“It has been my lifelong dream to start a foundation to help children of the world better their lives as people in my childhood helped me to better mine,” Pelé said. “My foundation reflects the life I’ve led both on and off the field and I am looking forward to working with esteemed leaders in philanthropy to help the children of our world.”
Before he became a global icon, Pelé was just a young boy who learned how to play the game that would change his life. It was on the dirt fields of his hometown of Três Corações, Brazil, that a legend was born. In the past six decades since Pelé stormed the international stage, he has been more than a soccer legend; not only revolutionizing the sport of fútbol, but also dedicating his life towards giving back to children around the world so that they would have the opportunities that he had. The launch of his first global philanthropic foundation enables Pelé’s legacy to live on beyond the soccer field.
The Foundation will fund innovative programs run by Pencils of Promise and charity: water focused on children’s poverty and global education. Pencils of Promise is a global education organization founded in 2008 with the mission of increasing access to quality education through school builds educational programs and community impact around the world. The Foundation will allocate funds to ensure expansion of PoP’s innovative Teacher Support program within Guatemala over the course of two years to improve reading fluency and comprehension and to bring digital and localized Spanish - Mayan - English language reading content to hundreds of students.
“We’re thrilled to welcome Pelé, #10, to the global PoP Family now more than ever as we celebrate our 10th anniversary of providing quality education to kids around the world. Pele’s incredible career and unwavering commitment to youth empowerment and education serve as an inspiration to the over 93,000 students currently benefiting from PoP’s programs across Ghana, Guatemala and Laos.”
charity: water is a non-profit organization founded in 2006 that brings clean and safe drinking water to people in developing countries. With a radically transparent model that sends 100% of public donations straight to the field, charity: water funds sustainable water projects in areas of greatest need and works with local partners to implement them. Clean water restores health for families and reduces the amount of time that children, who often help with chores at home, spend walking and waiting to collect water each day. $30 can provide one person with access to clean water, and gives kids a chance to attend school and build a better future. The Foundation would look to provide as many children as possible with access to clean water as part of their support of charity: water.
"We're excited to partner with The Pelé Foundation to bring clean water to thousands of people in the years to come," says Scott Harrison, Founder and CEO of charity: water. "Having access to clean water not only saves hours of wasted time, but it also provides safety, health, and hygiene. It directly impacts the future of children, and we believe it’s the first step out of poverty for rural communities all over the world."
In future years, the Foundation will look at opportunities to create their own proprietary programs and expand their dedicated efforts to empower children, including focusing on gender equality.
The Foundation announcement comes just a few months after the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™, which marked the 60th anniversary of Pelé’s World Cup debut. The announcement also follows news earlier this year that MGG Investment Group, owner of the soccer star’s global intellectual property rights, had selected a new management team to lead all branding, marketing, philanthropic, and communications opportunities and initiatives for the soccer legend. The management team – including industry veteran Joe Fraga – retained WCPG to advise, manage and help create the Foundation.