COVID-19 SPECIAL

Millionaire and wife donate food to the poor; pledge to match what others donate as well

Venture capitalist Ozi Amanat and his wife Asema Ahmed donated 1,000 meals to migrant workers in quarantine.
Venture capitalist Ozi Amanat and his wife Asema Ahmed donated 1,000 meals to migrant workers in quarantine.PHOTO: OZI AMANAT & ASEMA AHMED

SINGAPORE - Millionaire venture capitalist Ozi Amanat and his wife, Ms Asema Ahmed, have donated 1,000 meals to migrant workers in quarantine through the charity Free Food For All on May 7.

Mr Amanat said he was inspired by a recent Twitter message by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong who thanked those who donated meals to the needy during Ramadan.

The couple is hoping to attract nine other well-heeled individuals to give 1,000 meals each to those in need through a charity of the donor's choice.

In return, Mr Amanat and his wife will match the donations to a charity of the couple's choice.

They are seeking to help those "in need of a warm meal", including poor families, migrant workers and healthcare workers.

Mr Amanat, 41, said: "We hope to double the impact of giving. Sharing giving pledges will inspire others to give and to understand the gaps in giving."

He and his wife are American citizens who have been based in Singapore since 2012.

Ms Ahmed, 42, is the granddaughter of the former Indian president Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed. They have a son, 10, and a daughter, six.

Mr Amanat is the founder of K2 Global, a US$183 million ($259 million) venture capital firm that invests in technology companies.

Its investments include stakes in Spotify, Uber, Airbnb and Impossible Foods.

The couple joins a growing list of wealthy individuals here who are donating to those in need during the Covid-19 crisis.

 
 
 

On May 8, it was reported that billionaire Peter Lim had picked up the tab for $1 million worth of meals for hospital staff in a show of appreciation and support for their work.

Mr Lim, who made his fortune from stockbroking and is now in his 60s, is also known as the Remisier King.

Meanwhile, food firm TiffinLabs, co-founded by one of Singapore's youngest billionaires, Mr Kishin R.K., has set up a charitable foundation to give free meals to the needy.

Mr Kishin, 36, is the son of property magnate Raj Kumar, who runs Royal Holdings.

The TiffinLabs Food is Love Foundation has partnered Free Food For All to distribute, as a start, 20,000 restaurant-quality meals from last month.

Also last month, Indonesian tycoon and Singapore permanent resident Dr Tahir, 68, gave $500,000 to help needy families in Singapore.

Dr Tahir, who goes by one name, is the founder of the Mayapada Group, one of Indonesian's biggest conglomerates.

Mr Nizar Mohamed Shariff, founder of Free Food For All, said Mr Amanat was supportive of the charity's campaign to provide pre-dawn meals for migrant workers staying in factory-converted dormitories.

Mr Nizar, 49, said: "Vegetable briyani and basmati rice with lentils were a welcome treat for them."

 
 
 

Mr Amanat and his wife have been "actively involved" in supporting the UWCSEA Foundation, such as sponsoring student scholarships and other initiatives at the United World College of South East Asia (UWCSEA).

Mr Ozi said the couple also plans to donate to the needy in other countries too, like in the US and in South-east Asia.

He added: "We plan to give as much as we can throughout the Covid crisis and beyond."

To contact Mr Amanat, donors can e-mail charity@k2vc.co