We Are Family Foundation
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The We Are Family Foundation (WAFF) is an American 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 2001 by musician Nile Rodgers in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks. Its mission is dedicated to the vision of a global family by creating and supporting programs that inspire and educate people about mutual respect , understanding, and appreciation of cultural diversity – while striving to solve some of our biggest global problems at the same time.
The foundation began on September 22, 2001, when Rodgers and Tommy Boy Music president Tom Silverman brought 200 musicians, celebrities, and personalities together in New York City and Los Angeles to re-record Rodgers' song "We Are Family" (best known in its 1979 hit version performed by Sister Sledge) to start the healing process after the events of September 11. Director Spike Lee filmed the "We Are Family" music video, and director Danny Schechter filmed a documentary entitled The Making and Meaning of We Are Family, which depicts the recording session. The documentary was chosen as a Sundance Film Festival Special Selection in 2002.
We Are Family children version
In October 2001, a children's version of the song "We Are Family" was recorded, featuring more than 100 beloved children's television characters, an unprecedented collaboration among seventeen competitive media corporations.
A three-minute music video of the children's recording aired as a public service announcement on Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, Boomerang, Fox Kids, and PBS channels. In 2007, the music video was paired with educational lesson plans to create the "We Are Family: A Musical Message for All" educational DVD program designed for early childhood educators. The DVD was distributed free to more than 58,000 public and private elementary schools in the United States and National Head Start programs with the intent of promoting tolerance and diversity to America's children.
Just Peace Summit
In 2008, the We Are Family Foundation hosted the first international Three Dot Dash "Just Peace Summit" based on the message Mattie Stepanek offered in his book Just Peace. Three Dot Dash is a global initiative of the We Are Family Foundation that supports Global Teen Leaders (GTLs) around the world who are leading projects that promote a more peaceful society by addressing one or more basic human need — food, water, health, shelter, safety, education and the environment. The name Three Dot Dash is a mash-up of Morse code, used by telegraphs, and the two-fingered "V" gesture that has come to be known as the peace sign. In Morse code, "V" is •••–
Three Dot Dash
Inspired by the late 13-year-old poet and peacemaker Mattie J.T. Stepanek, Three Dot Dash is a yearlong leadership and mentoring program that teaches teen leaders how to effectively "tell their stories" during the Just Peace Summit using various forms of media, current technology and distribution methods to gain media attention and public support for their causes. Three Dot Dash creates a sustainable worldwide network of individuals, corporations and nonprofit organizations to support GTLs and foster public participation around the globe. The Three Dot Dash Just Peace Summits have brought together GTLs from 30 countries on 6 continents. The 2013 Just Peace Summit took place in March of 2013 in New York City.
Mattie J.T. Stepanek Peacemaker Award
The We Are Family Foundation also annually awards the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Peacemaker Award to an individual who has used their talents and gifts to meet the basic needs of others and promote peace. Thus far, recipients have included Maya Angelou, Quincy Jones, Paul Simon, Deepak Chopra, and Rev. Desmond Tutu and Mrs. Leah Tutu.