Our celebrity ambassadors lend their voices, time and talent to help us empower young people to change the world. From the WE Day stage they shine a spotlight on the causes close to their hearts, from bullying and mental health to education and human rights. Many also travel overseas to meet with children and families in WE Charity’s partner communities, and afterward raise awareness and funds for its sustainable development model.
Since 2010, our celebrity ambassadors have donated and/or raised over $3 million to support the work of WE Charity. We are deeply grateful to have active celebrity ambassadors who help forward the mission of the organization.
Nelly Furtado: The Spirit Indestructible
“I’ve always had this fire inside of me to make a difference. But I never came across the right fit until I was invited to go to Kenya with WE Charity. And when I got there I felt a change in me—feeling my heart just crack wide open, in a great way, letting all of that light in. It was equally inspiring to see all these young people who worked with WE Charity and the joy they got from their work.”
Whether she’s belting out a show-stopping single in front of thousands of WE Day youth or giving an intimate music lesson to a handful of high school girls in a small classroom in rural Kenya, Nelly Furtado doesn’t hold back.
The Grammy Award-winner has tirelessly championed girls’ education since visiting WE Charity’s first all-girls secondary school in the Maasai Mara. Nelly saw how attending high school opened up unprecedented opportunities for the girls she met. But she also encountered many others who wouldn’t get the chance.
So when she performed at WE Day Toronto in 2011, Nelly announced a $1 million donation, half of which would establish a matching fund to build a new all-girls school in rural Kenya. Today, Oleleshwa All Girls Secondary School gives hundreds of young Kenyan women an education. Nelly personally provided full scholarships for five of them.
Now a veteran of six WE Days and four international volunteer trips, Nelly knows how our programs work on an intimate level. We couldn’t prouder to have her as an ambassador.
“It’s not a band-aid charity. They come in and work with communities. They let communities tell them what they want and need, and I’m honored to be an ambassador.”
Kardinal Offishall: The Anthem-Writer
“It’s not about me, it’s about all of us working in solidarity together. This is all about change, this is about empowerment and this is about love.”
Kardinal Offishall has been one of our closest friends and most outspoken supporters since he joined us at WE Day Toronto in 2011. Today, Canada’s ambassador for hip-hop has become a main event at WE Days from Toronto to Seattle and an ambassador for WE Charity on a global scale.
He even re-mixed and re-released his hit single “Turn It Up” as “WE Turn It Up”, which became the official WE Day Dance anthem.
In 2013, Kardinal visited WE Charity communities in rural Kenya and helped build a medical clinic. He got an on-the-ground look at our development programs and saw an opportunity to open the eyes of young North Americans to global issues. Since then, he’s raised $100,000 through his organization, 30 Elephants, to send 18 inner-city youth on international volunteer trips to build community and discover their leadership potential.
“When WE Charity works with them, what comes out of that is an amazing success that I think should be implemented in many different places around the world.”
Demi Lovato: The Globetrotter
“Everybody, no matter how little, or how old, you have a voice and you can do something with it. You can eventually change someone’s life or multiple lives.”
When Demi Lovato joined WE Charity in Kenya for her 21st birthday in 2013, we had trouble wrapping her gift.
To celebrate the international pop star’s big day, one of our partner communities gave her a goat—an important source of milk and income for Maasai families. For Demi, who took a pass on a traditional birthday bash to volunteer building an x-ray clinic in the Maasai Mara, it meant the world. She named him Billy.
On that trip, Demi dove deep into our programs to learn about how we work with developing communities to find sustainable solutions to poverty. She literally walked in the footsteps of the local women, joining them barefoot on a hike to haul 20-litre jerry cans from the river back to their homes.
Demi’s journey to help communities overseas continues today. On her last world tour, she brought along WE Day speaker and hero Spencer West to open her show with a message of inspiration. The double amputee had finished climbing Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for clean-water programs in East Africa. Demi also designed and sold the Demi Lovato Rafiki Bracelet to raise funds for a women’s empowerment centre in Kenya.
She has raised almost $80,000 for WE Charity through her donations, charity boutique auction and celebrity appearance on The Price is Right. This year she hosted WE Day Toronto—a broadcast event attended by 20,000 young leaders.
And her goat? Billy’s doing great.
“WE Day inspires students to stand up and take action on the causes they care about most. We get so much more from life when we take care of each other, so I’m honored to be a part of such a special day that unites and empowers thousands of young leaders on their journey to make the world a better place.”
Head Coach Pete Carroll
Sir Richard Branson
Michael ‘Pinball’ Clemons
The cast of Degrassi