Try free for 30 days

1 credit a month to use on any title, yours to keep (you’ll use your first credit on this title).
Stream or download thousands of included titles.
Access to exclusive deals and discounts.
$16.45 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
What WE Lost cover art

What WE Lost

By: Tawfiq S. Rangwala, The Right Honourable Kim Campbell - foreword
Narrated by: Martin Luther King III, The Right Honourable Kim Campbell - foreword
Try for $0.00

$16.45 per month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Buy Now for $26.32

Buy Now for $26.32

Pay using voucher balance (if applicable) then card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions Of Use and Privacy Notice and authorise Audible to charge your designated credit card or another available credit card on file.

Publisher's Summary

WE Charity had changed the game. In its 25 years, the international development charity and youth empowerment movement impacted lives the world over. Innovation was at its core: while most charities focus on making the world a better place for our children, WE Charity focused on making better children for our world. Founded by the ubiquitous Kielburger brothers, WE Charity operated more like a Silicon Valley start-up than a traditional NGO. From creating stadium-filling events with A-list celebrity ambassadors to building schools, infrastructure, a hospital and even a university at lightning speed, the organization was always full-throttle.

Its for-profit partner, ME to WE, filled shelves with socially-conscious products that allowed consumers to track the impact of their spending, invited young people and families to visit and work in communities WE Charity supported, and channeled proceeds back into the charity to make it self-sustaining.

Unique and disruptive, WE generated energy, engagement, and accolades. But it also bred misunderstanding and, in some quarters, resentment. With a long history of propelling youth to act in support of myriad causes—making ”doing good doable,” the slogan went—WE Charity was the ideal candidate to administer the Canada Student Services Grant (CSSG) program. The program, if it had happened, involved matching students within non-profits in a summer in which COVID had stolen most job opportunities. And then, WE Charity in Canada was gone. It didn’t crumble. It crashed. Unwittingly caught in the crosshairs of a partisan fight that reflects the increasing ”Americanization” of Canadian politics, WE Charity was forced to shutter its doors in Canada.

Once a media darling with politicians of all stripes clamoring to appear at its events, the charity was suddenly a pariah accused (falsely) of a litany of wrongdoings: political cronyism, governance failures, heavy-handed decision-making by executives, lining the pockets of the founders, manipulating children, mistreating donors, racism and international corruption. Many were shocked. Detractors were delighted. Led by fringe commentators, the media quickly piled on. Allies who spoke out were castigated and forced to take cover. But while most Canadians have heard of the so-called ”WE Charity Scandal”—at times forming strong views—few are able to recount the true facts.

Misperceptions and confusion have ruled the day. And many of the most important voices—including those of educators and young people—have gone unreported and unheard. In this book, former WE board member and lawyer Tawfiq Rangwala unpacks the evidence and provides the critical context around the headline-grabbing controversies that have shaped the narrative. Drawing on the factual record, his personal experiences inside the organization, and extensive interviews with supporters and critics, Rangwala cuts through the fog and explains what really happened, why it happened, and who should be held to account. The author goes even deeper with insightful, compassionate and heartbreaking interviews with WE supporters, benefactors and the politicians that used the awarding of the contract during the global pandemic crisis to paint a picture of conflicts of interest and special favors by the Prime Minister. Along the way, we learn what has been lost and the personal cost to Canadians and people around the world.

More than just a story of the rise and fall of an iconic global charity, this is a cautionary tale of the collateral damage that can be levelled by unchecked partisan politics, social media pundits, and sensationalist headlines. In the end, Canadians are left to ponder whether the real ”scandal” is the demise of WE Charity and the values of fair play and due process that most of us hold dear.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2022 Tawfiq S. Rangwala (P)2022 Optimum Publishing International

Critic Reviews

“WE Charity lit a spark in young people's minds that said ‘I can do this.’ The charity engaged so many young people in civic action and into making a difference through its programming in schools. It has also done extraordinary things around the world. I know this because as a school board trustee, I witnessed it. WE Charity and the Kielburgers deserve the explanation the book provides and the discussion that will ensue from it.”—Donna H. Cansfield, former Member of Ontario Parliament and Minister of Energy, Transportation and Natural Resources

More from the same

What listeners say about What WE Lost

Average Customer Ratings

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

In the spirit of reconciliation, Audible acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.