Co-Founder, Free The Children
Co-Founder, Me to We and We Day
Craig’s journey as a child rights activist began at the age of 12, when he reached for the morning comics and noticed the newspaper’s front page. The headline read, “Battled Child Labour, Boy, 12, Murdered.” Being 12 himself, Craig felt an immediate connection and took the story with him to school. When he asked his class for help to tackle the issue of child labour, 11 students raised their hands, and Free The Children was born.
What began as a group of a dozen kids has grown into an international charity. Free The Children programs have empowered more than one million beneficiaries. To date, Free The Children has built more than 650 schools and school rooms in developing countries, providing education to more than 55,000 children every day. Inspired by Craig’s life mission, Oprah’s Angel Network partnered with Free The Children to fund 68 schools.
Through Me to We, Craig and his brother, Marc, are advancing a new vision of philanthropy that connects business to a social purpose. Every year, Me to We reaches hundreds of thousands of socially-conscious consumers. It provides full-time employment to over 1,000 women artisans in Kenya, and has created a global market for their work through partnerships with leading retailers, including Nordstrom, Virgin and PacSun. Half of Me to We’s annual net profit is donated to Free The Children, while the other half is reinvested to grow the enterprise and its social mission.
Through “We Day”, a series of inspirational stadium-sized events, Craig and Marc connect with 200,000 students from 5,000 schools every year. These students earn their entry to the celebration through service programs. Speakers and performers include Prince Harry, Richard Branson, and Jennifer Hudson. With more than 5 million followers on Facebook, We Day has become one of the largest charitable causes in the world.
Craig and Marc are the co-authors of 12 books, including the New York Times bestseller Me to We: Finding Meaning in a Material World. Their weekly columns are syndicated in over 30 newspapers across North America. Craig is the youngest-ever graduate from the Kellogg-Schulich Executive MBA program.
For his work to advance human rights, Craig has been awarded 15 honorary doctorates and degrees, and has received the Order of Canada, the Roosevelt Freedom From Fear Medal, the World Children’s Prize for the Rights of the Child, and the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award. His work has been featured through multiple appearances on 60 Minutes, as well as in National Geographic, TIME and The Economist.
Based on their international bestseller, The World Needs Your Kid: Raising Children Who Care and Contribute, this speech will provide key insights on guiding children to be compassionate and engaged global citizens. Their research is based on over a thousand interviews with experts on mentorship and early childhood development, and will help you guide young people through rites of passage, address materialism and foster empathy.
Craig will share insight on how to infuse your company with a sense of purpose, elevate your brand, differentiate your products and inspire your employees. In this speech, you’ll discover how to celebrate the positive impact that your company and employees bring to the world. Me to We has partnered with leading companies such as KPMG and Virgin Atlantic to build robust corporate citizenship programs, resulting in more engaged employees and clients and an improved brand reputation.
In this workshop for parents and youth, Craig shares ground-breaking lessons on nurturing children to care about the world around them. Based on the Kielburgers’ international bestseller, The World Needs Your Kid: Raising Children Who Care and Contribute, this workshop experience will provide you with practical tips for raising socially responsible children, strengthening family bonds and changing the world—all at the same time.
In their two decades of humanitarian work, Craig and Marc have discovered a simple but profound truth—that real fulfillment starts with having the courage to reach out and help others. It all begins when we make the shift from me to we. In this speech, Craig will help you discover the Me to We philosophy, described in their New York Times bestseller, Me to We: Finding Meaning in a Material World.