Younes Nazarian

Founder, Y&S Nazarian Family Foundation

Younes Nazarian and his wife Soraya are founders of the Los Angeles-based Y&S Nazarian Family Foundation with a regional office in Israel named the Ima Foundation.


Younes is a philanthropist, industrialist, businessman, and a leader in the Persian Jewish community in Los Angeles as well as Tel Aviv. Presently, he is the Chairman of Nazarian Enterprises which focuses on the diversification of assets across a variety of interests in the private, public and real estate markets. Key industries include aerospace, manufacturing and logistics, technology, hospitality and alternative energy, among others.


The Y&S Nazarian Family Foundation is driven by the core belief that the promotion and support of education is the most important catalyst for societal change. The Foundation’s charitable giving is focused on supporting educational causes through a multipronged approach, be it in the academic setting, the public policy arena, community targeted or the artistic realm. The Foundation is interested in planting seeds, building bridges and enabling pioneering thinkers to imbue their knowledge into today’s global community.


Younes’s deep commitment to philanthropic work is evidenced by the passionate support of a vast array of educational initiatives in both the United States and Israel. The foundation’s generous contributions helped to establish UCLA’s Israel Studies Program and, in 2010, created a permanent endowment that led to the naming of the university’s Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for Israel Studies. The love for Israel and strong belief in the affective power of learning came together with this visionary gift to teach current and future generations of American students about Israel in a meaningful way. The Nazarian Pavilion, in the historic Doheny Library, at the University of Southern California, Beit Midrash at the Milken Community High School are also examples of support towards education.


As an Advisory Board Member of the RAND Center for Middle East Public Policy, the Y&S Nazarian Family Foundation sponsored RAND work in Israel to explore energy alternatives. The foundation also joined forces with the Mayo Clinic (USA) and MSR/Sheba Medical Center (Israel) to accelerate the advancement of medical education through a simulation-based curriculum.


Younes also serves on the Board of Directors for the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association. He takes a leadership role in other Jewish community affairs.


Younes was selected among the 12 recipients to receive Israel’s highest honor of the Torch Lighting Ceremony on Mount Hertzl, bestowed upon citizens who have made a meaningful contribution to Israeli Society. He is also the recipient of the 2011 Ellis Island Medal of Honor for outstanding citizenship, individual achievement, and encouragement of cultural unity.