By Annie Pettit
Canadians have built many much-loved and successful brands for products and services we count on in our day-to-day lives. Some brands come to mind easily when we slip on a pair of funky Fluevog heels, or enjoy a quarter chicken dinner at Swiss Chalet. Other brands may not come to mind so quickly, but they play a huge role in making our world a better place by acting as good world citizens.
One of those brands is WE Charity, a Canadian brand founded by Craig Kielburger in 1995. This brand, which exudes a wealth of Canadian values, evolved out of Craig’s work on a school project about children forced into bonded labour. As a 13 year old, the project profoundly resonated with him, leading to the establishment of “Free the Children,” and, eventually, “Me to We” which funds the Free the Children program.
Twenty-two years later, Craig continues to be the driving force behind the child’s rights charity which is active in about 10 000 schools in Canada, USA, and the UK, and runs projects in Asia, Africa, and Latin America that focus on children and education. Among many ambitious programs run by the charity, one very Canadian program is the “We Stand Together” campaign which shares the history, culture, and traditions of aboriginal Canada with students across the country.
WE charity lists many fabulous accomplishments on their website including:
- Nearly 658,000 youth earned their way to WE Day by working for local or global causes
- 6M hours volunteered for local and global causes
- 9M hours of silence logged for those denied their rights, both at home and around the world
- $79M has been raised for more than 6,500 local and global organizations
- 8M pounds of food collected by youth for local food banks
- 4M Facebook supporters
- Since 2007, WE Day participants in Canada, the U.S. and UK have raised $45 million, which was given to more than 1,000 charities
Amassing so many volunteer hours, so many donations, and so much awareness for disadvantaged children are amazing accomplishments. On top of that, Mission Measurement has been evaluating the Free the Children program from the point of view of the youth volunteers. Mission Measurement credits the Free The Children charity with expanding the lives of their participants who:
- are encouraged to be more purposeful and successful in school,
- are a lot more interested in school,
- are more passionate and able to connect their curriculum to real-world events,
- are more likely to be leaders across issues,
- are more likely to vote, and
- work better in teams, lead projects, speak up, and work collaboratively.
All of these accomplishments speak directly to the Me to We philosophy. Rather than focusing on just ME, focusing on WE brings vastly greater returns. In the case of the WE Charity, the lives of thousands of less advantaged people are improved and enriched through better education. And, the lives of thousands of volunteers are improved by teaching them leadership and collaboration skills. This is a great philosophy to enhance not only the image of a brand or service, but also their financial performance and the growth of their employees. With that in mind, can you identify whether your brand is all about you and what your company can accomplish, or does it truly seek to build collaboration, respect, and trust among a wider group of people, not only among everyone within the four walls of your organization but also among those outside the four walls?
With so many inspirational accomplishments, it’s easy to recognize WE charity for so poignantly representing Canada as a good world citizen. We thank you for it.