The Kielburgers are different too. The brothers built their charity from a cottage industry into a global movement with millions of followers by working non-stop and doing little else. They are not guys you relax and have a beer with. It was easy for admirers to see them as visionaries, and just as easy for detractors to portray them as not being on the level. Because they are not like you and me, they must be up to something.
…. From the beginning, Craig and Marc were young men in a hurry. They brought the zeal and ambition of a Silicon Valley start-up to the charity sector. They wanted to generate impact through innovation and push for systemic change, and they wanted to do it at breakneck speed with as little interference as possible. Over twenty-five years, this approach led to breathtaking results, but it could also be nerve-racking. I came to understand—through the events of the past two years—that their drive to always do and deliver more is both their best asset and their Achilles heel.
The Kielburgers’ foibles, however, don’t satisfactorily explain the speed and ferocity with which they were attacked in the wake of the CSSG controversy. Instead, I believe the explanation lies in the fact that the brothers have always aroused a certain degree of suspicion and wariness. When they got caught in the crosshairs of a political scandal, that suspicion morphed into outright mistrust in many quarters.
I have never had any reason to doubt the Kielburgers’ sincerity, but in writing this book, I have tried to put my finger on why so many Canadians seemed quick to accept efforts to call their integrity into question. I think in large part it’s because the brothers sometimes come off as almost too sincere and devoted to their cause, projecting a pure-ness so excessive that it invites skepticism. People are comfortable….