Leadership Fiji launches fund to help communities

L-R: Leadership Fiji CEO Sharyne Fong, community fund committee member Ritesh Chand, chairman Rajesh Patel, board chairman William Parkinson, Community Fund committee member Anare Manulevu, community fund secretary Ioane Nawaikula and committee member Tailei Ravono during the launch in Suva yesterday. Picture: JONA KONATACI

Leadership Fiji has launched a community fund to take advantage of the more than 430 Leadership Fiji alumni and its 20 years of work in the community through charitable projects.

Chairman Rajesh Patel said the fund already had $160,000, thanks to the generosity of the Parkinson Pacific Foundation (PPF) and contributions from various Leadership Fiji groups.

He said COVID-19 had presented a lot of challenges for Fiji and the Leadership Fiji community fund was one way the alumni could give back.

He said funding would be sourced from organisations, donors, aid funds, Leadership Fiji alumni and individuals.

Mr Patel said the alumni had already undertaken a number of community projects including the purchase and delivery of a tractor and plough worth $40,000 to Montfort Boys Town, support of TEDx Suva events and scholarships to participants in the Leadership Fiji signature program.

“Our goal is to focus on small grants of $5000 to $10,000, recognising this is an area that large donor organisations find difficult to support,” he said.

“This is an important new initiative for the Leadership Fiji community and it comes at a critical time for Fiji.

“Thanks to support from the Parkinson Pacific Foundation and contributions from the various Leadership Fiji year groups who have donated left over funds from community projects, we are able to announce that we have $160,000 to potentially distribute.

“Based on successful distribution of these funds, the PPF has committed to donating a minimum of $70,000 per annum to the fund over the next three years.”

Speaking on behalf of the Parkinson Pacific Foundation, William Parkinson said he hoped other Fijian donors and philanthropists would “see this as a great way of making a difference in these difficult times in an effective and transparent manner”.

The community fund is ready to receive applications for funding in the 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 environment projects.

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