Dubai: The Board of Trustees of the ‘1 Billion Meals Endowment’ held its first meeting, following its formation under directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, with the aim of managing the assets of the largest food aid endowment project and ensure highest regular returns.
Chaired by Mohammad Al Gergawi, Secretary General of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, the meeting discussed plans to invest the endowment assets in a way that ensures its sustainability and extends its impact and reach. The Board’s governance structure was approved during the meeting, which also saw the formation of an investment committee and an audit, risk and compliance committee.
The ’1 Billion Meals Endowment’ initiative, organised by Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, aims to mobilise local, regional and international efforts to implement sustainable measures that help fight and eradicate hunger within an institutional framework. The endowment created under this campaign is a legal entity with independent financial liability and an independent management.
Al Gergawi noted that the initiative reflects the vision of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum for sustainable charity and giving, and for promoting endowment as a development tool key to the advancement of communities. He stressed that the Board of Trustees will transform this vision into actionable programs that help implement the 1 Billion Meals Endowment initiative’s aim of providing a food safety net for tens of millions of people around the world.
“The Board of Trustees follows international best practices of sustaining and investing endowment assets through strategic and modern investments that achieve the highest possible returns, and subsequently fund the initiative’s food aid and hunger fighting projects for years to come.
“On the other hand, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives has adopted the highest standards of integrated institutional work, in line with the UAE’s management philosophy, in order to realize the objectives of the largest food aid endowment project,” he added.
Continuity of endowment
The Board of Trustees reviewed the governance framework prepared by MBRGI, in collaboration with an international agency, to ensure continuity of the endowment.
It also reviewed progress of the 1 Billion Meals Endowment, plans and processes for investing its movable and immovable assets, and ways to utilize the returns of these investments to fund the initiative and the projects that fall under it.
Members of the Board of Trustees discussed key controls for the insurance of endowment assets and its registration procedure.
They reviewed plans to coordinate work between the 1 Billion Meals Endowment and MBRGI, with MBRGI’s executive arm providing the Endowment with administrative and logistics support and preparing annual action plans for food aid and hunger fighting projects. On the other hand, the Endowment will provide the funding needed for these projects from the returns of investing its assets.
The meeting included discussions of several investment ideas that can help achieve the highest sustainable returns, including deposits, sukuk and real estate. It also discussed ways to maximise contributions to the Endowment by individuals, institutions, businesses and influential philanthropists.
The Board of Trustees issued a number of resolutions during its first meeting, including the formation of an investment committee to be chaired by Hesham Abdullah Al Qassim; Vice Chairman and Managing Director of Emirates NBD and Chairman of Emirates Islamic Bank. The committee will be tasked with conducting market research, identifying investment opportunities and overseeing investments.
It also approved formation of the audit, risk and compliance committee, chaired by HE Fadel Al Ali; Chairman of Dubai Financial Services Authority, and tasked with examining and analyzing investment risks, and minimizing high-risk exposure of the endowment’s assets. The Board has appointed an endowment superintendent, and approved the ‘1 Billion Meals Endowment’ overall structure.
Board of Trustees members
Members of the ‘1 Billion Meals Endowment’ Board of Trustees include Hesham Abdullah Al Qassim; Vice Chairman and Managing Director of Emirates NBD and Chairman of Emirates Islamic Bank, Dr. Ahmad bin Abdulaziz Al Haddad; Grand Mufti and Director of the Ifta Department of the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department in Dubai, Fadel Al Ali; Chairman of Dubai Financial Services Authority, Saeed AlEter Al Dhanhani; Assistant Secretary-General of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, Ali Al-Mutawa, Secretary-General of Dubai’s Endowments and Minors’ Trust Foundation, Dr. Mohammed Suhail Al-Muhairi; CEO and Managing Director of Dar Al Ber Society, Ali Al Obaidli; Division Director – Engineering Office, Private Office of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and Dr. Abdulrahman Al Sharif; Managing Director at Al Sharif Advocates & Legal Consultants.
The ‘1 Billion Meals Endowment’ initiative continues to welcome donations throughout the year.
By the end of Ramadan this year, the initiative has raised Dh1.075 billion from over 180,000 donators via the campaign’s website, call centre, bank transfers, SMS as well as via the DubaiNow app. Contributions by individuals, businesses and institutions included cash, land plots and corporate shares.
The “1 Billion Meals Endowment” campaign helps promote and revive the culture of endowment as a tool for sustainable development, contributing to the global efforts to fight hunger in line with Sustainable Development Goals, as well as contributing to other humanitarian and charity projects as approved by the Board of Trustees to extend the reach of humanitarian efforts to include more underprivileged groups.