Frequently asked questions about KEI and its programs

1. Does KEI accept Zakaah donations?

We at KEI have various programs and all of them cater to needy individuals. Many of our scholars are orphans and all our scholars belong to families that have financial difficulties. Having said that KEI does not take a stance on religious matters and asks our donors to make the decisions based on their research and consultation with individuals that are experts in such fields. We can provide detailed information about our programs as and when needed in order to help you make that decision. If there are particular questions that we can provide information on that can enable a scholar of Islamic jurisprudence to help you decide, please feel free to reach out to us at information@kashmirei.org

2. Are my donations tax deductible?

KEI is an exempt charity organization under the 501(c)(3) act of the IRS. Your donations are fully exempt to the extent allowed by IRS under this code.

3.Even though I like the idea, I am scared of donating money because of post 9/11 apprehensions?

Will the FBI come after us? KEI is fully aware of the apprehensions post 9/11. While there cannot be any guarantees that KEI USA will never be contacted by any federal agencies under the new laws and regulations, KEI USA has taken extreme care and followed all the stipulations in letter and spirit. KEI USA is formally registered in the USA. KEI Kashmir is formally registered in India. KEI diligently maintains up to date records and we are current on all our filings.

4.Do you accept donations in kind?

KEI currently does not have the infrastructure to send any in-kind donations to Kashmir. However, if the donors can arrange getting the goods to Kashmir on their own, we will consider the in-kind contributions, currently limited to computers and educational materials only. Please contact us if you are interested in making in-kind contributions.

5.Will KEI take money from religious or political organizations?

KEI is not affiliated with any religious or political organization. However, KEI will welcome help and support from all entities and individuals as long as the help and support is unconditional and does not violate any law (including the US State and Federal Laws, International Laws, KEI Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws) or the core principles of KEI.

6.Do I donate the money in US or Kashmir?

KEI USA and KEI Kashmir are two legally independent entities working together with a shared vision. Both have their own separate financial accounting procedures. KEI Kashmir is the executional branch for projects sponsored by KEI USA. For such projects all lifetime decisions, starting from inception, are taken by KEI USA as required by US laws. KEI USA is governed by US federal and local laws and your donations are tax exempt within USA. KEI USA cannot accept any donations on behalf of KEI Kashmir and vice versa.

7.Will I get a receipt for my donations? I donated but did not receive mine.

We provide tax receipts to all our donors for them to claim it on their tax returns. We email or mail the tax receipts depending on whether we have the email or the postal address of the donor. However, sometimes the checks may not have your correct addresses. In case you have not received your receipt, please contact the KEI Tresurer at treasurer@kashmirei.org and we will be happy to resend it to you.

8.How can I donate?

We are glad that you are asking this question and we value your donations. You can write checks payable to Kashmir Education Initiative and mail them out to our US address. Donations can also be securely made online using all major credit cards, bank accounts or paypal accounts.

9.Why does KEI focus on Education?

KEI believes in the transformative and empowering nature of education. Access to quality education becomes difficult in a troubled region like Kashmir even as the need for it becomes ever more important.

10.Why Kashmir?

Kashmiri society in general and its educational institutions in particular have been severely affected by the violence in the region. This special humanitarian situation needs special attention. The people of KEI are associated with Kashmir either by virtue of being from that part of the world or by being sympathetic to the problems in Kashmir. All the members have extensive experience and knowledge of that area.

11.Who are the people managing the projects?. How can we trust them?

The teams in USA and Kashmir are comprised of individuals of high integrity and credibility. Further, they come with a wealth of experience in management and areas of expertise that are critical to the success of the program. You can check our profiles in our People page (Team & Vision menu). We have a sense of responsibility towards the community and a desire to make a difference. The organization is run in a completely transparent manner with operational and financial details open to the public.

12.What is the financial performance of KEI?

