WE Charity always seeks to steward donations with the utmost care and to ensure donations have the greatest impact on the lives of children in Canada and around the world.
WE Charity’s Board of Directors is establishing a Standing Committee on Donor Transparency (SCDT), with the mandate to, among other things, inquire into any specific concerns that may be raised by any past, present, or future donor. The committee’s Chair is Gerry Connolly, WE Charity Board member since 2011 and the former Director of Education of Toronto District School Board. Ms. Connolly invites any donor with an inquiry or complaint to contact to her via [email protected]
The first priority of the SCDT will be to investigate the circumstances surrounding the removal of one of the plaques commemorating Reed Cowan’s 2006 donation to support a schoolhouse in memory of his son. The plaque was remounted in January 2021 once this came to our attention. Mr. Cowan and his organization directly raised tens of thousands of dollars for WE Charity supporting four schoolhouses in Kenya, which continue to operate today. Moreover, we now know that at least one other sponsor of the same Kenyan village at approximately the same timeframe of 15-years ago may not have received promised plaque recognition. We are in the process of reviewing our records, to the extent that we have them from that time period, in order to properly and respectfully address these concerns. (For our donors, please note that WE Charity phased-out plaque recognition on schools to respect community wishes.)
WE Charity engages in sustainable development work that empowers communities as active partners in positive change. Aligned with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, WE Charity employs our five-pillar sustainable development model that addresses the underlying challenges that lead to extreme poverty by providing: education, health care, clean water and sanitation, food security and economic opportunity.
All elements of the WE Villages model are designed to be owned and maintained by the community. On average, through our partnerships with the communities we work in, we seek to finish our work with a village in 5-7 years.
As our promise to our donors enabling sustainable impact, WE Charity seeks to put the needs of the communities we serve first. A village’s needs may shift, requiring a redeployment of committed funds or raising additional funds to support the village. WE Charity’s model delivers both physical infrastructure (e.g. building a schoolhouse etc.) and community capacity building (e.g. teacher training, student inoculations etc.). Both are essential. Working in partnership with the community, we direct funding to the area of greatest need, first.
When donors support programs such a farm animal or a schoolhouse, those funds are often pooled to help villages, as is common with other major international development organizations. WE Charity has sought to communicate this development model via websites and other materials for well-over a decade, including HERE and at the checkout for donations made HERE.
In the spirit of continuous improvement, WE routinely engages independent third-parties to evaluate every facet of our organization – from our workplace culture to our governance and finances – to learn, improve and grow our impact. As part of our commitment to transparency, we have published these reports on our website.
We are also proud to have received unqualified audits every year, and in keeping with our commitment to openness and transparency, all audited financial statements for WE Charity, the ME to WE Foundation, and the WE Well-being Foundation, are available on our website.
We are grateful for your support over the years, and the contribution you have made to empowering people in developing communities to lift themselves out of poverty. Together, over the past 25 years, we have brought about fundamental change and lasting impacts to the developing world. None of the life-saving impacts could have been possible without you.
Below are links to pages and reports that we hope will be helpful in answering any further questions you might have.