Coronavirus Relief Concert
Lady Gaga’s coronavirus relief concert, “One World: Together at Home,” raised $127 million to provide the world’s poorest countries with personal protective equipment (PPE) and other essential supplies to fight the spread of COVID-19.

Performance for A Greater Good

In partnership with the World Health Organization and the United Nations, the organization Global Citizen released performances from artists including Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Alicia Keys and many more. The concert aimed to raise awareness of countries that could not afford the proper equipment needed for essential workers.

Global Citizen says that Lady Gaga’s coronavirus relief concert aimed to “celebrate and support healthcare workers and others on the frontlines, and the World Health Organization (WHO) as they lead the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.” Around the world, poor countries disproportionately feel the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic — more so than countries like the U.S.

What Did “One World: Together at Home” Accomplish?

Lady Gaga’s coronavirus relief concert raised support and awareness for the COVID-19 crisis all around the world due to the high-profile guests and musicians featured in the program.

As a result of the large-scale, global support, Global Citizen raised $127 million for PPE and other supplies to provide to people around the world. Specifically, they were able to supply “[more than] 700,000 surgical masks, 51,000 N95 masks, 727,000 gloves, 85,000 gowns, nearly 14,000 goggles, and [more than] 20,000 face shields.” Funds went to 120 countries, including 39 countries in Africa, 20 in the eastern Mediterranean region and 29 in the Americas.

Global Citizen is an organization that aims to end extreme poverty by 2030. The organization’s methods include posting, tweeting, messaging, signing, calling and voting on issues that are pertinent to extreme poverty around the world.

COVID-19 & Global Poverty

But what does COVID-19 have to do with global poverty? Overall, productivity growth, a large contributing factor for lifting people out of poverty, is at a low due to the virus. From past illnesses and financial depressions, some speculate that this low rate of productivity growth will decrease further, the longer the pandemic lasts.

Without financial stability and the necessary protective equipment for essential workers, it is clear that those in poverty will suffer greatly as a result of the pandemic. Without access to important protections, those in poverty will continue to go on with life as they had before. Unfortunately, these activities come with an increased risk of illness as well.

Areas in which there is extreme poverty are often overcrowded. This, in turn, leads to more exposure to the coronavirus when no protections like masks or face shields are present. Additionally, the hospital space quickly becomes overwhelmed with rising numbers of cases. If patients do not receive proper care and if necessary protections are not used, cases will likely continue to rise.

Hospitals in impoverished areas are frequently unlikely to have the capacity to afford PPE and  other vital supplies. Patients will not be able to afford care, nor will the hospitals be able to supply the proper care needed in these situations. All of these factors combined, lead to more deaths as a result of COVID-19. For these reasons, any activities like Lady Gaga’s (and other artists’) performance that promote the global use of PPE and provide critical funding toward purchasing these supplies are beneficial.

– Natalie Belford
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

United Nations' Short Film On September 19, 2020, the United Nations broadcasted a 30-minute short film on its Youtube channel regarding global issues and extreme poverty. The film, entitled “Nations United: Urgent Solutions for Urgent Times,” includes many big-name celebrities such as Beyoncé and Malala Yousafzai. Julia Roberts hosts a podcast version of the show. As global progress has been slowed down due to COVID-19, the United Nations’ short film sets outs the actions needed to address global issues like extreme poverty, gender equality, human rights and climate change.

Expanding Reach Using YouTube

Since YouTube’s audience includes a large number of young people, the United Nations’ YouTube channel will reach those who are not accustomed to reading articles and press statements. The channel has more than 900,000 subscribers and includes a live stream of the U.N. headquarters where viewers can stay up-to-date with current issues and events.

The UN Short Film: Nations United

The United Nations’ short film focuses on actions necessary to create change and marks the 75th anniversary of the U.N. as well as the fifth anniversary of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Writer, director and SDG advocate, Richard Curtis, produced the film. It features a multitude of activists and humanitarian celebrities.

