Fund established in honor of Dearborn family killed in drunk driving crash

A endowed fund to support projects within Arab-American communities, as well as in other communities, was announced last week in honor of the Abbas family, a local family killed in a drunk driving crash earlier this year.

The Abbas Family Red Wagon Fund, housed at the Center for Arab American Philanthropy, was announced during the 48th ACCESS Annual Dinner in Downtown Detroit on Thursday night.

42-year-old Issam Abbas, and Issam's wife, 38-year-old Rima Abbas, along with their three children were killed on Jan. 6, in a crash on I-75 in Lexington, Kentucky. The couple and their children -- 14-year-old Ali Abbas, 13-year-old Isabella Abbas and 7-year-old Giselle Abbas -- were headed home from a vacation in Florida.

The family lived in Northville, Mich., but had deep ties to the city of Dearborn.

About the fund

The Abbas Family Red Wagon Fund was established to honor the memory of Issam and Dr. Rima Abbas, and their three children Ali, Isabella and Giselle, who were killed when a drunk driver struck their vehicle in the early morning of January 6, 2019. The Fund aims to forever carry out the Abbas family’s remarkable legacy of generosity and community support and is spurred by the family’s annual tradition of spreading holiday cheer through small acts of kindness.

For years each Christmas, with their parents steps behind, Ali, Isabella and Giselle pulled a red wagon full of presents stopping at dozens of homes in their neighborhood. Each year, the list of stops grew, as did the Abbas family’s commitment to bringing joy to their neighbors.  While this tradition is only one example of the ways this remarkable family devoted themselves to giving back, it speaks to their belief that societal change comes through generosity.  Asked about this tradition, Issam once wrote “It’s nice to see how a simple gesture breaks down barriers.”

How to give

Join in honoring the life and legacy of Issam and Dr. Rima Abbas and their children Ali, Isabella and Giselle. Donate online or make checks out to CAAP with “The Abbas Family Red Wagon Fund” in the memo and mail to: CAAP, 2651 Saulino Court, Dearborn, MI 48120. 

About the Author:

Ken Haddad is the digital content and audience manager for WDIV / He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013. He enjoys suffering through Lions games on Sundays in the fall.