Earlier this month, WWE announced its continued partnership with the Susan G. Komen, a non-profit organization dedicated to saving lives and ending breast cancer forever. Throughout this month of October, WWE viewers will have seen a change in its various platforms with the website, talent's twitter handles and other areas of WWE including the entrance ramp and even the middle ring rope "going pink". The "Rise Above Cancer" campaign will see WWE donating some 20 percent of sales from co-branded Susan G. Komen merchandise from its live events and WWEShop.com to the charity, with the option still open for fans to donate directly when checking out of the online store.
The popularity of WWE means that this huge effort has an incredible reach, not just across the USA but overseas. Over three years of the partnership, this campaign has generated more than 1.5 million dollars for awareness of, research into and support for the families of those battling this most commonly diagnosed cancer. The relationship between WWE and Komen has extended beyond an annual October event and earlier in 2015 the two organisations collaborated for National Women's Health Week whilst previously educational and fundraising efforts have centred on Mother's Day and other notable events.
Even the quickest google of WWE's charitable endeavours will silence any sceptics seeking to disparage the aforementioned union as a CSR gimmick. Over the course of many years now, WWE appears to have deepened and widened its community engagement and philanthropic commitment with quite remarkable results.
The partnership with Komen is but one branch off the 'Education' arm of WWE's community giving. We have previously covered another- its support for reading. In the summer of 2014, visitors to London might have chanced upon innovative 'bench sculptures' designed to represent open books. A project of the UK's National Literacy Trust (NLT), the benches were later auctioned to raise funds for efforts to tackle illiteracy in deprived communities across the UK. WWE supported the 'Books about Town' campaign by sponsoring one of the 50 Book Benches. Over the past decade, WWE has worked with schools and others, using the power of its brand to inspire children to read. Even PR jaunts for WWE tours have allowed for discreet superstar visits to local schools to encourage young readers.
The company has not only engaged in the battle against threats to global health or education though. It has also sought to fight social ills and to celebrate diversity. Over nearly five years, WWE has worked with 'The Creative Coalition' to launch and develop the global anti-bullying 'Be a Star' initiative. Alongside some 75 partner organisations, the company seeks to embolden and build confidence in all regardless of age, race, religion etc.
It is clear that WWE has a keen awareness of this motivational power of its brand. With Wrestlemania a significant focal point of the WWE year, a range of social initiatives are rolled out annually. In the run-up to Wrestlemania 30 the company ran a global online charity auction through the charitybuzz.com website raising more than $400,000 for various non-profit organisations including those local to New Orleans, where that 'mania took place. The auction was repeated this year through IndieGoGo, with similarly impressive results.
Many will know of the corporation's 30 year partnership with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and perhaps that WWE Superstar John Cena has granted the most wishes of any individual (over 500) but that is far from where WWE efforts end. The list is nearly endless. From its involvement with #TeamFNV which seeks to get American kids to eat their vegetables to support for GLAAD, the US LGBT campaign, advocacy and education organisation, from its engagement with the Special Olympics to it's solidarity with the US Military, from the close links with Connor's Cure to motivational speaking about health and fitness WWE is proving to be a champion of charitable giving in the entertainment industry.
In putting its charitable work at the heart of its business, WWE has established a company ethos which we, the fans and consumers, are imbibing through multiple platforms and the activities of its talented roster of superstars. The expression 'Pay It Forward' so eloquently depicted in the film of the same name, demonstrated how the smallest of kind or positive acts can have huge onward ripples. Imagine then, the power of good that WWE has already harnessed. For that, it deserves to be celebrated.
You can read more about WWE's Community efforts here and the partnership with Susan G Komen here. WWE will be in the UK & Ireland from the 4-14th November with details here. WWE NXT comes to the UK from 10-16th December.