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Casper Ruud Appointed Global Ambassador for W Initiative

Norway’s best tennis player and superstar Casper Ruud (23) is the new global ambassador for the Norwegian humanitarian foundation W Initiative. The agreement involves a close partnership over the next three years.

W Initiative was established in 2021 by SalMar heir Gustav Magnar Witzoe (29), to support humanitarian activities that improve the quality of life for children and young people around the world.

“I am proud to promote W Initiative on an international arena. I can think of nothing more meaningful than to help children and young people have a better live, better health and more equal opportunities, which also includes games and sports,” says Casper Ruud, who is currently competing in the French Open Grand Slam tournament.

Long-term partnership
As ambassador, Casper Ruud will be promoting the foundation and making it more visible to an international audience. This includes wearing the W Initiative logo on his clothing, talking about the foundation’s work during interviews, in social media and on his own website, as well as participating in various events organised by the foundation. The goal for the W Initiative is to be more visible and, consequently, receive information about and access to new projects around the world that it can support.

“The foundation actively searches for projects around the world that align with key sustainability goals. Having Casper Ruud as an ambassador will open more doors and we can reach international audiences in a completely different way,” explains Managing Director of the foundation Eirik Boe Sletten.

Gustav Magnar Witzoe created W Initiative in 2021 and it is Witzoe’s company Forward Project that is funding the partnership with Casper Ruud, which starts on 1 June and lasts until the end of 2024. W Initiative will then have the preferential right to extend the partnership for another two years.

The right man
“When I first met Casper, it was immediately clear that he was the right ambassador for the foundation – not only because he is one of the world’s best athletes who plays on the world’s premiere arenas, but also because he is simply a great guy who shares the foundation’s values and views. His contribution comes at an important time in the evolution of the foundation. If this partnership can also contribute positively to his own development as Norway’s best tennis player, that’s fantastic,” says Witzoe.

Witzoe comes from a small rural Island off the west coast of Norway with a population of just over 4000. His father pioneered the fish farming industry, in time becoming one of the world’s most successful in the industry, with his company SalMar.

W Initiative aims to grow through effective management and expansion to make increasingly meaningful contributions.

“Our first project in Uganda, which is being carried out together with Right To Play, contributes to better water and sanitary conditions, in addition to games and sports for children in three districts in the country. We have also joined a new project in Fiji headed by FijiStiftelsen. Thanks to the support of the W Initiative, FijiStiftelsen will be building two evacuation centres that will be used daily as a classroom and multipurpose room for children, as well as give women the opportunity to create their own workplace,” explains Boe Sletten.

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W Initiative facts and figures

W Initiative is a newly established humanitarian foundation that aims to improve the quality of life of children and young people. The projects supported by the foundation may be in Norway or elsewhere but must always be grounded in UN Sustainable Development Goals 3, 4, 5, 6 or 10. The projects must have a focus on increased competence, better health, and more equal opportunities. Gustav Magnar Witzoe has donated NOK 110 million to the foundation through his family-owned company, of which NOK 100 million is earmarked for the foundation’s founding capital to enable increasingly meaningful contributions through effective management and expansion. The foundation will actively seek out projects that align with its vision and purpose and it will not be possible to apply for funding from the foundation. The foundation wishes to work together with well-established organisations. An annual report will be published on status and progress based on the foundation’s objectives.

Management board

Witzoe is the son of SalMar founder Gustav Witzoe and is currently the majority shareholder of the parent company Kvarv AS. The management board also includes NTNU professor Heri Ramampiaro, associate attorney Kristina Jorgensen, chief physician Elisabeth Vesterbekkmo and civil engineer Magnus Witzoe. All board members have a different background, but with a strong affiliation with Trondelag.

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