The film’s four chapters address climate, poverty and inequality, justice and human rights as well as gender equality. Working to expose the fractures in society and ways to remedy them, this film attempts to layout valuable solutions to the problems at hand. First-hand recordings of global issues allow viewers to gain a visual understanding of the challenges plaguing the world and the consequences of not taking action.

The U.N. Sustainable Development Goals act as guideline of global progress, setting out key issues, targets and potential solutions. The transition to renewable energy, the taxation of carbon and the halt of deforestation are some viable solutions the film points out. Additive performances by musical artists like Beyoncé amplify the main messages of the film.

Derailed Goals Due to COVID-19

The launch of the Sustainable Development Goals in September 2015 involved the commitment of 193 world leaders to 17 objectives in order to “end extreme poverty and hunger, fight inequality and injustice and tackle climate change by 2030.” These goals have been completely derailed since the introduction of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the pandemic threatens global progress, the United Nations’ short film hopes to set out the actions needed to find viable solutions to address global issues and alleviate global poverty. The United Nations states that the film “will take audiences on a dynamic exploration of the times we live in, the multiple tipping points our planet faces and the interventions that could transform our world over the next 10 years.”

Natalie Whitmeyer
Photo: Flickr

BeyGood Fellowship ProgramLast December, Beyoncé performed at the Global Citizen Festival in South Africa, a festival aimed at ending global poverty. The 2018 festival was in honor of Nelson Mandela, former South African president and activist who died in 2013. Over 90,000 people attended the festival, which raised $7.1 billion worldwide. The highly anticipated performance garnered high viewership and engagement worldwide, and parts of the performance were streamed online. However, this was not the beginning of Beyoncé’s charity work in South Africa. Her foundation, BeyGood, has spotlighted local organizations for years. Now, BeyGood plans to return to South Africa twice a year to help develop and execute its community outreach plan. In doing so, BeyGood created the BeyGood Fellowship Program.

BeyGood Fellowship Program in South Africa

The BeyGood Fellowship Program in South Africa is being executed in partnership with Global Citizen. The two organizations are working to empower local youth in helping end world poverty by 2030. Each youth fellow receives a paid, yearlong job opportunity and will focus on one of four pillars of activity from Global Citizen: creative, campaigns, rewards or marketing.

In late March 2019, the BeyGood foundation reviewed applications and returned from New York to Johannesburg, South Africa. Once there, BeyGood representatives met with four fellows who have been working on the project since the Global Citizen Festival in December. They also met with local partners to see how their work has been going and what is needed to ensure future success.

BeyGood Foundation Partnerships in South Africa

In addition to the organization’s work in South Africa, the BeyGood Foundation is partnering with UNICEF USA and Chime for Change on a campaign called Every Drop Counts, bringing clean water to Burundi. The BeyGood Foundation also works with an organization in Johannesburg, IkamvaYouth. This organization aims to pull children out of poverty through after-school tutoring. Founded in 2003, IkamvaYouth is youth-driven and offers career advice and psychological services. It impacts 5,000 youths per year across 15 branches.

Moreover, BeyGood is partnered with 9-year-old arts organization Lalea, whose mission is to support youth through after-school art programs. The organization helps students manifest their dreams and think creatively to accomplish their goals. BeyGood’s visits to South Africa enabled them to check in with all of these programs and more. More importantly, it allowed BeyGood to ensure they are engaging the communities they serve and maintain and create future success.

Though the BeyGood fellowship program in South Africa is relatively new, the organization has continuously worked with various South African organizations to aid youth development. The program has executed on their promises to the community. Ultimately, BeyGood is an example of how to incorporate youth in the fight to end extreme poverty by 2030.

Ava Gambero
Photo: Google Images

Mandela 100 Festival
Singer Beyonce and her spouse, rapper Jay-Z, will be among several major artists to perform at Global Citizen’s Mandela 100 Festival in December 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Other artists scheduled to perform are Ed Sheeran, Chris Martin, Pharrell Williams, D’banj, Femi Kuti, Sho Madjozi, Tiwa Savage and Wizkid. This latest concert campaign is said to be Global Citizen’s ”biggest campaign on the Global Goals to end extreme poverty ever.”

