About Us

The Aziz and Gwen Sancar Foundation (AGSF) offices are located in the Sancar Turkish Cultural and Community Center (STCCC) building on East Franklin Street in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Also in the facility are spaces for the North Carolina Turkish Honorary Consul and the charity Bridge to Türkiye. These are separate entities from the foundation and have no direct affiliation.

The Aziz & Gwen Sancar Foundation

The Aziz and Gwen Sancar Foundation (AGSF) is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization formed in 2007 by Drs. Aziz and Gwen Sancar primarily for educational and charitable purposes to increase the understanding and friendship of Türkiye and its people and promote closer ties between the United States and Türkiye.

The mission of the Foundation is to promote understanding of Türkiye and Turkic people in the United States.  To this end, the Foundation has established the Sancar Turkish Cultural and Community Center (STCCC) in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. STCCC serves as a venue for lectures, films, exhibits, forums, panels or similar programs, and social gatherings organized by the Foundation, and as a community resource for information about the civilization, language and culture of Türkiye and the Turkic people.

The Foundation also assists students in the Triangle area of North Carolina who wish to participate in study abroad programs in Türkiye. The Foundation is not organized for profit and no part of its income, if any, will insure to the benefit of any member, director, officer, individual or organization.

Our Story

First AGSF Turk Evi 2008

Carolina Turk Evi ~ 2008

August 30, 2018 STCCC Groundbreaking

Drs. Aziz and Gwen Sancar had long dreamed of a Turk Evi (Turkish House) by a university campus going back many years. On May 19, 2008 (Turkish National Youth Day), their dream became a reality when UNC-CH became the only university in the United States with a Turk Evi for its students and the community. The Carolina Turk Evi, owned by the Aziz & Gwen Sancar Foundation (AGSF) of Chapel Hill, provided graduate housing to visiting Turkish scholars on sabbaticals and short internships. It also held celebrations of Turkish holidays, cooking classes, and language classes.

On August 20, 2018, dignitaries from Türkiye, UNC-CH officials, and Chapel Hill town representatives joined AGSF Board Members to celebrate the groundbreaking for the 9,700-square-foot Sancar Turkish Cultural & Community Center. The center is named for Nobel Laureate in Chemistry Aziz Sancar and his wife, Gwen.

Construction began in 2019 but experienced delays due to the Covid pandemic. The facility opened its doors to the public in June 2021. Designed as an eco-friendly commercial building, solar panels and geothermal heating minimizes energy consumption. Marble, ceramic, woodwork, vanities, handmade tiles, and much of the furnishings have been donated to the center by Turkish businessmen.