WME | IMG has partnered with UNICEF to lead in the co-creation and distribution of content to elevate the humanitarian group’s causes through by utilizing its client network. That includes a wide array of talent in entertainment, sports and fashion. The agency says it will partner the 80-year-old United Nations Children’s Fund with key influencers, award-winning directors and producers and global brands to create consumer-facing cause marketing campaigns and initiatives.
The agency will continue its other charitable support as well. It’s long been a partner in school programs in Compton, Brooklyn, London and Nashville through mentorships, arts and education grants, client collaborations and teacher assistance. It also will continue to support its clients in building and/or expanding their own philanthropic platforms and partnerships.
The U.S. Fund for UNICEF, through which WME | IMG will be coordinating its efforts, is an organization that supports UNICEF’s work on behalf of the world’s children through advocacy, education and domestic fundraising.
The agency’s philanthropic strategy is led by co-CEOs Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell, along with their Foundation Executive Director Tascha Rudder, who was VP Business Development at FEED — an organization co-founded by President George W. Bush’s grandaughter and former model Lauren Bush in 2007 on behalf of the UN World Food Program with the purpose of helping to feed children around the world. Ellen Gustafson is the other co-founder of FEED. Before that, Rudder was SVP at Designers Management Agency, a talent agency for fashion models.
WME | IMG said the Foundation supported 200 charities in 140 communities globally in 2016. It will be interesting to see who is the next face is of UNICEF as the international humanitarian aid foundation had a recognizable resurgence after Audrey Hepburn became the UNICEF Special Ambassador in 1988. Later, she became a Goodwill Ambassador. Hepburn did so after she was aided by the UN, which helped feed her as a 16-year-old girl in war-torn Holland. Before the UN stepped in, she and her family survived on the land to survive — even eating tulips. When she became famous, she paid it forward. The first country she visited was Ethopia.
Other celebrity Goodwill Ambassadors have included an array of talent: Alyssa Milano, Pink, Tea Leoni, Sarah Jessica Parker, Laurence Fishburne and Lucy Liu — but no one has been more associated with UNICEF over the years than Hepburn, except for maybe Danny Kaye.
“WME | IMG’s employees work with some of the world’s greatest influencers, brands and storytellers, all of whom care deeply about the welfare of our next generation,” Emanuel and Whitesell said in making the announcement.
“With 16,000 children dying each day of preventable causes and tens of millions more displaced by violence and extreme poverty, UNICEF’s work on behalf of children is as important now as ever,” said Caryl Stern, President and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. “Through this partnership with WME | IMG, we can change the narrative and the way the entertainment industry thinks about global social impact.”
UNICEF is active in more than 190 countries and territories and lays claim to having saved more children than any other humanitarian organization in the world.