Hamdi Ulukaya, Founder and CEO of Chobani, pledges $2 million for Iraqi and Syrian refugees

Pledge marks one of the largest personal contributions to alleviate suffering of refugees fleeing violence in the region

Initial funds to go to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and International Rescue Committee (IRC)


NEW YORK, Oct. 9, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Hamdi Ulukaya, Founder and CEO of Chobani, today made a personal pledge of $2 million to address the urgent and critical needs of refugees escaping violence along the Iraqi and Syrian borders of Turkey.

Ulukaya is making initial donations to the UNHCR and IRC, which both have longstanding, large-scale humanitarian relief operations in the region. In addition to this support, Ulukaya plans to identify other innovative nongovernmental organizations and support their on-the-ground relief work, including long-term recovery and economic stabilization efforts. Hundreds of thousands of men, women and children who are fleeing violence in Syria and Iraq are in urgent need of relief, particularly winter supplies. The most vulnerable people must be given access to relief services without delay.

"We all have a moral responsibility to help innocent victims of violence, wherever they are and however we can," said Hamdi Ulukaya, Founder and CEO of Chobani. "These refugees have seen the darkest side of humanity and we must open our hearts as they look to rebuild their lives." Ulukaya added: "As a citizen of the world, I believe we must unite together to bring awareness, attention and relief for victims of human tragedy."

Said David Milliband, president and CEO of the IRC, "At a time of immense humanitarian catastrophe around the globe, this contribution will provide relief for tens of thousands of people fleeing violence. The IRC helps civilians in need, no matter their race or creed, and with donors like Hamdi, we can help preserve dignity and life for those in great need."

Anne-Marie Grey, Chief Executive Officer of USA for UNHCR stated that, "Private philanthropists like Hamdi Ulukaya provide leadership to one of the most critical issues facing humanity today. His gift will bring desperately needed supplies for thousands of refugees immediately. We stand ready to work with him and others in bringing hope and dignity to the world humanitarian crises."

Hamdi Ulukaya is a Kurdish Turk who immigrated to the United States in the 1990s and in 2007 founded Chobani, which quickly grew to become America's No.1-selling Greek yogurt brand.

About Hamdi Ulukaya

Hamdi Ulukaya founded Chobani in upstate New York in 2005 and launched the product in 2007. In just five years, Chobani became the No.1-selling Greek Yogurt brand in the U.S. with more than a billion dollars in annual sales – making Chobani one of the fastest-growing companies in recent history. Hamdi's commitment to making a simple cup of good yogurt – accessible to all, has transformed the U.S. yogurt category. Hamdi is a member of the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship (PAGE), and has been recognized with the 2013 Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur of the Year Award and Small Business Association's Entrepreneurial Success Award, among others.

Michael Gonda

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SOURCE Hamdi Ulukaya; International Rescue Committee; USA for UNHCR

Oct 9 2014
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