Chobani’s founder Ulukaya donates $700 million to refugees

Hamdi Ulukaya
Chobani’s founder Hamdi Ulukaya

By Ergulen Toprak

New York

The founder of Chobani Hamdi Ulukaya will donate most of his wealth, at least 700 million dollars, to help the Kurdish refugees as well as refugees from all around the world.

With his statement on Thursday, Ulukaya announced that he is going to join the Giving Pledge, the funding system the riches donate half or their wealth, by building a new foundation called Tent. “I have always planned to give most of what I had. Growing up, I watched my mother give to those who needed and it came from the most amazing place in her heart,” Ulukaya said.

One of the biggest American companies Chobani, founded in 2005, started making Greek-style yogurt in 2007, in Upstate New York. Within his family’s farming background, Ulukaya used his experiences to create a great opportunity to build Chobani.

Ulukaya said what brought him to the USA was to learn English, but seeing the great opportunities in the USA made him stay here after school. “In 1994, I came to New York to study English and later became drawn to the idea that anyone can start something in America—all you needed was a dream and the willingness to take a risk,” Ulukaya said.


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Ulukaya visits Syrian refugees in Greece

Chobani’s founder gives $300 millions to employees

Leaving his home and making the USA his permanent country motivated Ulukaya to start Chobani. “I grew up in a Kurdish dairy-farming family in Eastern Turkey. Anatolia is a bridge between the East and the West and has a rich history that you see in the faces of its people. The hardworking, communal culture shaped me as a person,” he said. “The small farming towns in Upstate New York reminded me of Anatolia. The people, like the shepherds I grew up with, lived off the land and gave what they could.”

Ulukaya continued with what he learned from his family. He was able to do more with that experience. “After a few years, I took a loan from the Small Business Administration, bought an old yogurt plant and brought a small group of us together to make the real, wholesome yogurt of my childhood,” he said. “We called the company Chobani, ‘shepherd’ in Turkish, to put the hardworking, giving spirit of farmers into the heart of the company.”

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Chobani was a small factory located in Upstate New York and then lead Ulukaya to be one of the richest people in America. According to the Bloomberg Billionaires List of 2014, Ulukaya’s personal wealth is over 1.4 billion dollars.

In 2014, Ulukaya was invited to the White House and called a member of the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship (PAGE).

Suggested Article:

Western media played a big role for Kobani


“From the start, I wanted Chobani to be committed to making better food for more people—and to stand for something even bigger than the natural food we made,” Ulukaya said. “Since day one, we have given 10% of our profits to charity through the Chobani Foundation and stayed true to our mission to make food the right way, and make it available to all. Building Chobani, I found that the real power of entrepreneurship was the impact you can have on communities. Ultimately, Chobani’s journey proved that if you have the right mindset, the sky is the limit.”


Remembering his real story is what encourages him to get involved with a new donation organization, Ulukaya says. Knowing his own people who are being attacked by the ISIS, in the city of Kobani located in northern Syria, and Iraq, in need of everything after they had to flee from their home, Shepherd’s Gift Foundation of Chobani donated 2 million dollars for them through United Nation, UNHCR, in 2014.

After building the Tent, Ulukaya is willing to donate half his wealth, over 700 million dollars to buıld a new charity organization for the refugees in Kurdistan as well as all around the world.


Related articles published in Turkish:

Clinton sordu Ulukaya cevapladı: Mültecileri yüzüstü bırakırsak çocuklarımızın yüzüne bakamayız

ABD’li Kürt milyarderden jest!

“Today, I dedicate my signing of the Giving Pledge to my mother and I am publicly committing the majority of my personal wealth—along with everything else I can do—to help refugees and help bring an end to this humanitarian crisis.”

song oof my mother (4)

“My story, like so many others, is only possible in America. The magic and power of the American dream is something I believe should be available to everyone—and is part of my hope for a modern Turkey and for entrepreneurs around the word,” Ulukaya said. “In the decade since I started Chobani, dramatic changes have occurred around the world. One result has been a shocking increase in the number of people made homeless by the conflict. Today, more than 50 million people—most of them women and children—are living as refugees or displaced people, robbed of life’s opportunities by war, persecution, and natural disasters.”

Ulukaya follows Bill Gates and others who have started the Giving Pledge. “I believe that as people who have been blessed with opportunity in our own lives we must give hope to others,” he said. “I thank Bill Gates and Warren Buffett for providing the inspiration for this important commitment and hope that my commitment to the Giving Pledge will in turn inspire others to do the same.”

