Who: Youcef Lekadir, managing partner, Lekadir LLP
The donation: $175K+
The recipient: University of Ottawa
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The inspiration: “I remember back when I was attending the University of Ottawa and trying to balance school and work because being a student athlete has unique challenges. There are huge time commitments on the ice or the field, which means it is difficult to work at the same time as going to school. Support for student athletes is key,” says Youcef Lekadir, managing partner, Lekadir LLP.
Fond memories come alive for uOttawa alumnus Youcef Lekadir when he reflects on his time playing for the Gee-Gees and studying business more than a decade ago. Those reflections, coupled with some of the issues student athletes face, inspired Lekadir, who graduated in 2012, to give back to the university he attended.
He has donated more than $175,000 to support the Gee-Gees football program and students at the Telfer School of Management at uOttawa.
Lekadir is the managing partner of a chartered accounting firm Lekadir LLP, which provides assurance, tax and advisory services.
“Now that my business has taken off, it is important to give back. I enjoyed my time on the field and as a student at uOttawa. I made lifelong friends. I like giving back to the university,” adds Lekadir.
The generous donation provides a hand-up for some student athletes with first and last month’s rent, tuition and books. In addition, all Gee-Gees football players receive a new pair of cleats to start off the season. The months of August and September can be financially challenging for football players, as they need to report to camp in mid-August and therefore cannot work all summer.
Lekadir also created a scholarship for a student athlete from any Gee-Gees team who is studying accounting at the Telfer School of Management at the University of Ottawa.
“The gift from Youcef to support student athletes impacts them greatly. Whether they are from a single parent family or struggling to pay for books; we know students make sacrifices to be an athlete,” says Marcel Bellefeuille, head football coach with the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees.
From 2007-2010, Lekadir, an avid volunteer, played football for the Gee-Gees and received football scholarships while he earned a BComm in accounting from uOttawa.
“The student athletes are sometimes a forgotten group, but they are tomorrow’s leaders who volunteer in the community. The level of gratitude for Youcef’s generosity cannot be measured by what we say,” adds Bellefeuille.