We’d like to take this opportunity to give a warm ahlan wa sahlan to Maher Touma, the newest member to join the CAAP Advisory Board. Maher is the Chairman and CEO of CECA Supply & Services Inc, an oil and energy company located in Houston, TX. Maher is a seasoned businessman, and also a generous philanthropist. He is a supporter of many causes, both domestic and international and we’re thrilled to have him join us to inspire philanthropy within the Arab American community.
We recently had the chance to speak with Maher about his personal philanthropy and giving history.
CAAP: Can you give us an example of the kind of work/causes you support? What do you look for when you make giving decisions?
Maher Touma: My wife and I support several charitable organizations providing assistance to the less fortunate with a focus on children and education. Some of the organizations that we have supported in the past are Jusoor, Star of Hope and Doctors Without Borders. My criteria for donation are very simple, because I will consider donations to any organization that is secular and apolitical.
CAAP: What/Who are your giving inspirations?
MT: My giving inspiration is my father who taught and inspired me to be humble and generous by his own actions.
CAAP: What does the word “philanthropist” mean to you? Do you think of yourself as a philanthropist?
MT: To me a philanthropist is someone who shares his possessions with those less fortunate.
CAAP: What do you see as your biggest achievement in your giving history?
MT: My best giving achievement will be raising my children to be humble and generous.
CAAP: Do you identify as Arab American? Does this influence your giving?
MT: I certainly do identify myself as Arab American as I am an Arab American. Being Arab American did not influence my giving until the Syrian tragedy unfolded. Now the largest share of my charitable giving goes to Syrian in need and Syrian refugees with a focus on children and education.
CAAP: Do you have any advice for other Arab Americans new to philanthropy and giving
MT: The only way to make this world a better place is to lift those who are less fortunate and give them the tools to live with dignity.