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$110 million gift from “Giving Pledge” signatory, philanthropist PNC Menon will help launch a new institute of higher learning
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$110 million gift from “Giving Pledge” signatory, philanthropist PNC Menon will help launch a new institute of higher learning

Dubai will soon get a new university, announced by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council.

It is backed by an AED 400 million ($110 million USD) donation from Sobha Reality towards the Mother’s Endowment initiative.

Posting on social media, Sheikh Hamdan hailed the agreement and thanked the group’s founder, PNC Menon, “for supporting this initiative.

“We are proud of the spirit of generosity that distinguishes the Dubai community and the positive impact of such contributions on @MBRInitiatives’ global educational goals”.

Launched by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and the Ruler of Dubai, the initiative allows contributors to honor their mothers by donating on their behalf.

It will contribute to the AED 1 billion endowment fund, which will sustainably support the education of millions around the world.

Under the agreement, Sobha Realty will construct and develop the university campus and, upon completion, hand it over to Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives (MBRGI).

The proposed university aims to further diversify higher education options available in Dubai to domestic and international students in undergraduate and postgraduate programs.

“The Mothers’ Endowment campaign, which aims to honor mothers by establishing an endowment fund that supports the education of millions of people across underprivileged communities, reflects a profound understanding of the true meaning of charity and humanitarian work as catalysts for progress and empowerment.

By providing low income individuals with high-quality education, the initiative gives them hope and means to create a better future,” said Mohammad Al Gergawi, Secretary General of MBRGI.

India-born PNC Menon is the Founder and Chairman of Sobha Group, a multinational real estate and construction group with diversified global interests.

He has played a key role in the real estate sector for over four decades.

In Oman, he founded a turnkey interior decoration firm catering to the Middle East markets. Within a decade, his firm was a market leader and had handled prestigious and high-profile projects for the Rulers of Oman, UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, and Brunei.

In 1994, PNC Menon founded Sobha Limited (India) to address the gap in superior-quality development and construction in India. Since its inception, this business has steadily grown from strength to strength (including its initial public offering in 2006, which was oversubscribed by around 126 times) and is now operating in 24 cities and 13 states across India.

As the India business continued to grow, Mr. PNC Menon began exploring international opportunities to fuel further growth. As a result, he founded PNC Investments in 2011 to bring the “Sobha” brand to the UAE. After entering the Dubai market, Mr. Menon launched Sobha Hartland and District One. Sobha Hartland is a $4 billion luxury mixed-use development spread over 8 million square feet. District One, an $8 billion joint venture with Meydan Group, includes 1,500 ultra-luxury villas.

Under PNC Menon’s leadership, “Sobha” has now established itself as a multinational real estate development and construction group.

PNC Menon also actively participates in philanthropic initiatives across the UAE, India, and Oman, and is on the board of several prominent charitable organizations.

PNC Menon has earmarked 50 percent of his wealth to charity.

He and Mrs. Sobha Menon are also part of the “Giving Pledge”, established by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Warren Buffet.

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