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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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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).

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Western media played a big role for Kobani

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“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.”

chobani

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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This article was first published at the below link and shared on the social media over 550K.

https://ergulentoprak.wordpress.com/2015/05/29/chobanis-founder-ulukaya-donates-700-million-to-refugees/

 

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About Ergulen Toprak

I am a reporter based in New York. I write stories for Turkish and Kurdish media. Most of my stories are features, interviews and opinions that related the Kurdish issue, Turkish politics, the Middle East, and international relations. After studying Journalism at The City University of New York, I am doing my master's in International Relations at CUNY. My articles are published in Turkish, Kurdish and English. https://myreportsny.wordpress.com/ Gazeteciliğe 2000 yılında başladım. Ankara ve İstanbul'da uzun yıllar çalıştım, Diyarbakır, Erbil'de de zaman zaman bulundum. Avrupa'da da çok sayıda konferans ve gezilere katıldım. 2011 yılından beridir New York'tayım. Daha çok siyaset ağırlıklı yazıyorum. Haberlerim üç dilde, Kürtçe, Türkçe ve İngilizce olarak yayinlaniyor. Bazı haberlerimi buradan takip edebilirsiniz. https://myreportsny.com/

Discussion

128 thoughts on “Chobani’s founder Ulukaya donates $700 million to refugees

  1. Mother thought Happiness sharing is were Hearty love lives

    Like

    Posted by Woodlams | September 6, 2015, 7:45 pm
  2. Thank you for being the person you are. My Mexican grandmother and mother were and are also givers. From now on, I will make sure to purchase your yogurt. I am trying to find out a reputable organization that I can donate to to support the refugees? Any suggestions?
    Rosa

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by Rosa Ruiz | September 6, 2015, 8:02 pm
  3. God bless you! You make the world better! Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by Denise Shehab | September 6, 2015, 8:34 pm
  4. I am so impressed. I have never eaten Choban…though I see it on the shelf. In honor of his action, I plan to try it.

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by kate | September 6, 2015, 8:37 pm
  5. I am very pleased this post came to my FB page. Chobani is my favorite yogurt, as well as my Granddaughter’s Maliyah’s favorite yogurt! I had no knowledge of the Company’s origin nor native Kurdish roots! Truly amazing taste and quality of yogurt flavors!

    We would love to have Mr. Ulukaya & Chobani Yogurt & Foods, as our Premier Sponsor, in our efforts to raise the Spiritual, educational, and social Consciousness of American youth! Specifically this of African-American Ancestry, and others who suffer from the hardships of repression, hopelessness, and racial & economic discrimination!

    We are a Registered Oregon Domestic Charity benefiting High School and College Youth Internships and STEM, Arts, Sports, and Life Science Scholarships.

    Please contact me and let us know of your interest in partnering with us. I will be happy to share additional information with you!

    You may reach me, directly, at (503) 910-1139 or via email address above.

    Best regards and looking forward to hearing from you soon ~ Aneesah Furqan-Peace
    Salem, Oregon; Las Vegas Nevada.
    Our current Client is Mr. Les ‘Pee Wee’ Harrison, world renowned Player with the Harlem Globe Trotters and Three Guys and A Ball, and A.P.P.L.A.U.S.E., Character Enrichment and Anti-bullying and Violence School Assembly Outreach Programs!

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by Aneesah Furqan-Peace | September 6, 2015, 8:38 pm
  6. You are a great example to everyone …. love how you gave 10% off the top (tithing) … and then so much of the overall profit …. Biblical principals that demonstrate … you can’t outgive God. He has blessed you richly!

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by Adena Fogarty | September 6, 2015, 8:54 pm
  7. THIS is what a SUPER HERO looks like! THIS is what SUPER HEROES DO! Let’s see how many so-called “celebrities” will follow his lead.

    Liked by 2 people

    Posted by Charlie Frazier | September 6, 2015, 9:44 pm
  8. I thank you for all your help to those who are helpless. I wish I could do as you have done. All l can do is pray and hope that everyone can have the blessings I have received by my immigrant parents.

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by elfriede | September 6, 2015, 9:53 pm
  9. I was just praying about the needs of your Kurdish people. The images I have seen are heartbreaking. Then I saw this message of FB and I wanted to cry for joy. Thank God for your kind and giving heart.

