Leadership Fiji Community Fund
With the belief that leadership is action, not a position; Leadership Fiji had established a Leadership Fiji Community Fund in August 2020 with the goal of taking action in the community through charitable projects. The Fund intends to also take advantage of the wide Leadership Fiji Alumni network and our 20-year history of community engagements to make meaningful contributions back to our society.
The Leadership Fiji Community Fund receives and manages funding from organizations, donors, aid funds, the Leadership Fiji Alumni, and individuals to support and fund life-changing community initiatives by making a positive social impact for Fiji’s communities in the thematic areas of Child Development, Education, Food and Nutrition, Animal Protection, Development and Protection of Women and families, Leadership Training, Promoting Democracy, Free Exchange of Ideas/Knowledge and Sustainable Community Environmental Projects.
Led by our own Leadership Fiji Alumni, the Committee members are: Rajesh Patel LF2002 as Chair, Thelma Savua LF2003 and is General Manager AVI Pacific People, Anare Manulevu LF2005 and is a Partner at KPMG, Ritesh Ratiram LF2017 and is Sponsorship and Marketing Manager at FASANOC and Talei Tuitoga LF2018 a Lawyer and Partner at Howell & Associates in Tavua.
Since its establishment, the Leadership Fiji Community Fund have already undertaken a number of community projects including the purchase and delivery of a tractor and plough to Montfort Boys Town, support of TEDx Suva events, scholarships awarded to four participants towards their fees for the Leadership Fiji Program, and other community projects from as far as Yasawa Village in Cakaudrove, Wainunu in Bua, Vio Island off Lautoka and other projects around Viti Levu.
The first round of calls for proposals saw 11 community initiatives receive a total funding of $54,500. The second round of funding is currently open and closes at the end of this month, on 30th April. The goal is to focus on small grants of F$5,000 to F$10,000 recognising that this is an area that larger donor organisations find difficult to support. This is an important new initiative for the Leadership Fiji community, and it comes at a critical time to support our communities in Fiji.
Those interested may access the Call for Proposal Application Form that is available on Leadership Fiji’s website www.leadershipfiji.org.
The LF Community Fund is funded by philanthropists, LF Alumni groups, well-wishes and friends of Fiji. Those willing to support communities and don’t have a means to do so may contact our Leadership Fiji Secretariat for more information.
Rajesh Patel as Chairperson on Leadership Fiji Community Fund
Today we will hear from our Leadership Fiji Community Fund Chair, Rajesh Patel who is the founding Chair of this Fund and an inaugural participant of the Leadership Fiji 2002 Program.
On his return to Fiji in 1994 after completing his education in New Zealand, Rajesh joined the family company, the Motibhai Group of Companies in their manufacturing arm of the business as Manager Administration of Fiji Foods Limited who are the manufacturers of the Golden brands of edible oils and margarines. It was through these forming years that saw Rajesh move through the organisation and ended up heading Fiji Foods Limited after a few years. He is now Executive Director of the Motibhai Group of Companies, a role he has held since 2013.
Rajesh says it was a privilege to be part of the inaugural Leadership Fiji Program in 2002 where participants came from different sectors such as the civil society, banking, telecommunications, law fraternity and the media, to name a few.
His appreciation of the program prepared him with in depth knowledge of the Fijian economy as the program was designed such that numerous sectors were covered with visitations and discussions with the heads and leaders of organisations which was spread throughout the year from Human Rights, Government, Private Sector Businesses, Sugar and Agriculture, Tourism, Media, etc.
The most valuable personal gain from the Program for Rajesh was the networking. Firstly, with all the participants of the Leadership Fiji 2002 program and that they continue to remain connected today, and always catch up for lunch from time to time. And secondly, with the other Leadership Fiji year groups as he is able to meet and connect with everyone through the Leadership Fiji Alumni membership.
After completing the Leadership Fiji Program, in 2003 some of the Leadership Fiji inaugural program participants were invited to join the Samabula Old People’s Home on their Board of Visitors (now called the Golden Age Home Samabula). Four of them are continuing to serve the Golden Age Home to-date, and they are Mohammed Ali Maqbool as Chairperson, Marica Rokovada-Hallacy as Secretary, Eseta Nadakuitavuki as Board Member and Rajesh as the Treasurer. For Rajesh, this is one of the most fulfilling roles, he’s ever had.
Rajesh joined the Rotary Club of Suva in 2015 and Rotary’s principal motto is “Service Above Self”. Through Rotary Club of Suva, he is also a member of Rotary International whose stated purpose is to bring together business and professional leaders to provide humanitarian service and to advance goodwill and peace around the world. It is a non-political and non-religious organization that is also open to all. Through Rotary Club of Suva, Rajesh has also been able to contribute to other communities in Fiji.
Rajesh is proud to be part of the 470 plus Leadership Fiji Alumni members from around the country, as apart from the program developing and further strengthening his career at Motibhai Group of Companies, it has allowed him to support the community in a more meaningful way.
For Rajesh, being appointed as the Chairperson of the Leadership Fiji Community Fund has been very rewarding and an honour to be called upon to serve and support such a noble cause. He acknowledges the Board of Leadership Fiji and his Leadership Fiji Community Fund Committee for their support.