A former social worker, a current philanthropist, and a lifelong changemaker in one!
Abdul Chaudhry has two masters degrees, 27 years of experience as a social worker and a passion for addressing the problems faced by local communities.
Over his long tenure of involvement, Abdul has witnessed The Oakville Community Foundation’s transformation from a funding agency to an active partner in the community. And in 2012, he decided it was the right place for his family’s philanthropy.
Having begun his training as a social worker in his native country of Pakistan where he obtained his first graduate degree, Abdul went on to earn a second master’s degree in the United States before eventually immigrating to Canada with his wife in 1970.
After arriving, Abdul first worked for the Catholic Children’s Aid Society in Toronto for five years, then moved to a similar role in Hamilton for the next 22. Abdul and his wife, who passed away in 1989, had two daughters and a son. Today, those children are grown, and he has nine grandchildren to enjoy.
After retirement, Abdul became involved with the local community development council – now called Community Development Halton – where he has served on the Board of Directors for 15 years.
“The first conversation I had with the community development council’s Executive Director sparked my interest in getting involved. Similarly, my first conversation with The Oakville Community Foundation’s Executive Director about ten years ago kicked off my involvement with that organization,”
Abdul recalls, he was put on the Grants Committee as a volunteer right away and was thrilled by the opportunity to meet fellow members from various walks of life, as well as agencies applying for funding. “I don’t think I ever visited an agency that I was not impressed by.”
Always someone to be involved in many things, he is also engaged in three major Muslim organizations: the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) Canada, the International Development and Relief Foundation (IDRF) Canada, and the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) Relief. Last year, working with the ICNA, Abdul financed the building of a school in Pakistan in honour of his late parents.
In 2012, Abdul set up his Fund at The Foundation: the Chaudhry Family Fund. He started with a contribution of $2,500, to which he added each year. In 2016, Abdul participated in The Foundation’s Canada 150 Legacy Fund, through which his contribution of $5,000 was matched; he was able to quickly grow his family fund, which now holds more than $20,000. With a fund of this size, he can personally direct the returns to support local organizations and initiatives in need of funding.
“As a single widower living on my own and with financially independent children, I have the resources to offer support to Oakville, where my son and his family live; I have four grandchildren here.”
“I am investing in their community and my son will continue the Chaudhry Family Fund when I am gone.”
Abdul is grateful for the guidance and research that The Oakville Community Foundation brings to Fundholders to help them make informed philanthropic decisions. Particularly the organization’s Vital Signs Report, and the issues highlighted in the Report, such as mental health, diversity, and inclusion.
“The Oakville Community Foundation educates residents and works with agencies to meet critical local needs,”
Pointing to an example he sees as particularly innovative, funding from The Foundation has helped a local agency, ArtHouse, to launch a project that supports positive mental health and social inclusion for children and youth.
“The Foundation is dynamic and progressive; changing with the changing times and meeting the needs of this increasingly diverse community.”
See more incredible stories in our latest Annual Report!