Ike Ahmed was thinking about the past, the present and the future when he created the Ike and Shahnaz Ahmed Foundation Fund at Hamilton Community Foundation last November.
The past was his blissful 36-year marriage to Shahnaz, who passed away suddenly in April 2005 at the age of 60, and Ike’s desire to honour her memory, their life together, and their mutual love of Hamilton. The present is the community need he sees: hunger, poverty and unemployment, and the arts and cultural organizations that contribute so much to quality of life. The future is his plan that the fund will grow when part of his estate is designated to it.
Ike is a well-known figure in Hamilton: a very successful financial planner; a generous and active patron of the arts, and a community volunteer through the Downtown Rotary Club, St. Joseph’s Hospital Foundation, Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, and other organizations. His journey to Hamilton from his birthplace of India came by way of Karachi, Pakistan, then to Vienna, Austria, for university, with jobs that followed in Sweden, Denmark and then Berlin.
It was in Berlin that he met Shahnaz, who was German but took a Pakistani name when she married Ike. Ike was transferred to Hamilton and they began to build their life here. Ike and Shahnaz were famously close and Ike says they literally never spent one day apart in all their years of marriage. Pictures of the two of them, often in formal dress at community events, adorn the walls of Ike’s home and his corner office at the Standard Life Building.
“What we achieved, we achieved here in Hamilton, and Shahnaz helped me every step of the way,” Ike explains. “I’m glad we settled here 38 years ago. I thought of Hamilton Community Foundation for this fund, and for part of my eventual estate, because there are good people who run the Foundation. They will make decisions about how it is to be disbursed, knowing what my interests are.”
Excerpt from 2006-2007 Annual Report