Important Year-End Contribution Dates

- Checks sent via the US Postal Service must be postmarked on or before December 31, 2014.

- Checks sent via FedEx or any other courier service must be physically received at TPF office on or before December 31, 2014.

- Gifts of appreciated securities should be made by Monday, December 29, 2014. Please notify us in advance of these gifts to ensure a smooth transfer.

- Gifts of wire transfers should be also made by Monday, December 29, 2014. Wire transfer instructions are attached.

- Credit cards gifts should be made by Monday, December 29, 2014 to ensure timely posting by the credit card company.

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Turkey
You’ve travelled to Turkey, eaten the local cuisine, danced at the open air nightclubs, made new friends, indulged in the local drink and chatted with the shopkeepers at the bazar. So now you can say you know Turkey? Or do you?

As the largest country in Europe, Turkey’s social landscape vastly varies from east to west. It is a nation deep with culture, traditions and values, which carry over into gender roles. Although, one doesn’t have to travel all the way to the Iranian border to see this disparity, even within Istanbul, individuals with more traditional values are becoming more prevalent. The latest Gender Gap Index report from the World Economic Forum reveals just how widespread the gap is between men and women.

1) Turkey’s Gender Roles Rank Worst in the Region
Turkey holds last place among European nations in regards to gender equality. Rising four spots on a global scale since 2012, it still has not been able to pull itself from the bottom among its neighbors in Europe. You can find an interactive version of the map here. This ranking is decided by four indexes, Economic Participation and Opportunity, Educational Attainment, Health and Survival and Political Empowerment.

2) Just One Third of Women Have a Bank Account
Independence comes hand in hand with financial independence. This statistic both derives from the fact that female labor participation in Turkey has not yet reached its potential, and that culturally, it is a male household function to handle finances. Regardless, having the ability to control your income or your family’s income is empowering. “Some of the most wretched suffering is caused not just by low incomes but also by unwise spending by the poor…,” says Nick Kristof of the New York Times, inferring that women, more than men, tend spend with their families in mind.

3) Only 14% of Parliament Seats are held by Women
Although women gained the right to vote in 1934 (France, 1945, Switzerland, 1956), female political participation has not advanced much past that great feat. In the past year, women have begun to strike back and take the front lines in political activism, but that has not yet translated into a higher number of women in powerful decision-making roles. In the last 83 years, Istanbul has seen 3,500+ mayors and borough presidents and only four of them were women.

4) Becoming a Manager is Not Easy
In a land where 88% of firms are managed by men, the female plight to the top of the ladder will prove to be difficult. If we consider Sheryl Sandberg’s theory that women have a higher potential for growth when they have other female managers, it will require perseverance to find that mentor to help a woman follow her career path. Recently, the population has recognized this and begun forming networking communities of women, in hopes of introducing young women to strong societal figures.

5) Women are choosing to Own their own Business
Learning a skilled trade and becoming an entrepreneur has proven to be a popular path for women in Turkey. Over 40% of private business owners in the country are women. Business owners can range from sewing handbags

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to owning a chain of furniture stores, but women are choosing to become their own managers and make their own decisions. It is untold if the reason behind this is due to societal pressure in the workplace to conform.

I’ll tell you a secret, it’s not that hard to notice these facts in everyday Turkish life. On your next trip, attend a political rally held by the government and notice the lack of gender diversity in the crowd, ask a schoolgirl in the east what she wants to be when she grows up or Google Turkish parliament and attempt a ‘Where’s Waldo’ for women in the photos.

As with any nation, realities are hidden from tourists and investors as best in possible. But in a nation that it boasts a young population and a strong economy, education and opportunity for women and girls should be top priority to further advance the nation on a global scale.


Conversations in Social Change

Young Professionals for TPF hosted an event on November 19th titled “Conversations in Social Change”. Three fantastic speakers gave a new outlook on entrepreneurship, nonprofits and search and rescue. These speakers included Ayse Sabuncu, of TPF’s Junior Board and an MBA student at NYU Stern where she studies Social Innovation & Impact, Elmira Bayrasli, the co-founder of Foreign Policy Interrupted, a startup focused on increasing the number of women commenting on foreign policy in the media and Baris Ozturk, the USA Director of AKUT Arama Kurtarma Derneği (Search and Rescue Association of Turkey). 

AKUT USA Fund Raising

Pera Soho is featuring AKUT USA on the first night of their weekly “Give Back Saturday” events.

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of the evening’s food and beverage revenues will be donated by Pera Soho to AKUT USA in support of our disaster preparedness, search, rescue and relief efforts.


We are deeply saddened by the unfolding of another mining disaster in Turkey. Our thoughts are with the families, friends of the miners and everyone impacted by this tragedy in Ermenek, Karaman.

We wanted to use this opportunity to announce the recipients of Turkish Philanthropy Funds’ Soma Disaster Relief Fund:

  • Anne Cocuk Egitim Vakfi (Mother Child Education Foundation, ACEV) in the amount of $30,000
  • Cagdas Yasami Destekleme Dernegi (Association for the Support of Contemporary Living, CYDD) in the amount of $45,000
  • Darussafaka Cemiyeti (Darussafaka Society) in the amount of $45,000

We were able to provide this support because of friends like you. During TPF’s Soma Disaster Relief Fund campaign, our community has once again came together: More than 500 donors trusted their funds to TPF, eight Turkish-American organizations channeled their giving through TPF and many directed their members to give to TPF’s campaign. Thank you.

After analyzing the needs in detail, since the government’s disaster agency, AFAD, provided

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emergency aid for recovery, TPF has decided to give support to rebuilding and resilience efforts in the town of Soma and surrounding. Turkish Philanthropy Funds has taken the below circumstances into consideration in grantmaking:

  • Most of the relief efforts targeted Soma. However, the victims spread to more than 15 towns.
  • All scholarships to the children of the miners who have lost their lives during the mining disaster are being administered by AFAD.
  • We lost 301 lives at the Soma mining disaster. This left 418 children with no fathers. Thirty-two percent of these children are under the age of five, 38 percent are attending elementary school, and 24 percent are over 12 years of age. Fifty-one percent of school-aged children are boys and 49 percent are girls.

Based on these findings, TPF has decided to fund the following projects:

Establishment of a Child Education Center in Kinik by ACEV: The Child Education Center, which will address the mid to long-term needs of the towns affected by the disaster, will be operated in partnership with the Ministry of Family and Social Affairs and the local municipality. The center will operate a variety of educational programs from pre-school education, play and reading groups and family education to adult literacy, serving 1,500 to 2,000 families per year.

Establishment of a Cultural Activity Center in Soma by CYDD: The Cultural Activity Center will feature playrooms for children, provide psychosocial support and offer skill-building workshops to both men and women. TPF’s grant will assist CYDD in the purchase of the building that will house the center and will help with the operating costs of the first year.

Scholarships through Darussafaka Society: Darussafaka Society with approval from AFAD provides scholarships students who lost their fathers at the mining tragedy. TPF grant will provide full scholarships for one year at Darussafaka Schools to four students who qualified by passing an entrance exam.

Turkish Philanthropy Funds continues its search for projects that can diversify income generation in the town of Soma and neighboring communities. The remaining funds will be used to support organizations that can provide new avenues for revenue generation and increase opportunities for employment in sectors other than mining.

We appreciate your trust in Turkish Philanthropy Funds and thank you once again for your generosity.

Kind Regards,

Team TPF