Spending the day with WWE and the Make a Wish Foundation
On the 19th of August, I was invited to witness four WWE Superstars—Seth Rollins, Dolph Ziggler, AJ Styles and Nikki Bella—surprise a group of young fans as part of the Make a Wish Foundation.
At WEALTH Arabia we often speak about what people do with their wealth, from an investment standpoint, as well as a lifestyle standpoint. What we also try to highlight is how people use their money and influence for the betterment of their fellow man.
As passionate as I am personally as a fan of professional wrestling, I have always admired WWE’s commitment to philanthropic endeavors. When Stephanie McMahon, WWE’s Chief Brand Officer, came to Dubai, I was lucky enough to sit down with her to talk more about the charities that she holds closest to her heart.
“In terms of our charitable donations, a lot of that is driven by me and what we love. There are a number of different things that happen throughout the year that you want to contribute to whether it’s natural disasters etc, but for me personally I was inspired by a little boy who was 8 years old named Connor Michalek that lost his battle to cancer. I became so involved in pediatric cancer, research and support that ultimately my husband and I started something called Connor’s Cure.
“That fund sits in two places—with the V Foundation and the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. With V Foundation, all of the funds go directly to research. There’s an incredible board there of experts that decide the right people for it to go to, and then the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, some of it is research but most of it goes to patient and family care, whether it’s food vouchers, parking vouchers—things that families don’t think of when their children get sick but things they’re going to need—things that help so much. Connor’s Cure is something I’m incredibly passionate about,” Stephanie told me.
WWE, of course, does even more.
“WWE has four key pillars to giving back—hope, diversity and inclusion and education,” Stephanie told me. “Literacy is a huge issue for us. If you look at our hope bucket, we’ve had a partnership with Make a Wish Foundation almost since its inception—over 30 years! And Special Olympics, and Susan G. Komen—all of these groups I’ve become personally attached to, so that also informs my giving strategy. Giving back is core to who I am as a person, what WWE is to an organization, and a crucial part of how I distribute my wealth.”
Just last month, I was able to go with WWE to New York and see some of that charity in action. On the 19th of August, I was invited to witness four WWE Superstars—Seth Rollins, Dolph Ziggler, AJ Styles and Nikki Bella—surprise a group of young fans as part of the Make a Wish Foundation. We went to the top of the One World Trade Center building in Manhattan and together waited for the arrival of these extremely special guests.
There was one moment where the first young boy excitedly walked into the room, unaware of what he might find. When he turned the corner, he looked to his left, and the first thing he saw was Seth Rollins. At first he paused, just for a moment, taking in what exactly he was seeing. The next thing he did was run to Seth, as fast as he could, and hugged Seth like he’d never let him go.
Soon after, the other children excitedly came in to meet each wrestler, looking at them with excitement and awe. It made me remember how much these wrestlers, and this company, means to children out there—how much their strength inspires kids out there who need a lot of strength of their own. This is something that the WWE Superstars themselves, I’m sure, keep in their mind every time they go out into the ring.
This, of course, was an extremely significant day for these WWE Superstars and these young fans, but it was in no way out of the ordinary for WWE. In every city they go, the many men and women of WWE go to schools, hospitals and more to do as much philanthropic activity as they can, even with the never-ending travel schedule they keep.
They also keep their own charities. John ‘Bradshaw’ Layfield retired just last week to focus full time on his charitable endeavours.
Sami Zayn, a Syrian-Canadian WWE Superstar, has spent the summer passionately calling for donations towards the charity initiative he is running in conjunction with SAMS, which aims to set up a mobile clinic to take care of the Syrian people on the ground who don’t have access to health care, of which you can learn more about at www.SamiforSyria.com.
Charity is so important in this part of the world, and those that do great work should be celebrated. I was lucky that WWE allowed me to share in their decades-long partnership with the Make a Wish Foundation for a day, and I congratulate them and their individual Superstars on having gone above and beyond for so long.