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Abdul Latif Jameel Gives Back to the Community: A History of Philanthropy

hassan jameel shaking hands with ALJ employee حسن جميل يصافح موظف ALJ

As a global corporation with a presence in over 30 countries across seven business sectors, Abdul Latif Jameel (ALJ) has a reputation for business prowess and success. But this success extends far beyond the company itself through measures of philanthropy designed to give back to the communities it represents and to improve the quality of life throughout the world especially for disenfranchised populations.

This approach to giving back started when the company was founded in 1945 by patriarch Abdul Latif Jameel himself and continues to this day through his son, Mohammad, and his grandsons, Fady and Hassan Jameel, each of whom head up different initiatives in order to ensure that the legacy of philanthropy continues.

Hassan Jameel حسن جميل

Positive social change has been at the forefront of ALJ ever since the company was established. With over 75 years of tradition, Abdul Latif Jameel supports communities, along with hundreds of thousands of people, through four primary subsidiaries, each of which has a special focus designed to make it an active contributor to the wellness and support of various change tenets.

Bab Rizq Jameel (BRJ) was founded in 2003 to support entrepreneurs and potential business owners throughout Saudi Arabia, helping them gain the funding and traction needed to move forward with their own endeavors. To this end, BRJ has supported over 35,000 individuals to date with a complete offering of services that can help them develop the processes, systems, and technology they need to be successful. This includes easy to understand and easy to implement resources that up-and-coming business owners can rely on to get their ideas off the ground and turn them into reality.

By supporting these entrepreneurs, ALJ and BRJ are able to help stimulate the Saudi economy by spurring additional business in the region. Services include mentoring programs to help with knowledge sharing and idea exchanges that cultivate experience in achieving business goals and a digital matching platform to pair up investors with startup companies. For those companies that are less tech savvy, they can turn to BRJ services for social media, cloud ERP and CRM solutions, website development, and mobile app development to take their business ideas to the next level and effectively market them along the way.

Bab Rizq Jameel is not the only way that ALJ is giving back and supporting the community within Saudi Arabia. Community Jameel Saudi (CSJ) was formally organized in 2003 after decades of history within the broader ALJ network of helping members of the community achieve their career goals. CSJ’s mission is to help create job opportunities for the nation’s youth and to help them access these opportunities successfully by cultivating the necessary skill sets required of young entrepreneurs and career-focused individuals in Saudi society. Through these efforts, CSJ endeavors to reduce unemployment figures for both men and women in the community and help to increase economic prosperity for everyone.

CSJ and BRJ work together to bring recruitment, microfinance, and other services to youth looking to improve their career and future outcomes. As a non-government public service foundation, Community Jameel Saudi is focused on stimulating community development while also complimenting services that are provided by their humanitarian efforts. Training programs, financial advisement, and completely integrated schemes are just a few of the ways that CSJ strives to improve the well-being of Saudis through productivity and financial independence.

While Community Jameel Saudi is focused primarily on programs at home for Abdul Latif Jameel, it’s other philanthropic arm, Community Jameel, has a broader reach. Focused on improving outcomes for global communities, its programs support scientists, humanitarians, and technologists throughout the world to help create a healthier world while addressing endemic human challenges. Offshoots of Community Jameel include the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), which is a research center dedicated to reducing poverty through scientific exploration and evaluations with research, policy, and education and training at its core. J-PAL’s work was recognized with the award of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for co-founders Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo.

Community Jameel, which is vice chaired by the founder’s grandsons Fady and Hassan Jameel, remains an active part of other community programs throughout the Middle East. One such example is its road safety initiative, which promotes safer driving through awareness and marketing campaigns as well as educational programs. Community Jameel also oversees the Jameel Clinic, which is renowned for its discovery of the antibiotic Halicin, and the Jameel Institute, which played a critical role in modeling the spread of COVID-19 at the height of the pandemic. Various awards are also established through Community Jameel for deserving humanitarians who need vital funding to see their research through to fruition. This includes the Jameel Fund, which is dedicated to high-impact projects in the area of infectious diseases, and the Hardship Fund, which provides resources for students facing unexpected difficulties to ensure they can complete their studies.

hassan jameel in ALJ motorsports car with another driver at an event

Not all of Abdul Latif Jameel’s philanthropic efforts are grounded in the sciences. The arts also take a predominant role through its Art Jameel organization. Art Jameel is designed to support artists and creative communities with programs, commissions, research, and education that can make the fundamentals of art accessible to everyone. In support of this effort, Art Jameel founded two institutions: Hayy Jameel and Jameel Arts Centre. Both are designed to encourage gathering of artists and the exhibition of artistic works with the support of state-of-the-art complexes, partners, and practitioners. Programming focuses on helping artists embrace new technologies while also cultivating traditional and ancient arts that bear witness to a deep culture of artistic expression.

Art Jameel extends its creative aspirations beyond the borders of Saudi Arabia to also include programs in the Middle East, North Africa, and Turkey. With an international spin, it promotes both contemporary art and artists while also working with local artists and organizations to preserve cultural heritages. International partnerships have also spread to the United Kingdom and the Victoria and Albert Museum to renovate the Islamic gallery and to the Jameel House of Traditional Arts in Cairo to continue the preservation of traditional craftsmanship. Across other fields, Art Jameel has supported literary endeavors through First Edition, a program for Saudi writers, and the Art Jameel Education Programme, which was organized to support art teachers across the country.