Founded in 2009 to provide economic opportunity in WE Village communities and a sustainable source of funding for WE Charity, ME to WE has grown into a global force for good.
ME to WE Social Enterprises supports the work of WE Charity through three principle avenues
Annual donations averaging over 90% of its profits to WE Charity (read more). Over the years, ME to WE Social Enterprise has donated in excess of 20-million dollars in cash and cost-offsetting in-kind services.
Creating empowering jobs in underserved rural WE Village regions around the world in eco-travel, artisans products, and Fairtrade consumables to help families lift themselves out of poverty.
Providing services to assist the charity, especially hosting at ME to WE travel locations WE Charity donors who are visiting charity projects and youth service trip scholarship. This has resulted in tens of millions of dollars directly donated by these funders to WE Charity.
A few quick facts:
To ensure the highest propriety in our finances and governance, external experts helped to deign the social enterprise structure. ME to WE’s business structure, and the legal relationship to WE Charity, have been reviewed by multiple eminent legal experts including the former Prime Minister John Turner and former Supreme Court of Canada Justice Peter Cory.
Auditors have confirmed that no dividends have ever been paid by ME to WE Social Enterprise. Meaning, since founding, 100% profit have either been donated to WE Charity for social impact programs or reinvested to grow ME to WE Social Enterprise and its social mission (read more). ME to WE Social Enterprise clearly exists for social impact.
Both internal controls, external reviews, and auditors have confirmed that any financial interactions between the two entities has ensured that WE Charity has disproportionality benefited. For example, ME to WE has developed staffing and capabilities to host service trips at locations near WE Village communities. When requested by WE Charity, ME to WE will host youth on trip scholarship or host WE Charity donors.
In order to ensure full transparency, the Honourable Stephen T. Goudge conducted a 2019 review of ME to WE, including the salaries of its co-founders Craig Kielburger and Marc Kielburger. All is publicly available here.
To ensure that the jobs and social impact of ME to WE meet the highest standers, ME to WE practices and sourcing been independently reviewed by BCorp and Fairtrade Foundation.
When we launched ME to WE, the idea of social enterprise was still relatively new in Canada. Although we were building on the work of pioneers like Grameen Bank, Goodwill and Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore, Canadian business and tax laws still made it difficult to earn profit to support a charitable cause. Canadian CRA regulations limit the ability of charities to engage in commerce. In order to follow CRA guidelines, a separate legal entity was launched: ME to WE Social Enterprise.
To build a successful social enterprise model, and ensure the highest propriety in our finances and governance, we called on independent expertise, and engaged multiple experts and legal groups to review the structure.
Jason Saul, CEO of Mission Measurement, conducted a review of ME to WE, and concluded: “What I found most impressive is the ME to WE business model: the organization is designed to be financially self-sufficient by using market-based strategies to advance important social outcomes. I think that ME to WE should serve as an exemplar for how to generate economic value by advancing a social mission.”
Total cash and in-kind donations made to WE Charity as of 2017
Social impacts funded and delivered through product purchases
Number of artisans in Kenya and Ecuador empowered with financial literacy
Our vision: To empower people to transform local and global communities by shifting from “me” thinking to “we” acting. We measure the bottom line by the people empowered and the lives transformed. Living ME to WE means working together to create sustainable change, and making a difference with everything you do—from choosing travel that leaves a positive footprint on the planet to making purchases that give back.
Our mission: Inspire and enable people to do good through their everyday choices. ME to WE creates options for consumers like you, who want to make informed decisions about what you experience and buy, knowing your actions will help empower people and transform lives, making the world a better place.
WE Charity is our charity partner and our best friend in changing the world. Using a highly effective model, ME to WE is structured to offset expenses and help provide pro bono services to WE Charity’s efforts at home and abroad. ME to WE donates a minimum 50% of its net profits to support WE Charity, while the balance is reinvested to grow the mission of the social enterprise. Learn more about WE Charity.
It started with one beaded piece and a handful of mamas. We wanted to connect them to women around the world, so we called the bracelet rafiki, meaning friend in Swahili. Now, we work with 1,800 artisans in Kenya and Ecuador, empowering them to earn a sustainable income for their beautiful handiwork and to create brighter futures for their families.
Now, these mamas have begun businesses of their own, leading their communities in showing that women can not only earn an income, but also become leaders and role models for the next generation.
Roxanne Joyal was inspired to create ME to WE Artisans after traveling to Kenya in 2010 and witnessing talented Maasai women selling their beautiful beadwork at a loss. Roxanne reached out to form a partnership with these women, one that would give them access to a wider market for their jewelry and a sustainable income.
Today, we have partnerships with thousands of women in Kenya, and more recently in Ecuador, where they have access to entrepreneurship workshops, small business training and mentorship from expert local artisans. Our design team collaborates with the artisans to create a mix of modern and traditional designs at our atelier. Roxanne’s vision has paved the way for these women in building a brighter future, not just for them and their families but for generations to come. In recognition of her groundbreaking work, Roxanne was honored with the Order of Canada in May 2017.
B Corp (short for Benefit Corporation) certification is to business what Fairtrade is to coffee or Energy Star to appliances. It’s a guarantee, backed by rigorous assessment, that a organization is making a positive impact on its local and global community. ME to WE has been a proud certified B Corp since 2015 and scores among the top 5% of all Canadian organizations that are certified.