Spotlight on Philanthropy: The Kathwari Family

Farida and Farooq Kathwari moved to New Rochelle from New York City in 1973 and have lived here ever since. Their children had happy childhoods in New Rochelle, studying in both local public and private schools. Art and design are an integral part of the Kathwari family story. Both sides of the family have been in the design fi eld in Kashmir for generations, with businesses in the arts, carpets, fabrics, papier-maché and furniture. Farooq continued the tradition in America by starting his own home furnishings company and eventually becoming the CEO of Ethan Allen in 1988.

Farida and Farooq set the example for the family by teaching their children that all people are equal, emphasizing compassion and respect for all, and always thinking of those who are less fortunate. Through their family foundation, the Kathwaris have been able to contribute to many good organizations working locally: in the arts, health care, education, and social services; Nationally: to centers for conflict resolution and peace building, education and the arts; And internationally: for humanitarian assistance, refugees and displaced people, education, and the arts.

As individuals, Farida is active with several Westchester and NYC based organizations including AMWA (American Muslim Women’s Association), SAYA (South Asian Youth Action), and Purls for Peace. Farooq is an active leader on many boards including Arts Westchester, co-lead of the American Jewish Committee’s (AJC) Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council (MJAC), previous member of the New Rochelle Hospital board, Member of the Board of Overseers of the International Rescue Committee, Chairman Emeritus of Refugees International and Advisory Member of the New York Stock Exchange. He is especially honored to have received the Outstanding American by Choice Award from the U.S. Government and the Ellis Island Medal of Honor from the Ellis Island Foundation.

Their daughter Farah graduated with a BA from Barnard College and received her MA from the University of Chicago, and also studied at Parsons School of Design and the New York School of Interior Design. Farah serves as a Board Member of the Westchester County Human Rights Commission, steering committee member of Indivisible Westchester, NY Committee member of Human Rights Watch, NY Circle member of Refugees International, and founder of

After attending New Rochelle High School, Farida and Farooq’s son Omar graduated from American University in Washington DC and is now CEO of a technology company in New York City. Omar supports numerous charitable organizations in NYC and beyond.

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