Nil and Bahadir Onalan are known best for their philanthropy in their immediate community. “Our motivation in asking our friends and family to join us in our giving is to share this feeling of happiness of knowing you’re making a lasting impact on someone else’s life. If you truly want to be happy in your life, make someone else happy, and you will be too,” has been the couple’s motto. “Sharing and giving absolutely bring happiness to your life. Fighting injustice in this world is possible via the contributions from you, be it time, or money,” continues Nil.
Giving has always been a priority for Nil and Bahadir. Yet, it became a central point in their lives as they became more successful in their careers. Giving back is a big part of Turkish culture and it was part of their lineage. They emphasize how they grew up with giving tradition in their families. “Because of our backgrounds, giving back has always been important to us whether it be through investing our time with communities or making a financial contribution.” Because supporting education is a shared passion for Nil and Bahadir, making a charitable investment initially in educational programs such as providing scholarships made perfect sense. As they grew into their success, their giving portfolio has grown as well.
In 2013, Bahadir met TPF’s staff, and the Onalans established the Umudumuz Fund, a donor-advised fund at TPF, later that year. “The commitment, dedication, and drive of Haldun Tasman, his family and friends, and his team, have built a sustainable, transparent, and trustworthy model for charitable purposes – a model which brought us to TPF’’ notes the couple. With the tools and resources from TPF in their purview, they have started investing in a variety of issues from the refugee crisis and supporting programs that fight against injustice and discrimination to environmental issues. The combination of personal experience and shared values made the Onalans’ giving even more meaningful.
The Onalans have several memories from their years of giving but the most memorable moments are seeing letters and photos from the children they support. This joy, they say, “cannot be found anywhere else.” Their ending sentence when they ask their friends to join them in their giving is: Start with helping ONE family, ONE child, ONE woman, and the rest will follow.