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128 Comments Add yours

    1. Yeah buyuk adam bu adamin elini operim<3
      Biji long live my kurdish heto brother Mr Ulukaya gid yoyd great heart snx HumenityGid bless you and Snerica fir making richman line yoy and god bless yoyf mome gid. GreAt milk she give you,
      While mang oc pud ruch giys dtolen ftkm ouf duffe people yoh sef a great example of great humenity anx histo eill remember all gif their doings,
      Yoy are a true man tobe the President of united Kurdistan<3

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Miichelle M says:

      Give back to the country that helped you and made it available for your wealth, yet our own are suffering at the hands of refugees drowning our resources!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Cannot believe you find fault with this compassionate human being. How much do you give to charity!

        Liked by 1 person

    3. lightsis says:

      Wonderful! Just ONE-derful Kudos to this man! I would like to find a way to contact him and offer my personal blessings and offer to help.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Alison says:

    What a BEAUTIFUL CARING MAN.. If we had more people like you .The world would be a better place.. Thank you for caring.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Auntie Ei says:

      Couldn’t agree more.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Linda says:

    What a shining example. I take my hat off to him. The refugees arriving daily in Turkey are in such a dreadful situation. I wish the fat cat politicians in the UK would take a spoonful of the generosity this gentleman has in his heart.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Ana L. Meza says:

    If only more of the wealthy were like you Dear Sir! I am very moved & impressed by your initiative…Kudos to your Lovely Mother who taught you well! Many Blessings to you and your Family!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Mary says:

      Very well said.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Belinda says:

    You are an Angel walking on Earth.
    May you be Blessed for your generosity.
    While so many governments sit ideally by & do nothing to help all the refugees
    fleeing for their lives.
    May your donations go right to the people that need it & not corrupt
    organizations that keep most of the money for administration costs. Like
    what happened for the Haitian people
    after America raised millions, yet the
    people still living in poverty.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Zenia says:


    Thank you for what you are planning to do for refugees. People like you with a good heart are blessed and I am sure they will rejoice with hope. If there is any way at all you could also help my son, who works very hard every day to realize his dreams, it would also be appreciated. I am deaf and unable to just pick up the phone to call people, so when I saw this article on you and your deeds, I had to ask. Not for myself, but for my child. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This has really been laying heavy on my heart.These are. Human Beings.I THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART..GOD WILL BLESS YOU SIR..DEEPEST HEARTFELT REGARDS, SUE A . MULLIS

    Liked by 1 person

  7. absolsutely wonderful SIR. only people with therir heart on the right place would do this….thanks on behalf of these people who are suffering….me. from half arount the world….

    Liked by 1 person

  8. McCue Sharon says:

    I promise to only buy Chobani!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Maha Raman says:

      Before I became vegan, I only bought Chobani…The best Greek Yogurt out there !!!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Chris Z says:

    Watching the horror of these people struggling to have a peaceful life and turned away from every port to seeing the most amazing kindness of this beautiful soul my tears of sadness have turned to tears of hope. That maybe by being the change we want the world to be our world could be everything it should be and more, ty chobani for leading by example 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Moodiroo says:

    Thank you for carrying your mother’s legacy of giving. I know she is so proud. Thank you for responding to the suffering of the many. My family and I will be buying only Chobani yogurt.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Tony Spagnoli says:

    Here is a man who put his money where his mouth is! He is helping those in need. Thanks to the generosity of Ulukaya and others, refugees around the world can be helped!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Judi says:

    A man with a big heart…..someone who didn’t forget his roots
    A rare gem!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Ajay Kumar Chhetri says:

    There is person like you in this world therefore this world still survive. God bless you.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Hope for humanity, we all need it in today’s world.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Thank you. The world seems such a dark place right now. I am glad to read such a wonderful story of a generous man.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Julia says:

    Reblogged this on After The Wedding.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Kathleen says:

    How encouraging to read of others coming here and finding success and moreso to share it with those in need. I too have had this as a staple for when my business become a success enough to make a difference, planted by my mother also. You are blessed more when being a blessing to others.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Natasha says:

    thank you!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Natasha says:

    thank you so much for caring, setting an example and doing your part !

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Tammy Beswick says:

    This is such a wonderful and kind things to do,i hope they can get control over all the violence in the world.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Terri Jansen says:

    I’ve been praying someone would help….you are an angel on earth. Thank you for your heartfelt gesture! This will help so many!!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Jill Treadway says:

    Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. ljdoss says:

    Thank you for your giving and caring heart.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Jeff says:

    I wish if possible to arrange cruise line to help Syrian refugees to safely leave the country to Europe. As you all can see dead human bodies floating on the water of Syrian people . Very sad situation as I saw toddler dead body at the Turkish shore area. I cryied for few days couldn’t sleep well thinking about these Syrian people.

    If you can help make the difference in this world then Please do so and that will help you to be more closer with God. Your contribution of your wealth is well appreciated.



    Liked by 1 person

  25. From upstate New York, about an hour from your plant, Mr. Ulukaya, what blessings you are bestowing on the refugees beyond your own–and what blessings and honor you are bestowing on the upstate New York region! Seems like the Binghamton Press should be doing another story on you because this kind of initiative deserves massive recognition!

