Right To Play has partnered with FIS since 2005 to promote its mission to help disadvantageous children around the world, at various FIS World Cup events, the FIS World Ski Championships and at Worldloppet events, just to mention a few. Former world champion, Olympic medalist and overall World Cup champion Andreas Wenzel was recently named to lead the humanitarian organization's activities in Switzerland and especially in skiing.
Q.How does partnering with FIS help Right To Play meet its goals?
Andreas Wenzel: For Right To Play as a humanitarian organization, FIS provides an important platform to gain public visibility. Our goal is to invest a minimum of 85% of all donations in actual projects that help children play, which does not leave us much room for spending money on promotion. In charity, awareness and recognition constitute an important first step towards the decision to donate. FIS together with its Member National Ski Associations and events provides us a great stage for making ourselves known among large groups of people. This is naturally what our athlete ambassadors and other promoters also do at another level through their involvement.
Q. Please describe the different ways that Right To Play is involved in skiing?
Andreas Wenzel: As said, Right To Play has had the pleasure to partner with a number of well-known athletes across all FIS disciplines. These athletes engage as Right To Play athlete ambassadors helping us meet our goals. Through excellent cooperation with events such as the Worldloppet series, Oslo 2011 or Wengen and the Schladming Night Race, we have gained presence, especially on the venue video wall. Of course we could further expand our on-site activities, which will do for example through a new SMS campaign we will be launching in Sölden. Other local activities will then follow in careful consideration of the associated costs and benefits.
Q. How are you trying to develop your involvement with skiing?
Andreas Wenzel: We realize that it takes time to build a certain level of brand recognition and credibility. However, we are hoping to introduce some creative ideas such as charity events, possibly a charity team slalom race followed by a charity reception at the World Cup Finals in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in March, or a new Right To Play helmet we have developed together with Uvex and sports a new tagline: "Look after yourself, look after one another" which we also plan to launch in Sölden.
In future, we hope to be able to engage participants in popular ski races in charity by choice actions whereby they collect money for a charity of their choice for each kilometer skied for example.
So far, donations collected at ski events have been channeled into a project in Tanzania. This is because Right To Play is committed to helping those in direst need in the world's poorest countries, In the future we could also foresee channeling the ski-generated funds to a project in a ‘snowy' country in great need, thereby establishing a more direct connection with skiing through play in the snow.
Q. From a partner's perspective, is there any special message that you would like to deliver to FIS?
Andreas Wenzel: Right To Play is proud and happy about the partnership with the international ski family and highly appreciates its great willingness to work together. We hope that this cooperation will continue for many years to come.
Q. What do you expect from the upcoming season?
Andreas Wenzel: In my role as President of the Liechtenstein Ski Association, my expectations are, of course, directed at the Olympic Winter Games Vancouver 2010. I hope for another Olympic medal but also for the continuation of the great series of top ten finishes at the top level which has now continued of 40 years. What a wonderful achievement for such a small country! The Association will celebrate its 75 year anniversary in 2011 and we look forward to having our young talents follow in the footsteps of the former or active greats such as Marco Büchel.