Syrian Children are Center of $20 Million Donation to Relief International

Turkish Philanthropist Sezgin Baran Korkmaz Pledges $20 Million in Broad Philanthropic Strategy to Support Syrian Humanitarian Relief

Aug 13, 2015, 11:38 ET from Relief International

WASHINGTON, Aug. 13, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Relief International, a humanitarian non-profit agency, announced the signing of an agreement between its organization and Mr. Sezgin Baran Korkmaz of Turkey. Mr. Korkmaz is providing a donation of USD 20 million to support a five-year relief strategy for children suffering from the Syrian conflict.

"We are thrilled to receive this transformational gift," said Nancy Wilson, president and CEO of Relief International. "Mr. Korkmaz has made it possible for Relief International to broaden and deepen our existing programs serving children affected by the Syrian conflict, across the Middle East. He also brings a spirit of innovation and for-profit, non-profit collaboration that is innovative and powerful."

"As someone who grew up as a very poor child in Turkey, I have lived through the crisis of not having basic life necessities like food and clothing. I, myself, was the recipient of kindness as a child, and I dream for a world where children do not need to suffer. I hope through this partnership, the people of this conflicted part of our world will be given a chance for dignity and prosperity," said Sezgin Baran Korkmaz.

Korkmaz said he selected Relief International as the recipient of his donation because he believed in the organization's inclusive, non-political and fair approach to humanitarian giving.

Through this historic partnership, Relief International and Korkmaz will join forces to build schools, create healthcare facilities and launch social impact ventures to provide humanitarian relief in the region. Korkmaz will be the strategic partner in providing local guidance and support locally to develop innovative solutions for delivery of more efficient and effective relief initiatives through the region.

This is a first-of-its-kind donation to fund Syrian humanitarian relief, with the donation coming from an individual contribution. Korkmaz, a businessman and philanthropist recognized for his generous support and donations to victims of war in the Middle East additionally announced a philanthropic plan to support Relief International with all of his philanthropic gifts moving forward. Mr. Baran Korkmaz is the founder and CEO of SBK Holding, a firm that invests in distressed bank assets and companies in financial distress with the hope of fostering them into successful businesses. Korkmaz to date has donated more than USD 30 million.

"The Relief International board is fully behind this innovative initiative. It reinforces our values of local leadership and partnership, and paves the way for breakthroughs in humanitarian assistance," says Paul (Chip) Levengood, Relief International board chairperson.

Relief International will utilize its trademark approach of engaging communities to identify their own assets and aspirations and to prioritize their needs. Then Relief International will work with communities to deliver the services that meet those needs and build community capacity for self-determination. 

Relief International

Relief International (RI) is a leading humanitarian non-profit agency committed to achieving relief from poverty, building resilience, and promoting the dignity and well-being of the world's most vulnerable populations. By partnering with people in the communities where it works, RI bridges the gap between immediate relief and long-term community development. RI is non-political and non-sectarian in its mission. More can be found at

Photo -


SOURCE Relief International