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Case Code: LDEN150
Case Length: 14 Pages 
Period: 2006-2019   
Pub Date: 2020
Teaching Note: Available
Price: Rs.400
Organization : ME to WE
Industry :Government & Non-Profit Organisations
Countries : Canada
Themes: Social Entrepreneurship/ Branding Strategy/ Business Models/ Diversification
Case Studies  
Business Strategy
Human Resource Management
IT and Systems
Leadership & Entrepreneurship

The `We Movement`– Driving Social Change



The case study “The We Movement – Driving Social Change” discusses the functioning of social enterprises. Craig Kielburger and Marc Kielburger (Kielburgers) started a charity called WE Charity (formerly “Free the Children”) in 1995 to free children from child labor and help their families come out of poverty and exploitative situations. When the brothers realized that solely relying on donations would not help achieve the mission of WE Charity, they established a social enterprise called WE to ME in 2009 with guidance from Jeff Skoll, the first president of eBay and a billionaire. WE to ME was an upgraded version of Leaders Today, an initiative of the Kielburgers started in 1999 to offer fee-based leadership camps and trips to youth interested in traveling to third world countries and volunteering for projects of WE Charity such as building schools and clinics or laying water pipelines in adopted villages called WE Villages. WE to ME started selling fair trade products, handicrafts, and more in 2010 to help the local artisans in the WE Villages. In 2011, the Kielburgers expanded the operations of WE Charity by establishing WE Schools, a learning program designed for school children, and WE Day, a fun and learning event for the students of WE Schools in Canada, the US, and the UK. The students of WE Schools helped promote ME to WE, including raising funds for WE Charity and spreading awareness about the retail arm of ME to WE. ME to WE, as per its charter, had to donate at least 50% of its profits to WE Charity every year. Besides, any outstanding balance had to be re-invested for the growth of ME to WE. Till date, the organization had many achievements to its credit and had received several awards. The organization had a profound impact around the world – it built 1,500 schoolrooms and schools, helped over 30,000 women become financially independent, provided education to over 200,000 children, helped a million people gain access to sanitation and clean water, employed 1,800 women in Kenya and Ecuador as ME to WE artisans, and conducted 27.6 million hours of classes at WE schools. It won “Canada’s Walk of Fame” in 2013. In 2017, WE Charity won the Good Housekeeping Humanitarian Seal from the Good Housekeeping Institute for its charity works.

However, ME to WE faced several allegations in 2017-18 with former employees accusing it of paying low salaries, making them work long working hours without suitable compensation, having an abusive work culture, adopting aggressive tactics while canvassing for donations, focusing excessively on entering into numerous contracts with corporates, entering into partnerships with corporates that sold products made by children, and not honoring the commitment of donating 50% of WE to ME’s revenues to WE Charity and others.

The Kielburgers, nonetheless, planned to expand the operations of WE Charity to several newer communities. In Canada, they planned to extend the reach of the WE Schools program to 24,000 schools by 2024 and increase the number of participants of the WE Schools to 4.8 million by 2020/2021. The organization also had plans to expand and improve the efficiency of the WE Villages program.
Leadership and Entrepreneurship Case Studies | Case Study in Management, Operations, Strategies, Business Environment, Case Studies
Leadership and Entrepreneurship Case Studies | Case Study in Management, Operations, Strategies, Business Environment, Case Studies
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The case is structured to achieve the following teaching objectives:
  • The issues and challenges in starting a social enterprise and managing its growth and maturity.
  • The choices made by a social entrepreneur to build the organization to pursue aggressive goals.
  • The business model developed by the company to address its dual goal and How to build a brand and following through social initiatives
  • The “Asset Based Community Model” and how it can be implemented for running a social enterprise.
  • The issues and constraints in financing a venture at various stages of its development, especially a social venture.


Social Entrepreneurship; Social Enterprises; B corporation Canada; Volunteer tourism; Leadership Programs; Asset-Based Community Development; Celebrity Endorsements.