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WE Charity

CharityWatch report issued
December 2020

CharityWatch Grade

Contact Information

WE Charity
6500 Main Street
Suite 5
Williamsville, NY 14221

Other Names

Free the Children—(formerly)

Tax Status




Stated Mission

Empowers youth around the world to make a positive change in their communities.

View similar charities
Data based on Fiscal Year Ended 08/31/2019

*Why a Question Mark Rating?

CharityWatch currently has concerns about this organization and/or is unable to provide complete rating information due to the organization's nondisclosure of financial information. Please see the Analysts' Notes section for a more detailed explanation.

Governance & Transparency

CharityWatch evaluates certain criteria related to a charity's Governance and Transparency. Donors may want to consider a charity's willingness to be open and transparent with CharityWatch to be a good litmus test for determining its commitment to public accountability.
WE Charity
does not meet governance benchmarks.
WE Charity
meets transparency benchmarks.

CharityWatch Governance Concerns

See Analysts' Notes for Explanation
Provides Financial Information
Audit Accessibility
Governance: Policies
Reports regularly & consistently monitoring & enforcing compliance with a written Conflict of Interest Policy
Reports required, annual disclosure by officers, directors, and key staff of interests that could give rise to conflicts
Reports having a written Whistleblower Policy
Reports having a written Document Retention and Destruction Policy
Governance: Financials
Reports providing copy of tax form to all board members prior to filing it with IRS
Reports that financial statements were audited by an independent accountant
Governance: Board of Directors
Reports at least 5 voting board members
51% or more of voting board members reported as independent
Reports documenting minutes of board and board committee meetings
Privacy Policy
Privacy Policy Opt-In Policy  

Unable to Provide Salaries

CharityWatch is unable to provide a range of Top Three Salaries for this charity for the above fiscal reporting year because we lack complete salary data for the organization. Except for officers, directors, and trustees, the IRS does not require breakouts of salaries totaling less than $100,000.

For example, XYZ charity would be required to provide a breakout in its tax form of compensation to its president of $55,000, but would not be required to provide a breakout of $99,000 in compensation to its top medical researcher if that person is not also an officer, director, or trustee of the organization.

This charity reports that compensation to its officers, directors, and trustees is under $100,000 per individual. Donors who would like to view limited salary data for this organization should refer to its tax form, which may be available on the charity's web site or from a number of third-party sources. See CharityWatch's Links page for information on obtaining copies of charity tax forms.

CharityWatch Analysts perform an in-depth analysis of charities' audited financial statements and IRS tax filings, and often review other documents such as state filings, annual reports, and fundraising contracts during their evaluations. Below are select notes that CharityWatch believes may be of interest to donors.
CharityWatch is unable to rate WE Charity at this time in light of concerns raised about the charity by various media sources, including Charity Intelligence Canada, a Canadian charity watchdog and rating organization. See Related External Articles in the “Articles & Alerts” section, below, for additional information.

Charity Intelligence Canada has posted the following about WE Charity in 2020:

"Recent news: WE Charity announces closure: September 9, 2020. Co-founders Craig and Marc Kielburger announce WE Charity’s Canadian operations will close down, with net proceeds from the asset sales transferred to a new foundation as an endowment for WE Charity’s programs in Kenya, Ecuador and China. At this time, the closure is only WE Charity’s Canadian operations not affecting WE Charity US, WE Charity UK, ME to WE social enterprise, or other WE entities." 

"DONOR ADVISORY: July 17, 2020, WE Charity has a nearly completely new board. Six of last year’s directors were replaced with four new directors, with Greg Rogers as the new board chair. In June 2020, one new director resigned."

"On June 25, 2020 for the COVID-19 pandemic response, the Canadian government awarded a $912m [million] contract to WE Charity to recruit, manage, and fund student volunteers. On July 3, WE Charity withdrew from this contract."

CharityWatch is in the process of reviewing the financial reports of organizations that are related to, or associated with, WE Charity to determine if any financial transactions that occurred among them were properly reported. These reports include the respective IRS Form 990 and audited financial statements for the fiscal year ended August 31, 2019 of the U.S. based public charities, WE Charity and ME to WE Foundation. We also are working on obtaining additional information that will allow us to independently verify WE Charity’s organizational structure, board composition, salary and governance data, and the impact of the closure of WE Charity’s Canadian legal entity on the organization as a whole. As new information becomes available, we may update our rating and other reporting on WE Charity.  

In addition to WE Charity’s affiliation with other nonprofit organizations in the U.S. and elsewhere, WE Charity is also associated with the for-profit B Corporation, ME to WE Social Enterprises, Inc., through which WE’s co-founders receive employment income, according to an "independent assessment of certain topics related to WE Charity and ME to WE Social Enterprises, Inc.," dated May 23, 2019, posted on we.org. The financial statements of B Corporations are not a matter of public record; therefore, CharityWatch is unable to verify the accuracy of the reported employment income amounts. Moreover, the U.S. tax filings of WE Charity (tax ID #16-1533544) and ME to WE Foundation (tax ID #27-3338929) do not include a Form 990 Schedule R, Related Organizations and Unrelated Partnerships, on which charities are required to report financial transactions with related organizations, including related for-profit companies, if any. WE Charity’s fiscal 2019 audited financial statements (Note 11, Related Party Transactions) disclose that the U.S. entity of WE Charity made payments to WE Charity – Canada in fiscal 2019 that amounted to $18,789,912. The $18.8 million is allocated to WE Charity’s program services expenses, at approximately $8.0 million and $10.8 million to international projects and domestic projects, respectively, according to the audited Statement of Functional Expenses, but no additional details about how the $18.8 million was expended is reported.

Related External Articles