Humanitarian, activist & social entrepreneur
About Marc Kielburger
As kids, Marc and Craig never fought much, which could be attributed to the fact that Marc is six years older than Craig. When Craig was in high school, Marc was already at university. They also grew up with different interests as Marc was a rugby player and into sports while Craig enjoyed science fiction. However, they both have always shared a passion for social activism and that makes for a special bond between them.
When Marc and Craig founded Free the Children, Craig was 12 years old and Marc was 17 so they each brought different insights and leadership to the project. Marc was Craig’s first sounding board. Craig would burst into Marc’s room, speaking faster than Marc could think and sharing ideas. Marc was always there to listen and would add insights and suggestions. Later, when WE Charity was being formed, Marc would fly home from Boston on weekends to help by strategizing and writing grant proposals. From the start, they were an unbreakable team.
Marc and Craig feel extremely lucky to have been raised by incredible parents, who believed in their leadership potential and encouraged them to find ways to make a difference in the world. From the early days of traveling to Congress in Washington, D.C. to denounce child labour, Marc and Craig have supported one another and together have “doing good doable” the mission of their lives.
Marc is driven by the desire to leave the world a better place for his two daughters. Marc’s leadership in WE Charity has helped the organization grow and evolve over the years into the engine of positive impact that it is in the world today.
“The greatest gift that you can give is the dignity for someone to not need your help.” – Marc Kielburger
Marc has always had a passion for education. He thought that he would be a teacher at one point, but his post-high-school path took him to Harvard where he earned a degree in International Studies. After college, Marc was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship and went on to earn a law degree from Oxford University. In addition to these, Marc has received 10 honorary degrees in recognition of his humanitarian work and his significant contributions to the field of education.
Internationally Acclaimed Speaker
Marc is a person who understands and lives by the credo that a person’s deepest fulfillment comes from having the courage to reach out and make a difference. He speaks internationally to inspire audiences around the world with his message.
Marc is an energetic and enthusiastic orator, who has a unique ability to connect with his audience. He is able to engage people and empower them to find ways to make a difference both in their own communities and abroad.
Marc is a New York Times bestselling author and a nationally syndicated columnist. He has authored eight books in which he shares the insight and wisdom he has garnered over the time that he has spent leading WE Charity and creating sustainable change the world over.
Everyone Has the Power to Change the World
Marc knows that everyone—parents, families, companies, and individuals—has the power to change the world. Over the past 20 years, Marc has been committed to creating change in his home country of Canada and elsewhere. He has been recognized with numerous honours for his work. In addition to the Order of Canada, he was selected by the World Economic Forum as one of the world’s Young Global Leaders. Marc was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame for his humanitarian work and for empowering young people to create change. In 2015, along with his brother Craig, he was named Canada’s Most Admired CEO in the Public Sector.
Marc, the Mentor
When Marc was in the early stages of building WE Charity, he had no experience or formal training about how to build the organization. He had passion, a vision, and a belief that he could make a difference. He knew that with the right guidance and tools he, like other young people, could impact change.
Marc was lucky to meet and be mentored by some of the world’s most extraordinary people that included leading CEOs, Nobel laureates, and humanitarians like Oprah Winfrey and Nelson Mandela. In addition, he is very fond of sharing that one of his first mentors was his grandmother. These relationships impacted Marc and have given him the tools that he needed to develop and grow WE Charity.
At WE Charity’s headquarters in Canada, Marc is known for mentoring fellow co-workers and encouraging them to reach their maximum potential in their careers and personal contributions.
Innovating and Changing How Charity Is Done
While traveling with his brother, Marc realized that they needed to find new ways of earning income to sustain their projects. Marc understood that relying on contributions as the only source of income for WE Charity was not economically sustainable.
The ME to WE social enterprise was founded as a dynamic way to empower the communities of WE Villages and to provide consumers with products that they could feel good about buying. The social enterprise designated WE Charity as its partner, and fifty percent of ME to WE revenue is reinvested in WE Charity. Marc has been a key player in shaping the enterprise and leading its growth.
Marc brings an entrepreneurial mindset to ME to WE. He is always thinking creatively about ways to expand the business and the impact it makes. He created Track Your Impact, which allows consumers to see how their purchase makes a difference to the community from which it originated.
Marc believes in the power of people coming together to make a difference and reminds us all that we actually can have a transformational impact on the world.
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