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Breaking out

Led by long-time philanthropists Khaled and Olfat Juffali, a small circle of Saudi families is breaking with tradition to forge a new model for Gulf giving
 
It came down to this: we didn’t want to reinvent the wheel,” says Khaled Juffali, a Saudi philanthropist and CEO of EA Juffali & Brothers Co, the conglomerate owned by his family. “I’ve always felt that collaboration with the right people gives you a better result than going it alone. And in this case, I really think it has.”
 
Juffali is outlining the thinking behind Shefa Fund, the Saudi Arabia-based giving circle he cofounded in 2013 with his wife, Olfat, backed by a cohort of close friends. Working hand-in-glove with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, its goal is to channel money so it has the greatest long-term impact on pressing global health issues. “Giving is easy,” explains Olfat Juffali, “but giving well is an art.”
 
In four short years, Shefa has parlayed its members’ financial clout – and the Gates Foundation’s expertise – into more than $9m worth of grants, helping to bankroll the fight against diseases ranging from polio, to malaria and meningitis A. Having exhausted its first tranche of funding, a second round of fundraising is planned for this year, with a target goal of $20m. “There are many people our age who want to give, but don’t know how or where to direct their money,” says Olfat. “They like the Shefa story, and they like what we’re doing – they’re keen to support it. Like us, they want to learn how best to give.”