According to Global Citizen, the festival is to represent a celebration of Mandela’s legacy as an exemplary leader, his fight against apartheid, and his methods of non-violent protest that shaped the future of South Africa, setting an example worldwide. The Mandela 100 festival will be the first-ever musical event organized by Global Citizen in Africa

 A Global Initiative

As an organization that is composed of members worldwide, Global Citizen is a model example of a successful nongovernmental organization (NGO), a true grassroots movement. The organization has projected some major numbers for 2018: an estimated 2.25 billion people worldwide are expected to receive some form of poverty relief from Global Citizen, ranging from a year of free education for children to clean water for an entire community.

Global Citizen divides its goals into nine separate categories, each representing a broad set of issues that need to be resolved. They are:

  • Girls and Women
  • Health
  • Finance/Innovation
  • Education
  • Food and Hunger
  • Water and Sanitation
  • Environment
  • Citizenship

Global Citizen’s goal is to eliminate extreme poverty worldwide by 2030—just 12 years from now. And it seems that the organization may accomplish its goals, having secured a whopping $2.9 billion in funding from government organizations worldwide for 2018 alone.

How Everyone Can Help

But besides relying on funding from government bodies, Global Citizen asks that individuals take action as well, through twitter, email or petition. Global Citizen’s website offers a streamlined way for its constituents to influence representatives not only in their own country but in countries worldwide.

Some of the most recent and significant contributions to Global Citizen have come from the U.K., Norway and the E.U. These nations gave £225 million, Kr.2.07 billion and  €337.5 million to Global Citizen’s Global Partnership for Education project, respectively.

Mandela 100 Festival: A Festival For The People

The Mandela 100 Festival begins on December 2, 2018, and besides the proceeds going toward Global Citizen’s international fight against poverty, the other goal of the festival experience is to ignite a passion in young people to feel empowered to make changes in the world. Global Citizen wants to involve youth, on an international level, in the fight against extreme poverty.

Global Citizen’s website states it wishes to “galvanize young, passionate people across Africa to pressure their leaders to make important strides.” In fact, the motto for the festival is “Be The Generation.” Considering that Global Citizen is expecting to end abject poverty worldwide in little over a decade, millennials may just become the generation to tip the scales in the ongoing fight to elevate all members of our global community.

– Jason Crosby
Photo: Google

Many celebrities have participated in charities for all sorts of causes. Here are ten celebrity quotes that will inspire you to give back, too.

“The truth of the matter is: you can create a great legacy, and inspire others, by giving to philanthropic organizations.”
– Michael Bloomberg, entrepreneur, politician and philanthropist

“I choose to rise up out of that storm and see that in moments of desperation, fear and helplessness, each of us can be a rainbow of hope, doing what we can to extend ourselves in kindness and grace to one another. And I know for sure that there is no them – there’s only us.”
– Oprah Winfrey, talk show host, actress and founder of Oprah’s Angel Network

“If you think of life as like a big pie, you can try to hold the whole pie and kill yourself trying to keep it, or you can slice it up and give some to the people around you, and you still have plenty left for yourself.”
– Jay Leno, television host and humanitarian

“No matter what happens in life, be good to people. Being good to people is a wonderful legacy to leave behind.”
– Taylor Swift, professional singer and the 2014 Most Charitable Celebrity

“With a generation of younger folks who have thrived on the success of their companies, there is a big opportunity for many of us to give back earlier in our lifetime and see the impact of our philanthropic efforts.”
– Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder, investor and patron

“One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world.”
– Malala Yousafzai, women’s rights activist and 2014 Nobel Peace Prize Winner

“Is the rich world aware of how four billion of the six billion live? If we were aware, we would want to help out, we’d want to get involved.”
– Bill Gates, business magnate, computer programmer and co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

“It’s about giving the gift of life to a stranger.”
– Leighton Meester, actress, professional singer and philanthropist

