Leading UAE businessman Abdullah Ahmed Al Ghurair has donated a third of his assets to educational foundation as part of a charity drive, he said on Tuesday.
Ghurair is the father of billionaire Abdulaziz Al Ghurair, chief executive of Dubai-based Mashreq bank, one of the emirate’s biggest lenders.
According to Forbes data released in March 2015, Abdulla Ahmad Al Ghurair & Family tops the UAE list of UAE billionaires with wealth estimated at $6.4bn (Dh23.5bn), a massive improvement over the $4.8bn (Dh17.61bn) they commanded last year.
Globally, he was ranked at #220 (#305 in 2014).
“Abdulla Al Ghurair and his billionaire brother, Saif, are scions of a prominent UAE business family. In 1967 Abdulla founded Mashreqbank, now one of the country’s leading banks. He remains chairman and his son Abdul Aziz is CEO,” says his profile in the Forbes listing.
Abdullah Ahmad Al Ghurair, whose business interests including banking, food, construction and real estate, unveiled the Abdullah Al Ghurair Education Foundation, a philanthropic institution dedicated to the advancement of young men and women in the UAE and the Arab World.
The foundation will initially aim to spend Dh4.2 billion ($1.1 billion) over the next 10 years on educating underprivileged UAE and Arab youths, Ghurair told a news conference.
The Foundation will invest in programmes that improve the quality of education at the primary and secondary levels while also helping a minimum of 15,000 promising Arab youth from underprivileged backgrounds pursue quality higher education.
A legally registered entity, the Foundation owns one third of the assets of the Abdullah Ahmad Al Ghurair group of companies, including all revenues and profits. The Foundation’s board of trustees is chaired by AbdulAziz Al Ghurair; Abdullah Ahmad Al Ghurair’s son.
The Foundation will award grants based on a highly competitive process.
It will work in partnership with the best education institutions in the region and the world. It will also promote academic subjects that address the needs of the local and global economy and the priorities of nation building. Grants for higher education will be made through a clear and transparent process and awarded based on merit to Emirati and Arab youth in need of financial assistance.
“Education is the cornerstone of prosperous, progressive and inclusive societies, and essential for the sustainable development of our nation and the empowerment of our future leaders,” said Abdullah Al Ahmad Ghurair.
Abdullah Al Ghurair Education Foundation will target UAE nationals and Arab citizens living in the UAE before expanding to include Arab youth across the Arab World.
Promoting access to education in the UAE’s more remote communities, Abdullah Ahmad Al Ghurair established the country’s first boarding school in Masafi in 1964.