Firoz and Najma Lalji Foundation: Northwest Funders

OVERVIEW: The Firoz and Najma Lalji Foundation primarily funds grantmaking related to global and educational causes, as well as towards assorted cultural and community causes in the Seattle area.

IP TAKE: The foundation lacks transparency, which limits information available on its grantmaking priorities and activities.

PROFILE: Established in 2008, the Firoz and Najma Lalji Foundation was founded by businessman Firoz Lalji and his wife Najma. Foriz Lalji co-founded Zones Inc., a Seattle-based global provider of IT products and solutions to businesses. The foundation does not maintain a website, which limits information available on its grantmaking priorities and activities. According to tax filings, the Firoz and Najma Lalji Foundation primarily funds grantmaking related to global and educational causes, as well as towards assorted cultural and community causes in the Seattle area.

The Laljis have strong ties to Africa. Firoz was born in Uganda and returned after his studies, only to be expelled by dictator Idi Amin. In 2016, the couple, through their the Lalji Family Foundation, created the Africa Centre at London School of Economics with a gift of £10 million to support its activities of continued institutional engagement with the African continent. The center was renamed the Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa. The Lalji family are longstanding supporters of LSE, having first endowed a master's degree scholarship in 2009 for students from Uganda. In 2012, their support enabled the establishment of the Programme for African Leadership (PfAL) at LSE, which awards full master’s degree scholarships to African nationals and each year. 

Grants range from $1,000 to around $1.9 million. In a recent fiscal year, the foundation gave away approximately $2.3 million. Past grantees include Pacific NW Ballet (Lalji has sat on the board), Seattle Art Museum, University of Washington Foundation, Seattle Symphony Orchestra, United Way King County, and Gage Academy of Art.

The foundation keeps a low profile and does not accept unsolicited proposals.

PEOPLE:

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CONTACT:

The Feroz and Najma Lalji Foundation 
10655 NE 44th Street Rm/Ste 700
Bellevue, WA 98004