Indian American entrepreneur Sunil Puri donates $2.25 million for YMCA building in Illinois

Puri is the founder of First Midwest Group.

Sunil Puri
Sunil Puri

By Raif Karerat

A new YMCA branch is slated to open in Rockford, Ill. after an Indian American entrepreneur and his associate donated $2.25 million to make the 15,000 square foot facility a reality.

The building will be named the “Puri Family YMCA” in honor of Sunil Puri — president and founder of First Midwest Group — who provided the majority of the funding for the project along with business partner Dan Arnold.

“As the father of three children, I understand the importance of family time,” Puri told Midwest Real Estate News. “People turn to the YMCA for supporting their families in mind, body and spirit. This building will provide a safe, affordable place for families to live healthy lives in a growing area of the community.”

In the next month the YMCA will embark on a campaign to raise the $750,000 in additional capital needed to renovate the spot of the future facility, which is currently an office building.

CEO Mike Brown told the Rockford Register Star that he hopes to open the new branch, which could serve 600 to 1,600 area families, sometime in the next six to eight months, depending on the amount of time it takes the organization to raise the extra money.

The facility will have cardio and weight training rooms, fitness classes, personal trainers, wellness coaches, senior social clubs, youth and sports programs and childcare.

Puri is no stranger to being philanthropic. Just last year he received international recognition when top-ranked Rockford University named its new business college after him following his $5 million to the “Puri Business School” start-up efforts, according to Midwest Real Estate News.

Born in Mumbai, India in 1960, Sunil Puri immigrated to the United States in 1979 to attend Rockford University, where he graduated in 1982 with a B.S. in Accounting.

He pursued further graduate work at Rockford University and London Business School, and in 2013, he graduated from the ten year Program of Management and Leadership of the Harvard Business School.

According to his real estate company’s website, Puri has advised both President Clinton and President Obama, traveling to India with President Clinton in 2000 and 2001 and President Obama in 2010. Since September 2010, he has also served as Commissioner on President Obama’s White House Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

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