Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor has long put others needs first. On a recent visit to the United States, the wellknown philanthropist dug deep into his pockets, launching a $500,000 children’s fund in Central Illinois to honour his long-term friendship with former US Congressman, the Hon. Paul Findley. Joanna Andrews travelled to Illinois to witness the launch of the Dr Khalaf Al Habtoor and Congressman Paul Findley’s Children Fund.
On a cold day in early February in Amercia’s MidWest, Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor warmed the hearts of everyone as he launched a$500,000 children’s fund in Central Illinois. He donned his fur hat and warm coat to take a guided tour of the Central Illinois Foodbank’s headquarters in Springfield, Illinois where he was taken to the main facilities that serve more than107,000 people in the region. Al Habtoor also visited one of the Central Illinois Foodbank’s soup kitchens where he served and met people directly benefiting from one of its many initiatives.
The ‘Dr Khalaf Al Habtoor and Congressman Paul Findley’s Children Fund’ was officially inaugurated at a press conference attended by state and community leaders in Springfield, Illinois on Thursday 8 February 2018.
Al Habtoor said, “I believe that philanthropy should be independent of race, religion and geography. When God gives you something, you have to give part of it to people in need without differentiation.You have to help everyone. The three main religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – teach us that. All people have the right to live a decent life.”
He also thanked the Central Illinois Food Bank for its support.
“The Central Illinois Food Bank is doing a great job in supporting this very worthwhile cause. I commend them for the dedication and commitment to making the world a better place. They have been working tirelessly since 1982 to fight hunger within their community, and their efforts are making a significant impact on society.”
The $500,000 contribution, which was awarded to the Central Illinois Foodbank in Springfield, will be used to establish an endowment to fund programs that provide food to people in need throughout the foodbank’s 21 counties. Al Habtoor learned of the Central Illinois Foodbank and its outstanding performance in providing for the needs of the hungry, and specifically the needs of hungry children, through his long-term friendship with retired US Congressman, Hon. Paul Findley.
Al Habtoor said, “I am delighted to launch the Children’s Fund in my name and Congressman Paul Findley’s name. We have been friends for a long time and have fought many good causes together. But this is the first time we announce something in both our names. We may come from different parts of the world but our belief in helping humanity is the same.”
He added, “I am deeply grateful to Congressman Paul Findley for his vision and the commitments he has made as a tireless public servant in retirement. I would also like to thank the Central Illinois Foodbank for its diligent pursuit of its mission to serve those in need of food and develop creative solutions to end hunger.”
Al Habtoor said, “The people of this region are very fortunate to be served by an organization that is nationally recognized for innovation, efficient operations, controlling costs and management of revenues and donations to ensure that every available dollar is spent on providing food for the hungry.” Al Habtoor said. “That is why we are so confident that the ‘Dr. Khalaf Al Habtoor and Congressman
Paul Findley’s Children Fund,’ established through our gift will make a meaningful difference for the children in your cities, smaller communities and rural areas who are hungry.”
Craig Findley, the son of Paul Findley, said it is hard to comprehend the depth of hunger’s presence in the heart of central Illinois. “From Quincy in the west to Effingham in the southeast, there are 35,000 children who are food insecure,” he said. “These are kids who literally don’t know where their next meal will come from. Through his career as a United States Congressman, my father is very proud to have worked with respected leaders and respected organizations to confront difficult, yet critical problems like childhood hunger. Quite clearly, Chairman Dr. Khalaf Al Habtoor is one of those respected leaders.”
Central Illinois Foodbank Executive Director Pam Molitoris said “children have always been a mission-based focus for the Foodbank. In 2017, the Foodbank conducted 90 Healthy Food Distribution events in under-served urban and rural areas throughout the 21-county service region.”
“Revenues earned from the fund, in time, will feed nearly 4,000 children annually through The Dr. Khalaf Al Habtoor and Congressman Paul Findley’s Children Fund,” she added.