Unveiling the impact of strategic philanthropy: Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation empowerment efforts up by 40%

Dedicated to making a profound impact on the region’s philanthropic landscape, the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation, one of the largest philanthropic institutions, published its annual report for 2022. The unveiling of the report was held in collaboration with Capital Club Dubai, in the presence of H.E. Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi, President of American University of Sharjah and Founder and Chairperson of Kalimat Foundation, H.E. Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, Chairman of the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation, Sheikh Dr Majid Al Qassimi, Founding Partner of Soma Mater, and Dr. Sonia Ben Jaafar, the CEO of Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation.

A fireside chat between, H.E. Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi and H.E. Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair underlined the importance of strategic investment as a catalyst for creating meaningful impact. Their shared insights and personal experiences called for deeper engagement from the Next Generation of philanthropists to continue making a tangible difference in their respective communities.

H.E. Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi said: ‘Philanthropy is about so much more than funding – it’s about bringing together knowledge with financial resources and applying them to areas with proven needs. For the greatest, lasting impact, philanthropy should be data-driven, and not done in isolation. When donors combine their efforts, they can deliver meaningful change on some of the biggest challenges of our time, such as climate change and sustainability. My overriding message is ‘give with your head, not your heart’, because although a donor might feel an affinity with a certain issue, their money may well be put to far greater use in another domain altogether.’ 

H.E. Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, Chairman of the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation said, “I am honoured to have shared the stage with H.E. Sheikha Bodour reflecting on the potential of strategic philanthropy and discussing the possibilities of a UAE-inspired philanthropy framework that may be replicated beyond our borders. This important occasion also coincided with the release of the Foundation’s Annual Impact Report showcasing our unwavering commitment to results. Last year, the Foundation supported 26,000 young individuals to advance their career prospects. We have made significant strides, through our successful partnerships helping to prepare them for a highly digital, knowledge-based economy. The results captured in the report highlight the role of strategic philanthropy in this region, and I hope can serve as an example for the next generation of philanthropists.”

Underscoring the importance of participation of the business community, Mohamed Karmoui, General Manager, Capital Club Dubai stated, “At Capital Club, we recognize the indispensable role of the private sector and businesses in driving impactful philanthropy. As corporate citizens, businesses possess unique resources and expertise that can drive transformative change. Our business club members are keenly aware of the responsibilities that come with success. Today’s event has provided not only great encouragement and but also wider understanding on the core values and operational strategies needed for scalable impact.”

Dr Sonia Ben Jaafar, CEO of Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation, during her closing remarks officially launched the Foundation’s Annual Impact Report 2022, highlighting the outcomes of the foundation’s efforts in the last year.

In a 12-month sprint, the Foundation positively impacted the lives of 26,000 youth, marking a 40% surge from the previous year. This highlights the Foundation’s role in helping to unleash the power of Emirati and Arab youth through high-quality education and skill-enhancing opportunities. Thus far, the Foundation’s impact has reached an impressive 76,000 Emirati and Arab youth throughout the region.

The Foundation’s commitment to improving the lives of young people through a data-driven approach in the region also resulted in the launch of several tailored new programs in 2022, including – TechUp, Siraj, Project Hama, and Work Integrated Learning.

TechUp – Launched in partnership with Udacity, to train youth in diverse levels of in-demand digital skills, the program witnessed more than 7,300 Arab youth enrolled in the program, which included 84% Emiratis, 68% females, and 75% youth aged between 18 and 28. 

Siraj – In collaboration with CNN Arabic, Siraj aims to provide 300 Emirati and Arab youth with critical skills, strategic and creative thinking, and public speaking, to enhance their competitiveness and prepare them for the job market. 85 Emirati youth have now completed the program of which 58% are females.

Project Hama – launched in August under the leadership of the UAE Prime Minister’s Office, Project Hama focused on enhancing the career-readiness of Emirati female military recruits, by equipping them with professional and transferable skills necessary for employment in a variety of fields, including design, project management, and entrepreneurship. The program effectively conducted 5 workshops and trained more than 200 military recruits.

Work Integrated Learning – the Work-integrated learning program developed in collaboration with the University of Waterloo in Canada, focuses on capacity building, training, and resourcing, allowing students to develop skills for increased chances of employment. 

The Foundation also established the Al Ghurair Foundation Youth Advisory Council comprising of 14 Arab youth from diverse backgrounds last year. These impressive young leaders have been advising the Foundation, facilitating effective communication with stakeholders, supporting research projects, and representing the Foundation at national, regional, and international events. 

With online learning continuing to be the preferred option for students, Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation’s initiative, University Consortium for Quality Online Learning, launched in 2020 in collaboration with the UAE’s Ministry of Education and nine leading universities in the UAE, to design and develop high-quality and accredited online programs, has operated in full swing last year. In 2022 alone, the Foundation, with the help of the initiative, trained more than 100 educators and supported the universities to launch innovative courses that opened new learning opportunities for over 8,000 students. The Foundation also invested and dedicated more than 1,300 hours of professional development design sprints and workshops for Arab youth keen to upskill.