    Liked by 2 people

    Posted by Valerie | September 6, 2015, 10:01 pm
  10. Switzerland , Austria and Germany open their borders to take in the refugees while certain people make their own plans in the U.S. to build a 1,200 mile wall on her border to keep others out. Kind of makes you ashamed, doesn’t it? God will bless you for your humanity.

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by SNewman | September 6, 2015, 10:53 pm
    • There’s a difference between economic migration and refugees due to war and famine. Countries have to protect their borders and manage for economic migration. In time of extreme disaster, bringing in refugees is a given. By the way, the U.S.has contributed billions towards refugee resettlement. “Building the wall” is a a reflection of some people’s frustration of U.S. government not better controlling the economic illegal migration into the U.S.

      Like

      Posted by Sam | September 7, 2015, 2:17 pm
      • More accurately it’s a reflection of some people’s misplaced frustration. If the jobs weren’t there the illegal immigrants wouldn’t be coming to the U.S. to provide for their families. If you’d like less government, you should be angry at the business owners who are cheaply paying less than minimum wage to illegal employees.

        Liked by 1 person

        Posted by Art | September 7, 2015, 10:33 pm
    • Go back and read your first sentence. Those countries opened borders that they had in place to a specific group of people who are refugees. Its a lot different than what we’ve got happening on our southern border.

      Like

      Posted by Suzy | September 8, 2015, 12:23 am
  11. I’m very speechless. God bless you more and more, may almighty God shower you and your family with his grace. Please allow me to call you the savour

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by Sumiyah Salim Younes | September 6, 2015, 10:54 pm
  12. God bless Ulukaya!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by Kathleen | September 7, 2015, 12:01 am
  13. I am so happy for you and all the people you are helping. It is a Blessing for both you and them.
    I have been eating Chobani fat free yogurt for years. It’s the best tasting and best quality .
    Please continue making it just the way you do. Don’t change it. Cho bani Yogurt is perfect, it does not need improvement.

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by Iris Miller | September 7, 2015, 1:21 am
  14. Thank you Hamdi Ulukaya for your compassionate generosity ~ your story is humbling & inspirational ! Thankyou for joining the Giving Pledge, following the leadership path blazed by the amazing Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. How God has blessed you, and now you are helping to save the Kurdish people. Astounding Lifepath ~

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by suki | September 7, 2015, 3:03 am
  15. .
    I’m so overwhelmed by this news and touch my heart ,God bless you Sir,I live in Canada .i hope i can find your product in Canada ,from today Chobani is my favourite,Again God bless you

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by Fariba | September 7, 2015, 3:06 am
  16. May God Bless you and Keep you. May God turn His Face towards you and give you Peace. May everything you care about increase in Favor with Gid and with Man. I too, am now motivated to increase our giving to the people of conflict areas and the children of such, learn again the joy and innocence of being a child.

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by Mark ratley | September 7, 2015, 3:56 am
  17. May God bless you. It is this kind of selflessness that can begin to heal our world. I hope your donation will be used wisely and with love. Thankyou

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by Catherine | September 7, 2015, 4:24 am

  18. Please help Baby Maryam for her bone marrow transplant. Please add me on FB as my friend Jessica smith asked me to frien request you.

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by Michelle Nasiri | September 7, 2015, 4:33 am

  19. Please help us with baby Maryam a 3 year old girl from Afghanistan who has Major Thellasimia condition. The family doesn’t have the money for bone marrow transplant which will cost them $40,000 to take her to India for her to get successful bone marrow transplant. Thanks and God Bless. Please add me on FB my name is Michelle Nasiri.

    Like

    Posted by Michelle Nasiri | September 7, 2015, 4:48 am
  20. Awesome man.

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by Therese Hankel | September 7, 2015, 6:53 am
  21. I only hope that your intelligence and ability to help are matched by a strong follow up insuring that your valuable contibution is going where you intend it to and is not being siphoned off into the wrong pockets! Please keep on top of this for everyones good and THANKYOU!!

