Our Link with Fundacao Estudar
An Interview with Fundacao Estudar November 2007
Our Administrator Tim Young gave an exclusive interview to Fundacao Estudar, a Brazilian charity with whom we have had a close working relationship. Tim's interview was translated into Portuguese and was a key feature in the recent Fundacao Estudar newsletter circulated to all their alumni around the globe plus their sponsors and partner charitable organizations.
Q: The Rank Foundation has invested in more than one thousand Sixth Form students in United Kingdom in the last 30 years. Why?
Lord Rank, the originator of the Foundation, was very aware of the importance of encouraging leadership among young people. The School Leadership Award Scheme was started to help young people of outstanding leadership potential whose family financial situation would prevent them completing their studies at school. The thought behind this is that society in general benefits from having well-educated leaders. Those leaders who have received support at a key stage in their lives will have a heightened understanding of the interdependence of society and the value of helping others. Rank Fellows (graduates of the School Leadership Award Scheme) have made a difference to society as lawyers, priests, schoolteachers, diplomats, businessmen, doctors, creative artists, Not for Profit executives and so on.
Q: What is the importance of the leadership for the future of UK? Can this strategy also be used in Brazil?
All countries need leaders of the highest quality to face the social, political and environmental challenges of the modern world. Many in the UK are appreciating the value of explicit leadership at a time when published and broadcast media are heavily concerned with sensationalism, superficiality and temporary celebrity. Promoting the importance of leadership also promotes important shared values.
Q: Is it very different promoting the leadership in a developed country or in a country in development as Brazil?
Promoting leadership can be different in societies with different levels of material comfort. Once people have their material needs catered for, it can be theoretically easier to emphasize the non-material bonds that create a united society with shared values and priorities. In practice, those who have less often seem more willing to reinforce those bonds. The idea of leadership as service to the society around one is common to all environments.
Q: In 2003, Fred Packard (who became Chairman of the Rank Foundation in 2000) decided to put all the past Rank Foundation fellows together and created the Rank Fellowship. Fred Packard was inspired in this action by the success of the Fundacao Estudar. How and why?
Fred became Chairman of The Rank Foundation in 2000. His close relationship with the founders of the Fundacao was an important factor in his "Eureka" moment. While lying in his bath one day, he realized the potential of a similar network in the UK, particularly with the emphasis on leadership in the Award Scheme. His initiatives have raised the awareness of leadership issues among those on the Award Scheme: the young men and women supported by the Foundation go on residential community placements in their summer holidays, they attend leadership seminars and they enjoy all the benefits of the Fellowship network.
Q: Fundacao Estudar and the Rank Fellowship have similar objectives: to promote networking and mutual support among Fellows and to encourage them to invest time and effort in voluntary activities. Both organizations are exchanging experiences. Which are the advantages of this relationship?
It is an exciting time for us as we discover other similar networks and organizations from other countries. In addition to our relationship with Fundacao Estudar, we are currently exploring links with a North African network and with the Qatar Foundation. We have been approached by an Indian charitable foundation which is planning to set up a school leadership scheme. Practical advantages of these contacts include improved means of communication within our networks, leadership conferences, charitable interaction, work experience, school links and so on.
Q: Rank Fellowship tries to put together their fellows who have the same interest in a particular type charity work. Why?
Our recent Charities Evening at the Royal Society of Arts in London brought together fourteen charities and seventy Rank Fellows and their guests. Charities were able to call on legal advice, help with public relations, fundraising expertise, specialist property advice and so on.
Q: What is the importance of promoting the meeting among young and seniors Fellows of The Rank Fellowship?
The wisdom and experience of older Fellows blends extremely well with the optimism and energy of the younger members of the Fellowship. Actually, they are all energetic since our oldest Fellow is only 45! Younger Fellows receive so much from their membership of the Scheme and the network. It is natural that they will want to give back to the Fellowship and to society in general when they are able to do so later on.
Q: In your opinion, it would be interesting if Fundacao Estudar and Rank Fellowship promote a similar approach among their respective Fellows. Why?
We have a great deal in common and each organization has travelled a long way in a comparatively short time. We are full of admiration for Fundacao Estudar and we look forward to learning more and sharing experiences from our growing connections with you.