WE Day


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WINNIPEG FREE PRESS SPECIAL FEATURE | SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2015 | PAGE 3 By Craig and Marc Kielburger 20 LESSONS IN SHIFTING THE WORLD FROM "ME" TO "WE" W hen you start your career as a teenager, there's a con- siderable learning curve. Over two decades, we've worked with students, teachers, parents and spon- sors to grow an international charity, start a thriving social enterprise and a global youth empowerment event. Along the way, we've learned that the novelty of being 12 wears off — quickly. We also learned that there is no prototype for a social enterprise in Canada (only after starting one). Most importantly, we learned the power of WE. We've been at it for 20 years and we'll be at it for at least another 20. And it's those lessons suffered the hard way that will enlighten the next stage of our journey to empower young people to change the world. Here, in no particular order, are the top 20 things we've learned over 20 years. 1. Young people are problem solv- ers, not problems to be solved. 2. If you don't want your kid to change the world, hide the news- paper and the tablet. 3. Teaching one person to fish is not enough. Encourage that person to teach 100 people how to fish — and feed an entire community for generations. 4. It's very helpful when Oprah Win- frey does a show on your charity. It's very, very helpful when she does five. 5. We won't be upset if our charity goes out of business. A successful charity works with communities until it is no longer needed. 6. Clean water quenches more than thirst. Girls in developing com- munities walk hours to fetch water — building a well can send them to school. 7. People in developing communi- ties are not passive recipients of kindness. When we work with them as partners, listening to their needs and knowledge, we are as much transformed as they are. 8. Business and charity can come together to tackle the world's toughest problems. 9. You can't just build a schoolhouse and call it education. A school needs teachers, textbooks, and pencils. We also have to work together to topple the barriers to education and provide clean water, health, alternative income and food security. Y ou open your mailbox to find a photo of a child with pleading eyes. You're stopped in the street and asked to become a monthly sponsor. The appeals to help are con- stant, but you wonder where the money goes. When charities solicit donations with street canvassers or telemarketers, a good chunk of the money goes back into the fundraising machine. But today, the most innovative charities create value for the donor, eliminating the need for ex- pensive campaigns. Take Free The Children and ME to WE. The charity and social enterprise have teamed up with Staples, which sells ME to WE school sup- plies in more than 300 of its stores across Can- ada. Every purchase makes an impact in one of Free The Children's partner communities over- seas. A charity or social enterprise couldn't get that kind of exposure — product placement or brand ambassadors for its programming — going solo. "We could never pay for 300 mall kiosks or staff them with thousands of employees," says Marc Kielburger, co-founder of Free The Chil- dren and ME to WE. "But in this model, Staples pays us." Welcome to the future of charity, where non-profits are leveraging the power of compa- nies to change the world. For ME to WE, Staples lends infrastructure and trains staff to speak about the products and their social impact. And shoppers make a mean- ingful connection to the communities affected. The partnership also uses technology to create transparency for the consumer with a program called Track Your Impact; every ME to WE prod- uct has an eight-digit code. Enter the code online at trackyourimpact.com, and it ties the purchase directly to a developing community — you can pin-point it on a map. Track Your Impact also features profiles and stories about the family or child who will benefit from the purchase with a life-changing gift. Inter-sector marriages are mutually beneficial, and they are becoming more and more necessary. The number of Canadian donors and the amount they give has been falling since 2005, CHARITY-BUSINESS PARTNERSHIPS: THE NEW FACE OF DOING GOOD By Katie Hewitt Free The Children partners with corporations to: Make WE Day free. RBC and TELUS underwrite the cost of WE Day across Canada. Freshii feeds staff and volunteers. Leverage supply chains. DHL ships ME to WE Rafiki Bracelets, handmade by Kenyan ma- mas, around the world. Access cutting-edge technology. TELUS supported the development of the WE365 app, providing in-kind technology services and programming on Internet safety. Provide in-kind support. Lawyers at Torys LLP offer pro-bono legal advice. KPMG helps with business development. Students in rural China gather for class in their new school room, built in partnership with Free e Children. Kenyan artisans with a completed order of handmade accessories, ready for shipment. DHL has delivered 1.3 million pieces of jewelry made by artisans in Free e Children's partner communities. according to the Fraser Institute's 2014 Gen- erosity Index. Meanwhile, deficit-wracked governments are cutting support. Where's the money for world-changing go- ing to come from? In 2014, three per cent of Free The Children's income came from gov- ernments; 37 per cent from companies. Instead of paying for street canvassers or television ads, the charity forms creative corporate partnerships to keep its adminis- tration rate below 10 per cent — from lever- aging supply chains to accessing resources to in-kind support. DHL, for instance, ships ME to WE Rafikis, handmade by Kenyan mamas, around the world. At WE Day, Free The Children's glob- al youth empowerment event, companies provide thousands of volunteers annually. Corporate sponsors also enable 130,000 stu- dents and educators to attend Canadian WE Day events for free every year, from a diverse group of 5,000 schools across the country. Because of corporate sponsorship, youth from low socio-economic status communi- ties and schools are able to attend WE Day, and are given more opportunities to experi- ence the benefits of service and leadership development. "Everyone deserves the opportunity to change the world," says Kielburger. Corporate charity once meant cutting a cheque for the tax write-off. Now, enlight- ened companies understand the strategic advantages that come with adopting a social mission. High-impact charitable programs build brand awareness, and numerous stud- ies show that corporate volunteer programs increase employee engagement and produc- tivity. Charities unlock extraordinary potential when they partner with businesses, fulfilling a social mission with fewer resources and leaving more money for projects. The new non-profit sector doesn't just so- licit donations; it creates impact. It can even create value. 10. Give a school a vegetable garden and you give students a lesson in agriculture, and the opportu- nity to learn valuable life and in- come-earning skills. 11. Smart businesses don't just cut cheques for charity. They use their resources and skills to sup- port social change, and make it part of their corporate mission. 12. Enrol a girl in school and you pro- vide an education — and the solu- tion to a vast number of social challenges, from gender inequal- ity to child marriage. 13. The best place to create world-changers is in the class- room, where volunteer service should be as important as math or geography. 14. From bullying to mental illness, celebs aren't afraid to be vulner- able and share difficult first-per- son stories to connect with peo- ple on a cause they care about. 15. Don't be afraid to stand up and ask others to join you. Friends, co-workers and neighbours are waiting for someone to lead them. 16. One + one = 800. Sounds like we don't know our math. But in 2014, we fixed two wells in rural India that provided clean water to over 800 families during the dry season. 17. Kids know the power of a single penny. Did you know one million pennies builds a classroom in Kenya? Kids can also carry a co- lossal amount of canned food — donating some 7.6 million pounds of goods for local food banks since WE Day started. 18. Magic Johnson really is that tall, that cool and that generous as a financial supporter of our work. 19. If you can dream it, you can do it. You just have to work really hard, ask for advice, and surround yourself with people who are just as passionate. 20. "WE" is the answer to the ques- tion: I'm just one person, what difference can I make? Craig and Marc Kielburger co-founded Free The Children, WE Day and ME to WE. Together, WE.org is a family of or- ganizations that work to empower each of us to make the world a better place. Visit us online at WE.org. 3616853 1 10/28/15 4:42:19 PM

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