Billionaire owner of Chobani Yougurt is employing hundreds of refugees and has donated 10% of his wealth to his workers


Chobani Yogurt
Hamdi Ulukaya, founder of Chobani Greece Yoghurt, visits refugee facilities and volunteers in Hamburg, Germany

Hamdi Ulukaya is the founder and CEO of Chobani, the best-selling Greek-style Yogurt brand in America. Chobani was valued at over $1 billion in annual sales in less than five years after launch and became the biggest brand in the U.S. in 2011. Hamdi Ulukaya’s personal net-worth lies around $2 billion. But, the article is not about his contributions in the world of business. Instead, it highlights the numerous acts of Hamdi Ulukaya wherein he went out of his way to contribute to the society.

Chobani Yogurt
Hamdi Ulukaya, Founder & CEO of Chobani

Ulukaya is a Kurd from Turkey, a population that has historically been oppressed. So he always felt the fear, insecurity and trauma that other people, orphaned from their country, felt. He had come to America from Turkey in 1994 with the dream to learn English and ended up manufacture amazing yogurt. But, his primary dedication for the cause of the refugees has started since 2007, wherein he has employed more than 300 refugees from numerous nations in his various business operations. The company also hires translators to bridge communication between the numerous languages spoken there.

In 2015, Hamdi Ulukaya also signed the giving pledge, started by philanthropists Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, and has promised to donate at least half of his $2 billion dollar wealth during his lifetime. Recently, on April 26, 2016, Ulukaya announced to his employees that he would be giving them 10% of the shares in Chobani. Many refugees, who didn’t even have a roof to live a couple of years ago, will earn at least $150,000 by this move.
“The system for processing and resettling refugees is in dire need of change and that undertaking will require corporate America to step up”, Ulukaya said to CNN.

He believes that these people deserve a second chance; they have come to this country with hopes and dreams of prosperity, which their country couldn’t provide. Ulukaya wants to give a healthy, stable and a safe environment to these refugees. The owner of Chobani has challenged the stereotype that immigrants are a burden and danger to the American society. He has come up with an intelligent way to channelize their skills to benefit the economy of America and has created a path for the world to follow.

Ujjwala Sinha and Kritika Vidhyarthi | TOC

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