Deb Gordon’s guest was Nancy Hunt, who co-created the We Are Family Foundation, with life partner, music legend Nile Rodgers. The We Are Family Foundation (WAFF) is a global not-for-profit with the mission to create and support programs to educate and inspire youth about respect, understanding and cultural diversity.
WAFF was inspired by the famous song, which was re-recorded after the events surrounding 9/11 as a PSA that brought children’s characters together in an effort to help young people process the tragedy. Ms. Hunt thought of the need to do more to help, and the Foundation was formed in 2002.
Mattie Stepanek, the then 13 year old terminally ill best-selling author and ambassador for peace, received the organization’s first peacemaker award. “His poetry impacted millions of people, all about hope and peace, and how we need to come together,” said Hunt.
Mattie also served as the inspiration behind WAFF’s Three Dot Dash program, which fosters teens to fulfill their destiny as global leaders.
“Because he had such impact on the world about peace, I said, why don’t we create a program, inspired by him that literally looks for young people, like Mattie…who are changing the world, who haven’t had the opportunity or the position in life to actually have the kind of impact that he has had… and try to give them that opportunity,” said Hunt.
Nile Rodgers (Photo courtesy WAFF)
The organization hosts an annual Three Dot Dash summit that brings these young team leaders together from all over the world, and connects them with mentors in their field.
“We teach them about conflict and conflict resolution, utilizing the words of Mattie and his wisdom, and we also teach them how to tell their stories,” said Hunt.
“What’s most important to us from a ‘We Are Family’ kind of perspective is we have kids from every culture, every religion, from all walks of earth… and they end up working together across borders, across cultures…you start breaking down those barriers that have been created by society.”
We Are Family Foundation will host its 2016 Celebration Gala at Hammerstein Ballroom in New York on Friday, April 29th. Legendary singer and philanthropist Bono will receive the humanitarian award for his global leadership.
President Jimmy Carter, who was a close friend of Mattie Stepanek, and also co-authored his last book, will receive WAFF’s 2016 peacemaker award.
“Every year, Mattie’s mom Jenny, presents the award, and this year we felt that it was appropriate for us to present it to President Carter,” said Hunt.
The celebration will include a special performance by Nile Rodgers along with Chic, and his long time friend and honoree, Bono.
“Nile Rodgers and Chic, put on a heck of a party,” said Hunt. What ends up happening is nobody ends up eating their dessert, because they’re all on the dance floor.”
For more information about the We Are Family Foundation, and how to get involved, visit www.wearefamilyfoundation.org.