pathway and other programs for the financial empowerment of our clients. She will also be making sure that all of our current employees, board members, and volunteer directors are well trained in their areas of service within our organization. In addition to departmental training, everyone is required to attend Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) training; Mandatory Abuse Reporter Training; Trauma; and Sexual Harassment Awareness training. 

Dr. Sharon Watkins, Educational Programming Consultant: Dr. Watkins obtained her Doctorate in Education Administration from Ohio State University, and she also has a background in Music Education, having received her bachelor's and master's from OSU and Capital University respectively. She has worked with the South-western City School District Career Center to develop online training programs for adults and has also served as a principal at North Woods Career Prep High School. She is helping us in developing a curriculum for after-school and summer programming.

Khadevis Robinson, Director of Recreation. Robinson is a two-time Olympian and seven-time USA national champion in the 800 meters. He is also currently the Head Cross Country Coach at Ohio State University. Khadevis holds a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from TCU and a master’s degree in Public Administration from Cal State Los Angeles. He has a passion for leadership and community service. He is working on expansion of the Hilltop Tigers to include a girls team as well as adding basketball to our offerings and other recreation opportunities.

Iftar Event Invite

8th Annual Interfaith Ramadan Interfaith Iftar Dinner 2022

Limited Seats - Register Online Now

This Ramadan, we will continue celebrating our village and the youth and their families that we have fostered together over the years. We will also be raising money to support our initiatives that have helped us in protecting and empowering our youth.

Please join us in person to celebrate our diversity, humanity, faiths and values that have built this amazing village of ours, by breaking the bread together and listening to phenomenal, inspiring speakers.
Seats are limited. Please make sure to register your seats now and share with your families and friends as well. We are looking forward to seeing you at the dinner.

'The Hilltop is suffering': Neighborhood advocates come together for youth

A group of Hilltop advocates have come together in the hopes of creating safe spaces for youth to gather and encouraging local young people to speak up about what they want and need.

Zerqa Abid, founder and executive director of MY Project USA, a Hilltop-based Muslim nonprofit group that works to empower youth, has been seeking more resources from the city, county and state for neighborhood youth for years — without much luck.

Councilmember Elizabeth Brown - Hilltop Youth Empowerment Center
Youth Programs

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MY Project USA
3275 Sullivant Ave | Columbus, Ohio  43204
614-905-0977 |

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