The Journey of Education
A Giving Story of Lale and Tunç Doluca
Through the years, the Doluca family has given to many organizations in the U.S. and Turkey. As their success grew, Lale and Tunç discussed how to use their good fortune to benefit others, especially in their native country where they were born and raised. They were the most passionate about supporting education, providing shelter, and fighting against hunger. Defining their focus helped lead their decision: they wanted to have a lasting impact on the lives of children and families in Turkey.
Yet, they didn’t know exactly which organization to support and where to support their search. During an annual visit to his company’s office in Istanbul, Tunç was introduced to Darüşşafaka Society. The organization seemed like a perfect fit since it supported children’s education from a younger age.
Reflecting on the importance of their younger years and the influence of those years on their success, Dolucas believed Darüşşafaka Society was the right organization. “The first ten years of our education is where we all acquire our habits and develop our passions, and our characters are molded. Those are the really critical years if you think about yourself or if you think about others and you can see that”. Lale and Tunç believed they were fortunate enough to have parents that supported them and helped them through their early years. However, many children, who are very smart and have so much potential, do not have that support in those critical years due to extreme poverty or the loss of a family member. These circumstances can have a high impact on children and their future. Yet, with organizations like Darüşşafaka Society, these children are provided an opportunity to have a quality education that will lead them to follow their dreams. Tunç also felt a greater sense of confidence in the organization, as a classmate of his from college, Bülent, was a Darüşşafaka graduate. He saw how successful, driven, and caring Bülent was throughout the years.
Slowly, the Dolucas began to bond with the Darüşşafaka Society and supported them annually through their DAF at TPF. Their impact grew when they strengthened that bond with a partnership with Turkish Philanthropy Funds.
During the summer of 2020, amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, Dolucas became aware of the impact the pandemic had on students in Turkey. Their friend who introduced them to Darüşşafaka reached out and expressed how the needs of Darüşşafaka have grown greater. Education was truly remote for some but not for all since some students didn’t have access to tools such as computers and the internet. There was a significant gap in solutions for youth. Yet, there was a lack of donations. Dolucas decided that they would like to bridge that gap, but they knew they needed others to join them.
Lale and Tunç have worked with TPF through the years, and Tunç Doluca has held onto what Haldun Tashman told him years ago, “If you are going to give back, it is better to do it when you’re alive instead of through your will because not only will you get a head start on giving, but you will be able to see the impact of your gifts, and that will make you feel good.” This approach became the center of their philanthropy. This drive, combined with their trust in TPF, made them reach out to Turkish Philanthropy Funds to discuss how they could increase their impact on the Darüşşafaka Society. “We thought Turkish Philanthropy Funds has the organizational skills, capabilities, and ability for our donation to grow through their reach and wide network,” notes Tunç Doluca. “We also knew that getting a tax deduction for contributions to Darüşşafaka through TPF would be a bonus for many donors.”
Dolucas learned that they could amplify their support by turning their contribution into a matching gift campaign. They immediately were attracted to the idea, and the TPF team worked to put together a year-end campaign with Darüşşafaka Society. The campaign launched in October of 2020 and successfully met and exceeded its goal by December 31st, 2020. The campaign, “Join the Journey of Children’s Education with Darüşşafaka Society” with the generous matching gift of $250,000 from Lale and Tunç Doluca raised over $506,000.
Lale and Tunç Doluca now feel they can look back and see that they have lived up to the words of Haldun Tashman. They can see the impact their giving has made, which provides them with a great sense of joy.