Providing Diverse + Creative Solutions: Bilal ibn Rabah Scholarship

November 15, 2020Education, Impact Stories

Hadeel Abdallah, a University of Kentucky Rhodes Scholar from Lexington, wanted to create a scholarship for students of diverse and underrepresented backgrounds. Working with UK Philanthropy, she created the Bilal ibn Rabah Scholarship, which rewards deserving UK students who have overcome adversity and want to fight for justice and equality.

Getting the Bilal ibn Rabah Scholarship endowment off the ground would take a partnership of university administration, government officials, members of the Muslim community, and Blue Grass Community Foundation.

The scholarship is not limited to Muslim students, but much of the generous support for the scholarship fund has come from the Muslim community, and as such, the fund needed a Halal-compliant option for endowed investments.

That’s where BGCF came in, with the ability to offer an investment strategy in the Amana Mutual Funds, which adheres to the tenets of the Muslim faith. The Amana Funds investment portfolio focuses on economically and socially responsible organizations with a history of financial security. And, Amana conducts screenings to eliminate investments in high debt companies, interest-based investments, and companies that do not follow Islamic principles.

“We value the collaborative partnership with Blue Grass Community Foundation and the shared vision of supporting the community and deserving students who want to attend UK,” said Don Witt, assistant vice president for philanthropy at UK.

The scholarship has received more than 200 contributions, growing the endowment to over $100,000.

“Donating to the Bilal ibn Rabah Scholarship Fund is a wonderful way to help pave a path and change a student’s life while giving back to your community,” said Hadeel. Her journey with BGCF scholarship funds has now come full circle—she was a 2015 recipient of the CLARK Scholars Scholarship at BGCF.

The Bilal ibn Rabah Scholarship has helped to bring awareness, understanding and a cultural shift on UK’s campus and in the Lexington community. There has never been a more critical time for people of diverse backgrounds to come together and do good.

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For inquiries about the Bilal Scholarship Program, please email Don Witt at