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The HOPE charity campaign was first introduced in 2015. It was the first of it’s kind for MATT & NAT. Yes, we have always been greatly involved in the community and charity events, but never did we have a whole campaign dedicated to charitable organizations. The success of the first season’s HOPE campaign was remarkable. Raising a little under 70 thousand dollars towards the five charities involved, we had no choice but continue this initiative, designing a new bag, and selecting a few more charities.

With the second season of our HOPE Charity campaign underway, we were interested in learning more about the history behind the charities that are apart of this seasons campaign. As you may already know, we align ourselves with charities and organizations that we feel best represent and share our brand mission and beliefs. Each and every one of the charities we selected is unique in their own way, providing something different with the end result of offering hope and acceptance to the world. Therefore, here is a more information about four of the HOPE charities this season: Wile Tomorrow Fund, Keep A Breast Foundation, Fauna Foundation and Magic Bus, as well as a little about why MATT & NAT decided to do this campaign.

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Wild Tomorrow Fund

Five years ago when John Steward was an Executive Creative Director in New York he decided to take a month off work to volunteer for a conservation organization in South Africa. This trip was to become the turning point in his life. Seeing first hand the troubles many species were facing prompted John to leave his corporate career to form Wild Tomorrow Fund.

‘It became almost impossible for me to rekindle my passion for advertising luxury products after seeing rhinos and elephants with their faces hacked off.’ - John Steward, Founder Wild Tomorrow Fund.

Joined by Wendy Hapgood, an ex-Foreign Exchange banker, and ecologists Clinton Wright & Axel Hunnicutt, Wild Tomorrow Fund became an official 501(c)3 non-profit in March 2015.

Since that time they have provided a number of South African reserves with critically needed supplies and equipment. These include anti-poaching uniforms, animal tracking collars, generators, scopes, optic technology, field note books, and pumps. Wild Tomorrow Fund is also conducting on-the-ground scientific research through their two ecologists, and are most recently on the verge of saving 1300 acres of wild land from becoming a pineapple farm.

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Keep A Breast Foundation

After a friend was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000, designer and artist Shaney jo Darden founded the global non-profit organization The Keep A Breast Foundation (KAB) to raise awareness of breast cancer and to encourage prevention and early detection among young people.

Shaney jo is a leading voice in the cultural conversation about breast cancer and her visionary youth-targeted campaigns and programs featuring irreverent messaging, inventive art, cutting-edge pop culture and technology are fueling a paradigm shift among non-profit organizations. The iconic “i love boobies” message, one of KAB’s signature breast cancer outreach and awareness programs, has become a generational staple for the young people she’s reached.

Shaney’s fierce commitment to arming young people with knowledge about breast cancer prevention and awareness has inspired action sports athletes, musicians ranging from punk to pop, and leading contemporary artists to help broadcast the message. KAB’s signature plaster casts of women’s and men’s torsos, hand-painted by world famous artists and auctioned for the cause, help fund the important work she does via events at which she educates thousands.

An expert on breast cancer philanthropy, Shaney jo has received many awards for her innovative fusion of advocacy, art, lifestyle-brand partnerships and street culture, and in the process has generated substantial funds for Keep A Breast via donations, partnerships, and licensing. She is a recipient of the Yoplait Champion Award, the SIMA Humanitarian of the Year Award, the MySpace Impact Award for Health and Safety. And notably, in 2011, Shaney jo delivered the keynote speech for TEDxSanDiego’s “The World in Our Grasp”.

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Fauna Foundation

Fauna Foundation provides refuge for 12 chimpanzees outside of Montreal and is the only chimpanzee sanctuary in Canada. Seven of our residents, including matriarch Sue Ellen, are retired from invasive biomedical research and were the first HIV-infected chimpanzees to be released to a sanctuary. Three, including Toby, are from zoos in Quebec. And two, Tatu and Loulis, use sign language and tell us what it’s like to be a chimpanzee. We also provide sanctuary for two rhesus macaques, Darla and Newton, and an olive baboon, Theo, rescued from biomedical research and a Japanese macaque, Eugene, who lived in a pet shop window for 27 years. With historical roots as a farm animal sanctuary, there are remaining bovines, goats, chickens, and a pig also living at Fauna.  Our mission includes sanctuary, outreach in the form on intern and public programming, and conservation with approximately 200 acres of nature preserve in the sanctuary.

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Magic Bus

As Krystal Bick mentions in her blog post, Since 1999, Magic Bus has been active in different rural towns in India, helping children break the cycle of poverty through workshops and classes not taught by outside members or Westerners, but youth leaders in their very own community. These youth leaders are trained in a curriculum that uses sport metaphors to enforce essential fundamentals: right to education, gender equality, personal and community healthcare; all building blocks to ensure that these children make informed and healthy decisions about their futures, to not only stay in school but to eventually get full-time jobs once they’re out of the program.

Of course, the numbers alone speak volumes. Of all the youth enrolled in their program, 98% of all the girls continue on to high school and 71% of all the youth graduate high school and enter college — all staggering and unheard of rates given the likes of some of these communities. And like Parvati and much like her colleague Abdul Rehman Shaikh, another graduate and now youth leader in the program, who’s with her today, they continue on to pursue lifelong careers, many of whom eventually return back to their communities to serve.

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MATT & NAT’s president and CEO, Manny Kohli, is a firm believer in world peace, love and respect. He is also a proud vegan and embodies the MATT & NAT message and beliefs. With the growth of MATT & NAT, Mr. Kohli wants to share this success with the world around him and the HOPE campaign is the perfect way to do so. Together with the whole MATT & NAT team, the HOPE campaign is the best reflection of our ability to bring people together.