“If you’re in the luckiest one percent of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99 percent.”
– Warren Buffet, investor, businessman and member of The Giving Pledge

“We’re all in this together. Each and every one of us can make a difference by giving back.”
– Beyoncé, professional singer, musician and founder of BeyGood

Fallon Lineberger

Sources: Cause Cast, Daily Mail, Ecorazzi, Giving What We Can, Inspire More, Michael Bloomberg, National Philanthropic Trust,, The Giving Pledge, The Quotations Page, Twitter
Photo: Flickr

Beyonce-Global-Citizen-FestivalMSNBC’s Global Citizen Festival, an annual concert which raises support for anti-global poverty movements, now proudly boasts Beyoncé, Pearl Jam, Ed Sheeran and Coldplay as supporters of the cause.

The concert, which will be held Saturday, September 6th in New York City’s Central Park, is a six-hour long show that will air for free on MSNBC’s website. MSNBC is estimating that over 60,000 people alone will visit the website on the day of the show.

“The Global Citizen Festival will channel the power of hundreds of thousands of global citizens, lending their voices to achieve policy and financial commitments that will shape the future,” Hugh Evans, CEO of the Global Poverty Project, told MSNBC.”

Attending the event in person is going to require a bit more participation than simply opening a website, however. Those interested in acquiring tickets to the show must complete five “Action Journeys,” which include calling the State Department and telling them to “commit 50 percent of the U.S foreign aid budget to the world’s poorest countries,” amongst other tasks.

The Global Citizen Festival is coinciding with the announcement of the UN’s new Global Goals program, which is seeking to eliminate global poverty by 2030. According to MSNBC, these goals “carry the promise of equal rights and opportunity for women and men: the promise to live a healthy and dignified life, the promise for every child to survive and thrive.”

Past incarnations of the Global Citizen Festival have proven to be successful. The Global Citizen Organization boasts over $18.3 million in cash donations since 2012.

“By making this call, we will show the U.S. administration that the world is watching and demand concrete solutions that will lead to the end of extreme poverty by 2030,” Evans added.

– Alexander Jones

Sources: Huffington Post, Newsbusters, MSNBC
Photo: Entertainment Weekly

As the United States grapples with the gender gap, countries abroad deal with an even larger one. Women abroad face economic, political, social and structural barriers that prevent them from succeeding in a competitive market, revealing a correlation between gender and poverty.

ONE, an international campaign and advocacy organization, has addressed an open letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and African Union Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. Both leading women will hold meetings at the upcoming G7 Summit in Germany and African Union Summit in South Africa. In both meetings, there will be one agenda: women’s empowerment.

This year, a blueprint will be drawn up for the new global goals, which will influence investments for the next 15 years. Known as the Sustainable Development Goals, the plan aims to target its efforts on eradicating global poverty by 2030. With this in mind, ONE’s goal to address gender and poverty is crucial. The letter addresses the critical need to raise awareness for women’s rights in regards to global poverty, especially in African governments.

“The poorest women are often barred from owning and inheriting land and other property, opening a bank account, or accessing education. Women in the developing world are far more likely to die giving birth, become child brides (and suffer abuse from their husbands), or suffer from chronic health problems,” ONE reports.

These issues also extend to women’s opportunities in agriculture, which has been reported to be the most effective at reducing poverty. According to the “Poverty is Sexist” report, agricultural productivity for females is 23 to 66 percent lower than males. With the lack of access to labor, tools, extension services and financing, these problems persist. However, if efforts were refocused on women and poverty, it is projected that agriculture could increase by 20 to 30 percent, feeding 100 to 150 million additional people.

How can efforts be refocused on this gender-sensitive subject? When women are placed at the forefront of the new development agenda, better targeted investments are made in health, education and economic empowerment. These investments have specific challenges and opportunities; however, by reducing the gender gap in poorer countries, strides can be made.

“Reducing differences in the employment rate between men and women by 2017 could generate an additional $1.6 trillion in global output,” says ONE.

