Chicago Booth alumnus Rustandy gives $20 million gift to support social impact center

Tandean Rustandy

After completing his undergraduate degree in the U.S. in 1987, Tandean Rustandy,’07 (AXP-6), returned to his native Indonesia and worked in the timber industry. But he left the position after just three years. The company’s vision and mission didn’t align with what was in his heart and mind.

“I don’t believe in companies that just exist to make a profit. A company should also serve and guide people,” Rustandy said.

The Chicago Booth alumnus realized early in his career that he was called to use his business success to give back and positively impact humanity. Only six years after he graduated from college, Rustandy founded Jakarta, Indonesia-based PT Arwana Citramulia Tbk, one of the best-performing ceramic tile manufacturing companies in the world and the embodiment of his belief that socially responsible business is also smart business.

In keeping with those values, the Indonesian entrepreneur and member of the Chicago Booth Council and Booth Global Advisory Board Asia cabinet, has made a $20-million commitment to his alma mater to ensure the future of the school’s social impact research and programs.

In recognition of his generosity, Chicago Booth’s Social Enterprise Initiative (SEI) has been renamed the Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation. Rustandy’s gift builds on the success of SEI, which was launched in 2012, and provides a solid foundation for social impact at Booth.

The Rustandy Center serves as Booth’s hub for people tackling complex social and environmental problems, building on the school’s grounding in business fundamentals with experiential learning and research-based insights. The center works with organizations of all types -- nonprofit, for-profit, and government -- and serves as a resource for nonprofit leaders, social entrepreneurs, board members, impact investors, researchers and anyone committed to making our world more equitable and sustainable.

Rustandy’s gift will provide the opportunity to further social impact at the school and beyond through programs, including the John Edwardson, ’72, Social New Venture Challenge, training for nonprofit board members, and research activities and support.

The Rustandy Center will advance social innovation in five areas:

  • Research on social sector institutions
  • Training and networks for nonprofit board members
  • Development of innovative and experiential curriculum
  • Resources for students and alumni interested in social impact careers
  • Programs related to social entrepreneurship and social venture funding

“As one of the most successful alumni of our Executive MBA Program in Asia, Tandean was able to apply his Booth MBA education to expanding his already successful business. This most generous commitment from Tandean will secure the future of Booth’s social enterprise activities,” said Doug Skinner, Chicago Booth interim dean and Eric J. Gleacher Distinguished Service Professor of Accounting. “Our students and alumni are becoming increasingly interested in using their business training to solve social problems, and the Rustandy Center will serve as the venue for all of our efforts in this area.”

Because many organizations focused on solving social and environmental problems lack the necessary resources to address these issues, the Rustandy Center will assist nonprofits to recruit and train effective board members; help students and alumni pursue meaningful careers in the social sector; and share lessons from research and experts.

“I’ve been blessed by God so what I have I need to give back – and I want to give to an institution that can create so much – not just for the U.S. but for all the world. That is why I want to give this gift to the University of Chicago and to Booth,” said Rustandy.

About the Rustandy Center

In May 2017, Chicago Booth’s Social Enterprise Initiative was renamed the Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation in recognition of a gift from Booth alumnus and longtime supporter Tandean Rustandy, ’07 (AXP-6). Rustandy’s generosity ensures a permanent place for the center at Booth and provides a solid foundation for our work and for the future of social impact at the school.

The Rustandy Center is the destination for people committed to helping solve complex social and environmental problems. As Booth’s social impact hub, we build on the school’s grounding in business fundamentals with experiential learning and research-based insights. Then, through programs, including the John Edwardson, ’72, Social New Venture Challenge, and training for nonprofit board members, we equip our community with the knowledge and tools to positively impact humanity. 

About Tandean Rustandy

Tandean Rustandy is the founder and chief executive officer of PT Arwana Citramulia Tbk, a firm that has received numerous accolades, including recognition as one of Forbes’ best 200 companies under $1 billion in the Asia Pacific region and as a “Best Listed Company” from the Indonesian Stock Exchange’s Capital Market Awards. Rustandy received Indonesia’s Young Entrepreneur Award from Ernst & Young in 2002. In 2011, he was awarded the Distinguished Entrepreneurial Alumni Award by Booth.

Rustandy credits his time at Chicago Booth as being instrumental in his business success, and was an active member of the Executive MBA Asia Program. Since 2013, he has been a member of the Council on Chicago Booth. He also is a member of Booth’s Global Advisory Board: Asia Cabinet.