Joining other billionaires such as Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Branson and Sara Blakely, Chobani founder Hamdi Ulukaya has agreed to give away at least half of his fortune to philanthropic causes. Ulukaya has an estimated fortune of more than $1.4 billion.
The 43-year-old, who founded the yogurt giant in 2007, is making the commitment as part of The Giving Pledge — a non-binding agreement created by Warren Buffett and Bill Gates that encourages the wealthiest to give away a majority of their fortunes to help others.
In a draft of a letter obtained by the Associated Press, Ulukaya says that he was inspired to give back by watching his mother "give to those who needed it." He added that it has been his intention all along to donate most of what he had; a move he put in motion early with the company's agreement to donate 10 percent of all profits.
"We give back to local organizations and go further to donate our time and resources to events like food drives, local 5K races, YMCA events, and more," Ulukaya said in a 2013 interview. "It’s a blessing to see the communities around us continue to grow and thrive as we do. To me, that makes everything worth it."
Ulukaya plans on focusing a majority of his giving towards assisting refugees fleeing violence around the world, a move already in motion thanks to his new foundation called TENT. The early website for the org describes it as a working to "enable direct aid, effect policy changes, compel awareness and implement strategies for over 50 million forcibly displaced people worldwide."
Last year, Ulukaya donated $2 million in humanitarian aid to refugees fleeing to Turkey from conflicts in Iraq and Syria.
“Hopefully we can…get people to start talking and get some treatment there,” he told the Wall Street Journal, which is something that “we do in the long-term for these people to overcome this tragedy and bring them back to life.”
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