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UAE businessman, philanthropist Al-Habtoor launches $500,000 children’s fund in Illinois

Khalaf Ahmad Al-Habtoor addresses a press conference in Springfield, Illinois on Feb. 8.
Khalaf Ahmad Al-Habtoor, a well-known businessman and philanthropist, has launched a children’s fund in Central Illinois. He said America needs to do more to address hunger and homelessness in the country. His comments came as US President Donald Trump took credit for a strong US economy and job growth in a speech in Ohio last week. Al-Habtoor said that the US government needs to do more to address the issue on US soil.
“President Donald Trump is giving himself credit for a strong economy but he needs to prioritize the lack of basic human rights for many Americans,” Al-Habtoor said. “The US homeless population increased for the first time since 2010 under the Trump administration. The US is the world’s biggest economy, where homelessness and poverty should not be an issue.”
The US Department of Housing and Urban Development acknowledged at the end of 2017 in its annual Point in Time count that there are 554,000 homeless people in the US. That is a one percent jump from the previous year, while the official poverty rate is around 12.7 percent according to data from the US Census Bureau. Separately, Feeding America states that more than 46 million people in American turn to them for food each year.
Al-Habtoor is in the US for the launch of the “Dr. Khalaf Al-Habtoor and Congressman Paul Findley’s Children Fund.” His $500,000 contribution, which has been 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 through his long-term relationship with retired US Congressman Paul Findley.
At a press conference attended by state and community leaders in Springfield, Illinois on Feb. 8, 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. With this thought in mind, I am very grateful and find much serenity through giving and sharing with the people and children of Central Illinois.”
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.”

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