Administration News

CEI receives $4M gift, renamed after Dakri family

The Dakri family has pledged $4 million to support the University of Houston’s new Center for Economic Inclusion | Photo courtesy UH Media Relations

In yet another example of UH being on the receiving end of a generous donation, the University Center for Economic Inclusion has received a $4 million donation from the Dakri family.

In recognition of their support, UH administrators have chosen to rename the CEI to the Musa and Khaleda Dakri Center for Economic Inclusion. 

The gift will provide the CEI with an endowment supporting the Center’s executive director position, as well as providing funding for a professorship meant to advance the CEI’s research priorities.

Originally from India, the Dakri family has been established in Houston for quite some time. Musa serves as the chairman of Wallis bank, a financial institution primarily located in Texas, but with branches in both California and Georgia. The gift was given on behalf of the entire family. 

Speaking on behalf of the family, Asif Dakri praised the University and CEI for their invaluable work in the field of economic equity. 

“We are honored to offer our support for the Center for Economic Inclusion. The work done by Dr. Saleha Khumawala and the University of Houston has been life-changing for so many in the Houston area,” Dakri said.  “We hope that this gift will allow countless others within our community achieve their goals regardless of their socioeconomic status,” 

Established in May, the Center for Economic Inclusion is a part of the C.T Bauer College of Business and aims to enrich community members in the field of entrepreneurship while also providing hands-on learning opportunities for UH students.

CEI founding director Saleha Khumawala said the program’s intent is to provide students with a novel learning environment that places an emphasis on real-world experience, as well as tangible community impact in the form of empowered entrepreneurs. 

“Diversity, equity, inclusion and economic empowerment are integral to the mission of the Bauer College, as well as CEI,” Khumawala said. “I am very gratified to be able to say that we’ve seen tremendous success using this experiential learning model. We look forward to extending it so that additional students and community members can experience the benefits of innovative social entrepreneurship.”

In a statement released last week, UH President Renu Khator spoke about the importance of the CEI’s mission, as well as the generosity of the Dakri family. 

“The Dakri family is passionate about the betterment of Houston, generously offering their time and resources to truly make an impact in the community,” Khator said. “With this support for our new Center for Economic Inclusion, entrepreneurs from all communities, including those in most need of investment, will get access to education, expertise and training needed to build businesses and transform lives.”

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