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2023 Arab American of the Year – Michael Farah

Michael Farah is a trusted financial expert and talented innovator, a visionary business leader and longtime philanthropist whose tireless work has fostered awareness, understanding and improved communities across the nation and the globe.

Farah, a native Californian and Syrian Lebanese American, began his philanthropic work in his teens when he met the iconic actor and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital founder Danny Thomas at a radio telethon in Hollywood, California.

In the decades since, Mike has devoted his time to raising millions of dollars for St. Jude and countless other philanthropic causes. He created the Celebrity Foundation for Children, which has become one of the most celebrated charities in the nation and is ranked in the top 1 percent of all charities. The Celebrity Ranch in Temecula, California, built by Mike for the specific purpose of helping underprivileged children, is recognized as the largest charity children’s ranch in the world and hosts more than 10,000 children annually for camps and educational programs. Mike’s long-time association with St. Jude inspired him to build Celebrity Ranch- and just like St. Jude, no child is ever charged money for their stay there. The needs of women and the military are also served by both the foundation and ranch. Mike also is the founder of the American Polo Association, the largest charity Polo Association in the world, raising millions each year through charitable events. His daughter, the iconic actress Chris Farah, is often by his side at many of these events.

Mike’s other passion is fostering understanding and pride in being an Arab American. In the early 2000s he was instrumental in creating the American Lebanese Trade Board and the American Lebanese Chamber of Commerce, leading trade missions to Lebanon and Syria and currently serves as the Chairman of the Southern Federation of Syrian Lebanese American Clubs. The Federation was founded in 1931 as a cultural organization celebrating the heritage and culture of Syrian Lebanese Americans and has grown into a leading organization of 4,000 members across 20 states.

Being born and raised in Hollywood, Mike has spent his life surrounded by celebrities and hosted a well known public television show “On the Town with Mike Farah” in the 1990s, interviewing thousands of Hollywood stars.

His tireless dedication to philanthropy and pride in his Arab heritage make him our 2023 Arab American of the Year.