The Fikret Yüksel Foundation was established in 1998 by Fikret Yüksel who graduated from Darüşşafaka (a boarding school for financially destitute children who have lost one or both of their parents).
He went on to attend Istanbul Technical University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Harvard, graduating with degrees in Civil, Structural, and Soils Engineering. He worked on various engineering projects in Turkey and the U.S., including designing significant parts of the above ground portions of the Alaska Pipeline.
He then “retired” from engineering, and went into real estate with his daughter, Susan Burchard. Together they built up Yüksel Incorporated which owns and operates residential apartment complexes in the Seattle area. Upon his death, he willed the corporation to fund a foundation supporting the education of Turkish students with a special emphasis on his alma mater, Darüşşafaka.
Today the Foundation is headed by Susan, and her husband Gary, and employs their son, Alex and one of the first beneficiaries of the foundation, Ayşe Selçok. The Foundation is funded by the profits of Yüksel Incorporated.
Donations to the Foundation are eligible to be written off for tax purposes, as the Foundation is a not for profit 501 (c) (3) classified entity.