Last Updated on May 3, 2021
Many business leaders pay lip service to community involvement without ever spending that much time making their community a better place.
Dr. Vivek Cheba doesn’t just talk about community — he’s an active part of it. Through his philanthropic organization, Dr. Cheba focuses on personal, face-to-face connections with the at-risk children and adults of his community, empowering them to live healthy lives — on their own terms.
He sat down for a few minutes to explain how he gets involved in the communities he serves as a dental and orthodontic practitioner.
Thanks for taking the time for this, Dr. Cheba. You’re a busy dentist. Why is it important to you to find the time for charity work?
Vivek Cheba: Great communities foster great people. And great people build great communities. It’s always been important for me to feel connected to my community. I support many organizations because I understand that community involvement and volunteering can really make a difference. I’ve seen it.
You’re involved with several charitable organizations. Where are you focusing your efforts right now?
Vivek Cheba: Let me think. I’m involved in the Ronald McDonald House, Red Deer Regional Hospital, Aspire Special Needs Resource Centre, and the Child Advocacy Centre. I helped these organizations with volunteering at their functions and with donations.
I have done a lot of charitable work over the past eight years. Forced to choose, I’d say the biggest projects were what we did with Aspire Special Needs, Central Alberta Child Advocacy Center, and the Canada Winter Games Foundation.
I’d like to know more about how you were able to help the Aspire Special Needs Resource Centre. What projects with Aspire are you most proud of?
Vivek Cheba: We did many great things for Aspire. We raised over $100,000 in 2015 during our Annual Celebrity Dance-Off event. So that helped a lot. The funds we raised all went towards upgrading Aspire’s facilities so they could continue operating in the location where they were. We increased the number of special needs clients served and we improved the programming.
Also, we donated $10,000 for Aspire’s Annual Decadent Dessert fundraisers. Again, the money helped support programming for the children with special needs that are helped by the Aspire Special Needs Resource Centre.
And we provided orthodontic services for children we met through Aspire who otherwise did not have access to care and who would have gone untreated. We treated the children with special needs at no cost.
You’ve also supported the Canada Winter Games. Are there specific examples of work with them that you’d like to share with us?
Vivek Cheba: Sure, we purchased 10,000 tickets to the Canada Winter Games through the Opportunity for Everyone program. The tickets were given to people who wouldn’t be able to attend without some help.
That’s one example, but I’ve spent hours volunteering my time helping with fundraising and, really, I’ve seen the difference a person can make when they put others before themselves.
Do you see yourself as a leader in your community? If so, how do you approach leadership of philanthropic efforts?
Vivek Cheba: Actions speak even louder than money. I like to show up. I try to bring a lot of energy to the community through my charitable activities. I find that this encourages others. If you just tell people they should get involved, that’s not leadership. And they’re not going to do it, anyway. Leading by example is what I try to do.
But I primarily do this work for its own sake, and for what it gives back. This work helps with my overall mental, physical and spiritual balance. If we live in positive, sharing communities, we’re better people. More importantly, we’re better together than apart.