In 1998, the I.L.M. Foundation was founded by one of the most respected leaders in America. That leader was Imam Saadiq Saafir with co-founders Naim. Shah Jr. and Hanafi Shakur. The I.L.M. Foundation was a product of Imam’s study of socioeconomic development, which motivated us to address social problems that plagued our community. Some of the first ILM donors were Dolores Daaimah Jardan Stokes and Taswiyah Mutazz, who also managed ILM’s first monthly food program.

Our foundation’s culture encourages working with humanity for good causes regardless of race, religion, status, or color. I.L.M. is an acronym for intellect, love, and mercy. The globe in I.L.M.’s logo highlights how these are boundless universal principles. Our core values are faith, knowledge, sincerity, collaboration, and service. We provide direct services, leadership training, and sustainable projects.

I.L.M. began as a bookstore-style coffee shop in the heart of Los Angeles. In the year of its opening, ILM coordinated a historic event called the International Day of the Family held at the Los Angeles Sports Arena where over 10,000 Los Angeles residents attended from diverse backgrounds. The City of Los Angeles awarded I.L.M. for this event. This event was followed by a fast track of activism through hosting classes, interfaith gatherings, workshops, homeless feedings, toy drives, sports camps, college tours, and eventually a conference at the LA Convention Center.

Before Humanitarian Day, I.L.M. and Dawah 2000 (founded by Naim Shah Sr.) were frequently feeding the homeless in the Downtown Los Angeles area and had hosted two successful Skidrow Ramadan Feedings. After the tragedy of September 11, 2001, the Muslim community received unprecedented backlash. Much of the community’s activism at that time was directed overseas often overlooking the needs within the local community. Imam Saadiq was asked what was the best way to respond to the backlash Muslims were receiving after 9/11? He responded that we should put our faith into action. That action became “Humanitarian Day”. Humanitarian Day was established in Ramadan because of the tremendous success I.L.M. and Dawah 2000 experienced years prior. Those feedings paved the way for Humanitarian Day.

Humanitarian Day expanded the scope of I.L.M.’s previous Ramadan feedings to include a long list of daily essential items and health screening services. The volunteer base increased from a few organizations in Los Angeles to over 20 all over Southern California. Nothing like this had ever been coordinated prior. The Coalition to Preserve Human Dignity TM  (CPHD) consists of volunteers, sponsors, and institutions organized to support Humanitarian Day. It permits all the participants to share a common identity under one title. Some of the early participants included Masjid Ibaadillah, UMMA Clinic, Dawah 2000, Harmony Bites, Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation, Islamic Center of Southern California, Islamic Society of Orange County, OG N Service, Islamic Center of Irvine, Hearts of Mercy, Orange County Islamic Foundation, Islamic Relief, and others. The aim of Humanitarian Day is to convert one day into a life mission.