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$20 Million Alumni Gift Expands Social Sector Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Chicago Booth

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The University of Chicago Booth School of Business has received a $20 million alumni gift that will expand social innovation and entrepreneurship research and programming, the school announced earlier this week. The gift comes from Tandean Rustandy, MBA’07—founder of a successful Indonesian ceramic tile manufacturing company—and the school’s Social Enterprise Initiative has been renamed the Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation to reflect his generosity and its expanded mission.

“The Rustandy Center will provide a rigorous setting for students, faculty, and colleagues to confront pressing challenges through social enterprise and innovation,” University of Chicago President Robert J. Zimmer said in a statement. Working with nonprofit, for-profit and government organizations, the center will serve as a resource not only for the university community but also nonprofit leaders, social entrepreneurs, and others committed to social impact.

“I don’t believe in companies that just exist to make a profit. A company should also serve and guide people,” Rustandy said in a statement. This was such a deeply held belief that he left his post-college job working in the timber industry in his native Indonesia because the company’s vision and mission didn’t align with his ideals, according to a release from the school. The company he founded, PT Arwana Citramulia Tbk, has grown to become one of the best-performing ceramic tile manufacturing companies in world and has won numerous awards for its adoption of eco-conscious green technology, the quality of its products, and the strength of its management.

Rustandy’s decision to help advance the future of Chicago Booth’s social impact research and programs was driven by his belief that business should have social benefits. He serves as a member of the Chicago Booth Council and Booth Global Advisory Board Asia cabinet.

Thanks to his generous gift, the Rustandy Center will seek to advance social innovation by supporting research on social sector institutions, providing training and networks for nonprofit board members and developing an innovative and experiential curriculum. The center will also provide resources for students and alumni interested in social impact careers and feature programming related to social entrepreneurship and social venture funding. These efforts will build on existing successful programs such as the John Edwardson, ’72, Social New Venture Challenge.

“Our students and alumni are becoming increasingly interested in using their business training to solve social problems, and the Rustandy Center will serve as the venue for all of our efforts in this area,” Chicago Booth Interim Dean Doug Skinner said in a statement.

“I’ve been blessed by God so what I have I need to give back—and I want to give to an institution that can create so much—not just for the U.S. but for all the world,” Rustandy said in a statement. “That is why I want to give this gift to the University of Chicago and to Booth.”

Learn more about Tandean Rustandy.