We Are Family Foundation

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We Are Family Foundation
We Are Family Foundation Logo.jpg
Founded 2001 (2001)
Founder Nile Rodgers
Type 501(c)(3)
Website www.wearefamilyfoundation.org

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 creating and supporting programs that inspire and educate people about mutual respect, understanding, and appreciation of cultural diversity while striving to solve global problems.[1]

Early history[edit]

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.[2]

We Are Family children version[edit]

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. Some of the live-action characters in the video included the cast members of Sesame Street, Between the Lions, Zoom, Out of the Box, Bear in the Big Blue House, Barney & Friends, The Muppets, Zoboomafoo, Eureeka's Castle, Allegra's Window, Gullah Gullah Island, It's a Big Big World, Blue's Room, Lazy Town, and Pooh and Tigger from The Book of Pooh. Real-life celebrities were also featured in the video such as C-3PO, R2-D2, The Wiggles, Whoopi Goldberg, Steve Burns, Nile Rodgers, and Bill Cosby. Some of the cartoon characters that appeared in the video were Arthur, the Rugrats, Spongebob Squarepants, The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, The Fairly OddParents, Bob the Builder, Kipper, Dora the Explorer, Little Bill, Max and Ruby, Oswald, Maggie and the Ferocious Beast, Rolie Polie Olie, PB&J Otter, The Proud Family, Kim Possible, Lilo & Stitch: The Series, Madeline, Stanley, The Koala Brothers, JoJo's Circus, Higglytown Heroes, The Backyardigans, Rubberdubbers, Little Bear, Dragon Tales, Caillou, The Magic School Bus, Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat, Cyberchase, Maya and miguel, The Berenstain Bears, and Clifford the Big Red Dog.

Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, and PBS[edit]

A three-minute music video of the children's recording aired as a public service announcement on Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, and PBS channels. In 2005, 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 elementary schools in the United States alone and National Head Start programs with the intent of promoting tolerance and diversity to America's children.

PBS Characters[edit]

Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch, Elmo, Cookie Monster, Count von Count, Bert, Ernie, Rosita, Grover, Zoe, Telly Monster, Baby Bear, Hoots the Owl, Lulu, Snuffy, Alice, Herry Monster, Grundgetta, Prairie Dawn, Mama Bear, Papa Bear, Curly Bear, Humphrey, Ingrid, Baby Natasha, Benny Rabbit, Honkers, Dinger, Two-Headed Monster, The Big Bad Wolf, Barney, Baby Bop, BJ, Theo Lion, Cleo Lion, Leona Lion, Lional Lion, Walter Pigeon, Clay Pigeon, Dr. Nitwhite, Marmy, Information Hen, Click, Martha Reader, Zoboomafoo, Snook

Nickelodeon Characters[edit]

Binya Binya, Batley, Eureeka, Magellen, Allegra, Lindi, Rondo, Riff, Mr. Cook, Blue, Roar E Saurus, Polka Dots, Frederica

Disney Channel Characters[edit]

Bear, Ojo, Tutter, Treelo, Pip and Pop, Doc Hogg, Jeremiah Tortoises, Keisha, Luke, Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Beaker, Dr. Teeth, Floyd Pepper, Penguins, The Swedish Chef, Gonzo, Fozzie Bear, Animal, Pepe the King Prawn, Rizzo the Rat, Pooh Bear, Tigger

Major initiatives[edit]

Just Peace Summit[edit]

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.[citation needed] In Morse code, "V" is •••–

Three Dot Dash[edit]

Inspired by the late 13-year-old poet Mattie 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 2013 in New York City.[citation needed]

Visionary Award[edit]

Humanitarian Award[edit]

Mattie J.T. Stepanek Peacemaker Award[edit]

The We Are Family Foundation annually presents 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.[vague] Recipients include:

Notable Global Teen Leaders[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Sting and Trudie Styler to be Honored by We Are Family Foundation". Look to the Stars. Retrieved 18 Oct 2014. 
  2. ^ Bach, Nenad (6 Jan 2002). "Croatian composer at Sundance". Croatia.org. Retrieved 18 Oct 2014. 
  3. ^ "Emmanuel Jal - Recipient of Mattie Stepanek Peacemaker Award". We Want Peace. Retrieved 18 Oct 2014.