KEI has maintained excellent financial performance as measured by standard metrics like Fiscal Performance (ratio of revenue to expense), Program Service Expense (ratio of charitable program expenses to the overall expenses) and Fundraising efficiency (ratio of fundraising expense to total contributions). Since inception, KEI has maintained a fiscal performance value greater than 1 (BBB recommends > 1) and a fundraising efficiency less than 2% (BBB recommends < 35%). In addition, our program service expense ratio has been well above 90% (BBB recommends > 65%) and is projected to remain healthy over the next five years even as we expand our programs and services. These outstanding ratios indicate that KEI is a very efficient and reliable non-profit charity.

13.How will you maintain financial transparency in Kashmir? Who will maintain the books?

The organization in Kashmir that runs our projects (IMT) is required to maintain full financial books. These will be audited by an independent third-party, in addition to regular audits from local authorities. In addition, KEI USA will regularly review the financial books of our Kashmir counterpart per the governance framework. KEI follows a policy of full public disclosure and will have financial statements available for public.

14. Do you have memberships? Why or why not?

KEI USA does not have paid memberships at this stage. We elected for a simpler, easier organizational structure; A board of directors leads the organization and three of its members occupy executive positions, volunteers help run the projects and donors contribute resources.

15.What is the relationship between KEI USA and KEI Kashmir?

KEI USA and KEI Kashmir are two independent entities and are governed by their respective local and federal laws and regulations. Both organizations, however, share a common vision of promoting education in Kashmir. As such both organizations work closely on projects. However, none of the KEI Kashmir projects are currently funded by KEI USA.

16.Do KEI scholarships support religious education?

KEI does not offer scholarships specifically for religious education. Some KEI scholars might attend schools where some religious education is part of the curriculum - as is the case with many mainstream schools in Kashmir. In determining the beneficiaries of its projects, KEI does not discriminate on the basis of religion, gender, or political orientation.

17.What is your selection criteria for scholarships?

The scholarship selection criteria follow a very transparent and scientific approach. Each Scholarship program has its own selection criteria, the main criteria of selection are financial need and academic merit of a student.

18.What are the different scholarship programs ?

We currently have five scholarship projects. 

  1. High School Scholarship provides support to student in grades 9-12.
  2. Transitional Year Scholarship provides support to students preparing for professional Entrances
  3. Under Graduate Scholarship provides support to students in Professional under Graduate Degrees
  4. Post Graduate Scholarship provides support to students in Masters Degree
  5. Pre-Doctoral Scholarship provides examination and university application support for higher education (e.g. PhD) in US universities.
  6. We constantly add projects to our portfolio and plan to extend scholarships at various stages. Please check our "Our Programs" tab for more information.

19. I am going to Kashmir and want to volunteer my time? How can I do that?

Please complete the volunteer form after clicking "Get Involved" on the menu above. Let us know the dates and areas of interest. We will try to match you with appropriate projects and provide you with further information. KEI welcomes your support and help.

20.How can I help ?

We are glad that you are asking this question and we need all the help we can get. You can volunteer in various projects and areas of organizational functioning. Please fill out the volunteer form, after clicking "Get Involved" on the menu above, and tell us your interests - we will match you accordingly.

21.How many hours do you expect me to spend in a week?

The level of commitment depends on your availability. Once we hear from your about your interests and an approximate number of hours you are willing to commit, we will match you accordingly.

22.Are there any projects that you stopped or may stop in the future?

KEI reserves the right to make modifications to its portfolio, start new and stop existing projects as and when required within legal terms dictated by the federal US laws and laws of the State of Massachussets.

23.How do you start a new project?

Our directors, volunteers, donors and often beneficiaries propose a new project that they consider aligns with the vision and mission of KEI. The project is proposed using a project proposal template available on request to anyone. The project then goes through a transparent approval process which consists of a comments period, discussions and then a final vote by the Board.

If you have additional questions please feel free to email us at info@kashmirei.org