Farouk Shami honored for generosity

Farouk Shami honored for generosity
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Farouk Shami honored for generosity

National community foundation to host inaugural event in Houston and honor Houston-based businessman and community leader Dr. Farouk Shami with “Outstanding Arab American Philanthropist” Award

On Friday, March 16, 2018, the Center for Arab American Philanthropy (CAAP), the nation’s only Arab American community foundation, hosted its inaugural Threads of Giving Gala at The Houstonian Hotel, where a noble reception included a classical Arabic musical program by Academy nominated group, Le Trio Joubran, a seated dinner and an Outstanding Arab American Philanthropist Award given to Houston based business innovator and philanthropist Dr. Farouk Shami.

CAAP, an ACCESS institution, is a national community foundation with the objective to unite and empower the Arab American community by demonstrating the impact of giving together. CAAP improves communities through grantmaking, serves donors by providing smart charitable giving tools, and shapes perceptions about Arab Americans by highlighting their exceptional contributions to society.

At its inaugural gala, CAAP recognized Dr. Farouk Shami, founder of Farouk System Inc.–which exports CHI and BioSilk hair and skin products to over 100 countries–with the Outstanding Arab American Philanthropist Award in honor of his outstanding humanitarian efforts locally and abroad. Among his many contributions was a donation of over $5,000,00in hair supplies to local shelters and hair solons affected by the devastating impact of Hurricane Harvey in 2017.

Farouk Shami

Shami had also notably assisted with disaster relief efforts after tragedies such as, 9/11, Haiti, Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Ike and Sandy. He also founded and supported several educational scholarships and institutions, including an institution in Palestine to support young women pursuing careers in STEM fields.

“Farouk is an accomplished businessman, but more than that, he is a role model regionally and internationally,” said Maha Freij, Director of CAAP. “He sets the example for others with his philanthropic work, not only in the Houston community, but across the United States and globally as well. We want to celebrate him and the example he sets as a role model.”

To an audience of over 200, Dr. Shami reflected on his immigrant experience and focused on the importance of Arab American philanthropy in his acceptance speech. “What America gave us is opportunity, and what we give back is responsibility. What does that mean? Helping each other, loving each other, freedom of choice and freedom of opportunity. All of that came with America. As Arab Americans, we need to be responsible. We need to give back to our communities.” Said Dr. Shami.

Emceeing the event was eight-time Emmy award winner, Ms. Deborah Duncan of KHOU-TV. The program also included a statement from the CAAP Chair, Mr. Hussien Shousher, and a stunning classical Arabic musical performance by Le Trio Joubran, a trio of Palestinian brothers Samir, Wissam and Adnan Joubran, who are originally from the city of Nazareth and have been nominated for an Academy award for their work on the Palestinian-based documentary 5 Broken Cameras.

The ceremony also highlighted CAAP’s contributions to the Houston area which included, granting more than $50,000 for Syrian refugee families through the Building Blocks for New Americans Program (BBNA), the Adawia Alousi Scholarship fund– which continues to support young women in STEM fields across the nation, and support to Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts through a disaster relief fund.

About CAAP

The Center for Arab American Philanthropy (CAAP) is a national community foundation and a national institution of ACCESS—the largest Arab American community nonprofit in the U.S. CAAP’s objective is to unite and empower the Arab American community by demonstrating the impact of giving together. We improve communities by making grants to nonprofit organizations. We serve donors by providing them with smart tools and resources to carry out their philanthropic giving. We build leaders by educating and inspiring Arab Americans, including youth, to realize their potential for change. Most of all, we shape perceptions about Arab Americans by highlighting their generous heritage and exceptional contributions to society. Visit www.centeraap.org to learn more.


Grounded in a grassroots commitment to empowerment, ACCESS is the largest Arab American community nonprofit in the U.S., with a 47-year history of nonprofit of excellence. Guided by our vision of a just and equitable society for all, with the full participation of Arab Americans, we empower communities in Southeast Michigan to improve their economic, social and cultural well-being through an extensive network of health, education, employment and social services programming. Our mission extends nationally through our highly esteemed institutions—The National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC), the Arab American National Museum (AANM) and the Center for Arab American Philanthropy (CAAP)—which are focused on making an impact through advocacy, the arts and philanthropy.  

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RAY HANANIA — Columnist

Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.

"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."

Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).

Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.

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