At the heart of all our WE Schools programs and WE Day events is the priority of creating equitable opportunities for all youth participants. We firmly believe that access to resources, tools and events that support service-learning should not be limited only to select students based on socioeconomic means. Service is a key driver for work-skill and life-skill development, as well as for building resumes for post-secondary applications, scholarships and first employment. Service should bridge divisions in our world, not exacerbate them. We are grateful to be working alongside program sponsors who share our belief in our youth to change the world.
The essential support of our government, corporate and foundation partners allows us to provide these opportunities to the millions of students participating in our programs. This support is what allows us to work with youth in priority populations including Indigenous young people, schools in both rural urban communities around the world, and students who receive free or reduced-cost lunch. In all cases, our mission remains the same: to empower students with the tools and resources they need to be leaders of change.
Our WE Schools team plays an important role as well. They coordinate curriculum and resources to ensure the creation of high-quality, world-class experiential service-learning offerings to schools and groups. The WE Schools team holds the primary responsibility of leading the creation, integration and activation of WE Schools resources with our partners.
When we consider sponsors for WE Schools and WE Day, it is a foremost priority to ensure we are working with organizations that share our mission for opening doors for the next generation to be active citizens in their communities. It is in this spirit that we engage in a strict vetting process with all potential sponsors as we strive to build partnerships that will drive the most meaningful opportunities for our young leaders through our programs.
We adhere to strict set of guidelines for sponsor integration entitled WE Schools Standards & Guidelines: Corporate and Foundation Sponsorship Recognition Program.
Our policies for all of our in-school curricular resources stipulate that government, corporate or foundation partner branding is very minimal in any student-facing resource, and not in a position to interfere with the layout or presentation of the resources themselves. External independent reviews have shown that the WE Schools program effectively fulfills these guidelines.
The WE Schools program is designed to be delivered by teachers. As such, the WE Schools materials are specifically designed to help teachers to bring service-learning alive in the classroom, leading with causes that represent the passion and interest of WE Schools participants. Teacher resources have moderate, although more conventional, levels of brand recognition for the partners that enabled them. These resources are primarily designed for an adult/educator audience. In order for WE Schools to be a free program, teachers are aware it is essential that we recognize on each resource the partners that enable the learning outcomes to take place.
WE Day events occur outside of the school environment, and we do not have control over external elements, such as permanent venue branding. However, all on-stage activations by partners always reflect the social causes of our enabling partners and/or provide a clear value to the overall educational experience. For example, TELUS has for years activated its #RiseAbove campaign to end cyberbullying at WE Day.
Upon conducting formal reviews of WE Schools and WE Day programs and policies on working with foundations and corporations to create and provide accessible programs (WE Schools Standards & Guidelines: Corporate and Foundation Sponsorship Recognition Program), and reviewing associated materials and programs via WE Schools and WE Day, here is what two experts in the field of education had to say:
“In my current role as Executive Director of the Catholic Curriculum Corporation, I know full well that the creation of quality resources comes at a heavy cost. It is important to recognize that, in many cases, without corporate participation, these resources would not be able to be provided to schools free of charge. I commend WE’s attention and due diligence to the appropriate use of logo placement (teacher-facing and not student-facing) and the balance used in the recognition and participation of corporate partners in the resources and opportunities created for classrooms and teachers. This is clearly reflected in the policy: WE Schools Standards & Guidelines: Corporate and Foundation Sponsorship Recognition Program. It is clear that the primary purpose of corporate sponsor recognition is to express gratitude.”
Michael Bator, Executive Director of the Catholic Curriculum Corporation
“I congratulate you on the careful and appropriate articulation of the relationship of WE Schools to its corporate partners with respect to the use of logos and corporate partner recognition in learning resources provided for students and schools. Based on my professional experience, the current policy entitled, WE Schools Standard for Corporate Participation, would be acceptable to school boards and is consistent with advertising and fundraising policies used by them.”
Anthony Brown, Former General Counsel to Toronto District School Board