    There is a saying in Sanskrit: Vasudhaiva kutumbakam, “the whole world is a family.” You have proven it!

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Giannina Lema-Hart says:

    THANK YOU!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  27. I am writing because as the Mother of my two children, who are of half Middle Eastern descent, and a Christian minority there, (Their Father is Assyrian.) I am so very moved by this founder’s decision to fund the Giving Pledge, and begin Tent. In a world where those with means so seldom do the right thing, it brings me to absolute tears to see such love and caring coming from a man that has surpassed his humble beginnings.

    Mr. Hamdi Ulukaya never forgot what it means to be a good human being. I will NEVER buy any yogurt product other than CHOBANI. This company has earned my respect as another good human being, and I’m proud to give them my family’s business. My children will know why we buy from them, and I hope very much they take that lesson of humanity, and kindness with them to their children as well. God Bless them!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Jesse says:

    That’s great that he’s helping humans but at the expense of cow slave labor. Bear in mind that these cows are being put into slavery mode to satiate the greedy needs of human beings. Milking cows are pregnant year-round which is rape, their children taken away from them, males slaughtered immediately, and the cows are given antibiotics and pesticides, The constant pregnancies causes their udders to become infected, they’re simply miserable.

    There’s no way that there’s anything natural about it because it’s sweetened with processed sugar, the yogurt has sugar isn’t naturally sweetened with fruit, and where is the vegan option??? Which is the only option there should be so that we don’t have cow slavery and murder.

    It’s not the right of a human being to put cows into slavery and then murder them later after they have given all their milk and then have them turned into food.

    Keep in mind all his money is coming from the very well hidden plague upon the planet.. The dairy industry. A disgrace.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Geraldine says:

      This donation and the spirit of preserving his childhood story and food reminds me of my father’s generosity. If my father had achieved a similar fortune I know he too would be making similar gestures. This story is an example of the importance of hard work, preserving political freedom and protecting human rights and preserving family history. Bravo.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Seriously? Mind sets like this make it embarrassing to be a human!

      Liked by 1 person

  29. I suggest that we start collecting money to establish a nonprofit organization right away.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. You are a true inspiration to us all. I greatly admire your beautiful heart and soul, and your devotion to your mother and helping humanity. God bless you…
    Your friend in service and giving, Alisha Killebrew

    Liked by 1 person

  31. MARY says:

    To the critique of the dairy industry: It does not detract from the purity and magnitude of this man’s gesture.. Your approach is also laudable, to help reduce the suffering in the dairy industry.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. She mun says:

    God surly still in blessings and I ask our Jehovah God to pour out blessings upon this man and all who do for the people of God , The Lord word say giving and I shall give pressed down shaking together running over , your barns shall not have enough room to contain amen

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Mary Brann says:

    What a wonderful example of Love you are. Bravo!!! You are an angel on earth.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. renplus says:

    Reblogged this on renplus and commented:
    This is what America should be: A place wehere, having found success, a person lifts others up so that they may be able to find their own success.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Susan Gallagher says:

    Thank you for your dedication to help the desperate refugees. Watching their struggles to reach safety and help, has been painful for many people to watch. After years of living in fear for their lives, not knowing what the future will bring. There is a ray of hope for their rebirth in a safe haven.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Sandra Wise says:

    Congratulatins !! Wonderful story!!!
    As you say … Only in America … Is True!!! You are a such a very nice person with a big big heart and a grat mind!!! Hope I could go snd live in USA some day!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Jean says:

    Thank you! Namaste

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Joanne says:

    Only yogurt I’ll buy from now on!!

    Liked by 1 person

  39. amy says:

    We have bought their greek yogurt for years. So awesome to hear a man of such wonderful character is behind the brand!

    Liked by 1 person

  40. Pema says:

    This story moved me to tears. God bless you! Thank you so much for this amazing act of kindness and compassion.

    Liked by 1 person

  41. jason says:

    And the United States does nothing per usual….
    It doesn’t benefit the Republicans or Democrats.

    Liked by 1 person

  42. Beth says:

    Please proof read and correct. I can guess what this means, but it would be nice to be sure…

    “…join the Giving Pledge, the funding system the riches donate half or their wealth…”

    Liked by 1 person

  43. Good News Network would love to feature this report on the World or Business News pages. Can you give us permission to reprint, with attribution and links to your blog?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Please email me if you can grant us permission! (You have the email address from the comment submission)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sure!

        I would be very happy to read my article on your website.

        Can you please email me?

        I also replied you on twitter.




  44. Barbara Jones says:

    Bless you, and thank you for your generous gift for those that need it so baldly, you are the answer of a lot of prayers for these unfortunate people…LOVE

    Liked by 2 people

  45. Woodlams says:

    Mother Happiness is were Hearty love lives

    Liked by 1 person

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