DC Entertainment's heroic response to hunger in the Horn of Africa

Ethiopia, October 15, 2013

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  • Halimo Hassan and her 3-month-old baby Nimco are two of the 72,000 mothers and children in Ethiopia who we've reached with treatment for malnutrition. Photo: Andie Long/Mercy Corps

In 2011, famine was declared in Somalia for the first time in 20 years. Across the Horn of Africa, 12 million people — more than the population of Connecticut, Minnesota and Oregon combined — were going to bed each night hungry.

In the midst of this grim situation, with so many families in need of a hero, DC Entertainment stepped up to help tackle the region’s worst hunger crisis in 60 years.

DC Entertainment, a subsidiary of the iconic entertainment company Warner Bros., partnered with Mercy Corps, Save the Children and the International Rescue Committee to provide aid to families in the Horn of Africa through a campaign appropriately titled We Can Be Heroes.

Featuring the iconic Justice League characters — Aquaman, Green Lantern, Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash and Cyborg — the two-year, multimillion dollar campaign aimed to empower each of us to be a hero for people in need.

DC Entertainment launched the campaign in early 2012 with a heroic commitment: to match the first $1 million dollars donated to the crisis.

But the We Can Be Heroes campaign did more than raise funds. It also raised awareness and reminded us all that one small act can make us a hero.

In June 2012, Mercy Corps had the honor of hosting Darkness & Light, a touring exhibit featuring artwork and photographs inspired by the fight against hunger. We Can Be Heroes was featured in publications such as People and Sports Illustrated, and highlighted on the "Anderson Cooper Show." Singer Daughtry recorded an acoustic version of his hit song “Rescue Me,” with net proceeds from iTunes benefiting the campaign.

In the campaign’s second year, DC Entertainment turned to its core fan base of comic book enthusiasts to lead the fight against hunger. Crowdfunding campaigns on the Indiegogo platform engaged Justice League fans by offering donors a limited number of signed memorabilia by DC Entertainment writers and artists. The crowdfunding campaigns were a huge success, raising more than $415,000 (and counting) and engaging thousands of new supporters.

But behind all the numbers, what matters most is our impact. The events that DC Entertainment set in motion had a ripple effect that crossed oceans. Thanks to DC Entertainment and others who joined the fight, Mercy Corps was able provide lifesaving food and medical care for 72,000 women and children in remote villages in Ethiopia, helping them to survive this crisis.

READ MORE: From hungry to healthy - Saving children in the Horn of Africa

Mercy Corps is proud to have been a partner in this groundbreaking campaign. As the We Can Be Heroes campaign to fight hunger in the Horn of Africa comes to a close at the end of the year, we thank DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. for their leadership in reminding us all that in time of crisis, one act, big or small, can make you a hero.