Global Charity Free The Children and Social Enterprise ME to WE Celebrate New Brand – WE

Today, after more than two decades of growth, global charity Free The Children and its social enterprise partner ME to WE reinvent themselves under the umbrella brand of “WE”.

Uniting people to live WE and providing the tools needed to actively address pressing local and global issues, the organizations have already inspired millions to change the world while developing a successful, sustainable model. As Free The Children and ME to WE’s work evolved and expanded to achieve greater transformative outcomes, so did the organization’s look and feel. Guided by the governance of both the Free The Children and ME to WE separately structured boards of directors and the vision of its co-founders, Craig and Marc Kielburger, James Powell, the organization’s Head of Brand and brand expert Stanley Hainsworth, CCO of Tether – which was the agency of record on the project – the charity, social enterprise and movement has reinvented itself as WE.

“I started this organization when I was 12-years-old and now we find ourselves at an exciting new chapter in our 21-year journey,” said Craig Kielburger, co-founder of WE. “With millions of passionate change-makers involved in our programs, we have come to the exciting decision that now is the right time to evolve and elevate our brand to WE. This brand update will provide the opportunity to more powerfully follow through on our mission to empower people to change the world through our work at home, abroad and through our social enterprise.”

“WE has always been part of who we are; part of our culture, and now our brand truly embodies the concept of WE. Working with the team at Tether, we’ve streamlined our family of organizations under one dynamic brand that furthers our mission of empowering people to change the world both domestically and internationally,” said James Powell, WE Global Head of Brand. Powell’s 20-year marketing career has seen him lead teams and work to build successful brands like Virgin Mobile, Nike, TELUS, Kobo and more. “We tell stories that empower and inspire change and now, with a unified look, tone and feel we’re able to do that in a more powerful way.”

“All brands tell a story and I feel so privileged to work with WE and have the opportunity to help tell this one. A good brand is one that engages you and has heart – WE is exactly that,” said Stanley Hainsworth, CCO of Tether. Hainsworth is a branding expert, having written the “brand books” that define Starbucks, Nike and LEGO®. “The world needs a big idea to rally around and I think the brand image that WE has created will resonate with people and make them feel welcome.”

The brand evolution was developed in step with guidance and engagement with the organizations’ outside advisors, legal experts and the Free The Children and ME to WE Boards of Directors. Through their expertise they played an integral governance role ensuring the brand work achieved the outcome of a dynamic reinvented brand that meets the highest of governance standards, including maintaining a clear separation between the financial structure of the charitable and social enterprise divisions of WE.

“We are fortunate to have a dynamic, dedicated and experienced Board of Directors to help us further our mission, ensure the highest values and integrity of the organization and are always on a path striving to be better, said Michelle Douglas, Director, International Relations at the Department of Justice Canada and Chair of WE Charity’s North American Board of Directors. “We are excited to see the amplification of WE come to life and the impact of our work continue to grow under the umbrella of our reinvented brand.”

So, what is WE?

WE is a movement that brings people together and gives them the tools to change the world. A unique family of organizations, WE is made up of two divisions: WE Charity and ME to WE social enterprise, which empower people to make a difference at home and globally. The celebration of that change happens at WE Day – inspiring stadium-sized life-changing events that take place around the world.

  •   WE Charity is the charitable division of WE empowering change with resources that create sustainable impact. This is done through the charity’s domestic programming like WE Schools and internationally through the sustainable development model, Free The Children’s WE Villages

    Domestically, over 2.4 million students live WE at school by being engaged in service learning through the WE Schools program and campaigns.

    Through free educational resources and service campaigns, students further their curricular learning and develop the life skills for success including academic engagement, civic engagement and workplace readiness.

    Over 10,000 schools, tens of thousands of educators and hundreds of thousands of students are thriving in the WE Schools program across North America and the U.K.

    Internationally, the organization’s holistic and sustainable international development model, Free The Children’s WE Villages, works in eight developing countries to deliver five Pillars of Impact to partner communities: education, water, healthcare, food, and alternate income opportunities. To date, WE Charity has built more than 1,000 schools and school rooms, giving 200,000 children the opportunity to gain an education, helping families break the cycle of poverty and empowering communities to help themselves.

  •   ME to WE Social Enterprise creates socially conscious products and experiences that allow people to do good through their everyday choices. These products and services include handmade ME to WE artisans accessories, ME to WE trips and ME to We leadership programming. Half of all ME to WE profits are donated to support WE Charity, while the other half is reinvested to grow the mission of the social enterprise. ME to WE is a fully transparent model backed by its Track Your Impact promise. The positive impact of products and experiences can be traced to the Free The Children’s WE Villages partner community where it was delivered.

    In 2015 ME to WE was certified as the 150th B Corporation in Canada. Certified B CorporationsTM are leaders of a global movement of people using business as a force for goodTM. As a Certified B Corp, ME to WE voluntarily meets rigorous standards of overall social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability.

  •   WE Day is the manifestation of the WE movement. People coming together, filling stadiums around the globe to experience the greatest classroom in the world for a full day, live event. You can’t buy a ticket to WE Day. You earn your entry by taking action on one local and one global cause. WE Day brings together world-renowned speakers and award-winning performers with millions of young people and families to celebrate and inspire another year of incredible change. Through live webcasts in school gyms and national primetime broadcasts in multiple countries, WE Day proves that together, WE will change the world.

Anyone can find their place within the WE movement. Whether you are a parent looking for support in raising caring and compassionate children or an employee looking to empower a kinder more engaged workplace, WE offers programs and experiences that encourage people to live WE at home, at work or for themselves.

Learn more about the WE movement at www.we.org.

TORONTO, ON (July 20, 2016)

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