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by Donna hall | September 7, 2015, 8:35 am
  22. My ancestors came from Greece per my Aunt Rose…does that qualify me?? Sure would help!! You have a great big heart and your reward will be great I believe. Be blessed!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by Sarah | September 7, 2015, 12:53 pm
  23. Teshekerederim! The spelling may be wrong…but I hope you get my meaning. I am an upstate new yorker who lived in Turkey. I practice law for a living and work at giving as a way of life. I hope to meet you one day because I have an interest in your mission. Best of luck. Inshallah…you will succeed.

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by Roberta Williams | September 7, 2015, 4:11 pm
  24. May God bless you Hamdi Ulukaya ! You are a beautiful person !

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by Isabelle | September 7, 2015, 8:46 pm
  25. Actions speak louder than words and Mr Ulukaya, you have modelled true humanity, and shown us the true virtues of our higher selves. Your mother taught you well sir!
    May we all find the strength of character to act with charity, true love and integrity. Maybe one day we might obtain a better life for us all by following in the footsteps of this great man. 🙏🌟❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by Alison Stoecker | September 7, 2015, 9:42 pm
  26. What an incredible story of selflessness. If everyone had the same kind of caring for their fellow humans the world would be a much better place. Yes, this is a huge sum of money and he has the ability (through his hard work) to give that much but the real story is the appreciation for what he has and the knowledge that he can help someone else get closer to living a good life.

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by Art | September 7, 2015, 10:36 pm
  27. It’s heartening to see people with moral consciousness who put their resources to save others. Hope Kurdish refugees have some respite in these tough times.

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by Shilpa | September 7, 2015, 11:49 pm
  28. This extraordinary gesture will give rise to more creative thinking (constraints often do) but for starters, you could set up this initiative in Detroit, just north of downtown, which is literally abandoned. There are tons of empty houses, lots and storefronts that could be revitalized. Indeed on a smaller scale, two more communities that would benefit from an influx of hard working, enterprising people are Norwalk, CT and Providence, RI. Anyone who manages this type of difficult, heart-breaking journey all the way to the U.S. has to be an extraordinary person — like each of my grandparents.

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by Ellen | September 8, 2015, 2:33 pm
  29. ok, so he’s donating… sort of. He’s starting a new charity. I’d like to know how this charity will SPECIFICALLY help refugees.

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by hippygeekgirl | September 8, 2015, 3:50 pm
  30. God Bless you for such an amazing and phenomenal gift and service! This is what being human is really about. Wow, this gives me chills. Thank you, Mr. Ulukaya, thank you!!

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by KLL | September 8, 2015, 4:16 pm
  31. If there were more kind humans like yourself, our world would be a much nicer place. Blessing 🌷

    Like

    Posted by Danette | September 8, 2015, 7:06 pm
  32. 🙏🙏🙏👏👏👏
    An example to be followed by others!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by Maria de Sá Ferreira | September 9, 2015, 2:53 am
  33. My god bless you

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by Salhiya | September 11, 2015, 6:27 am
  34. To bad it couldn’t be to help our veterans

    Like

    Posted by Loretta | September 21, 2015, 9:01 pm
  35. What kind hearted spirits Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and Hamdi Ulukaya and so many other self made bizillionaire are to give so much. They’ve all given far more than just monetary funds. If each person gave one thing, whatever is within our abilities whether it be a monetary, time or a simple smile donation this world could be such amore beautiful place. A place where homelessness and hunger and, chance and hope exist.
    But Bristol Bay Wild Salmon and feed the world. Buy Green Mountain Coffee to ensure these coffee farmers get a livable wage, water and schooling for their children. Help them helps us all.

    Thank you all!

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by Biggie Smalls | October 6, 2015, 12:15 am
  36. Just hope someday mr.chobani goal and unmeasurable act will serve as inspiration to those people who are rich too.

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by Ian | October 8, 2015, 5:58 am
  37. I need your assistance sir hope that I am one of your beneficiary im always pray to our almighty father that I can find generous person who can extend their blessings .im always hoping thank you .God Bless you and your family always..

    Like

    Posted by Judith Tabulado Llemit | January 29, 2016, 8:22 am
  38. God bless you for your wonderful
    Heart and soul. The memory of your Mother will find no end. Blessings ,
    Sue Walton

    Like

    Posted by Sue walton | February 28, 2016, 1:54 am

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