In addition, stronger health systems that benefit women could decrease maternal and child deaths; reliable energy could allow women and girls to spend less time collecting fuel (increasing time for economic pursuits); and quality education could create an economic and social benefit for the entire world.

Influential women around the world have already signed ONE’s petition to raise awareness for women in poverty—including Beyoncé, Lady Gaga and Meryl Streep. The petition can be signed here.

Briana Galbraith

Sources: Billboard, ONE 1, ONE 2, ONE 3
Photo: Miami Agent Magazine

chime for change
Haute fashion house Gucci held a benefit on June 3 at its Manhattan location on 5th Avenue in honor of its charity program, Chime for Change. Many influential celebrities were in supportive attendance such as Beyonce and actress Blake Lively. The event celebrated the charity’s first anniversary, marking a year of explosive growth and international charitable influence.

Chime for Change is a charity and international women’s empowerment and awareness campaign sponsored by Gucci, cofounded by Salma Hayek Pinault, Beyonce Knowles-Carter and Frida Giannini, Gucci’s creative director. The campaign is partnered with charity powerhouses such as the Kering Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Facebook, Catapult, Twitter, Hearst Magazines and Kellogg’s.

Gucci pledged to donate $1 million in proceeds from its global perfume sales; Gucci fragrance customers can donate $5 from each purchase to various projects, charities and organizations supporting justice, health or education for women and young girls. It also set up an official Chime for Change website, through which direct donations to the latter programs can be collected online. The campaign is partnered with Catapult, which connects donors and volunteers directly to over 50 organizations throughout 38 countries worldwide.

These organizations are primarily focused upon the formerly mentioned goals of female education, justice and health; the program has thus far contributed significantly to these programs, and its progress is meticulously recorded online at For example, the program provided enough funding for midwives in Cambodia to reduce the country’s high rate of maternal deaths during childbirth. It has also nearly completed gathering the funding necessary to both create homes for young girls in India and provide free, sanitary cesarean sections to impoverished women at the St. Damien Hospital in Haiti (a nation in which one in 10 mothers die during childbirth.)

Another page of the website tracks donation progress by percentage for various exigent causes, such as providing health services for 35 rescued victims of human trafficking at a time and funding peer education in Spain to prevent female genital mutilation, which affects over 100 million children globally.

Chime for Change makes it simple for customers around the world to easily contribute to many influential causes worldwide; it represents a meaningful and influential step towards alleviating world poverty.

– Arielle Swett

Sources: Chime for Change, Huffington Post, Catapult
Photo: Closet On The Go

beyonce giving
Beyoncé Knowles is a fashion icon, musical genius and world-class performer.  Going beyond the world of pop-culture, Beyoncé and her husband Jay-Z work closely with many philanthropy organizations.

Beyoncé partnered with Kelly Rowland to found the Survivor Foundation after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.  The organization provided transitional housing for those affected in the Houston area.  Within five years the organization has provided more than $2.5 million dollars to housing projects like Habitat for Humanity, Temenos Place, and the Knowles-Rowland Community Outreach Center.  The foundation has expanded to work out of other U.S. cities affected by natural disasters.

Beyoncé has also contributed her talents to many benefit concerts such as Hope for Haiti Now, World Humanitarian Day by the UN, World Children’s Day, and Chime for Change, a group advocating women’s rights.  In 2010, Beyoncé partnered with Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign to end childhood obesity. A strong partner with Stand Up to Cancer, Beyoncé recorded a single for the cause with Leann Rimes and Mary J Blige.

Beyoncé uses her role as a music and style icon to act as the face for CFDA’s Fashion for Haiti campaign and the co-founder of the Cosmetology Center at Brooklyn’s Phoenix House, a drug rehabilitation center.  In 2008, the music icon took philanthropy to another level when she donated all of the proceeds from her Cadillac Records deal to the Phoenix House. The star also supports the food donation charity, Miss-a-Meal, and the Goodwill foundation among others.

When Beyoncé and Jay-Z had their baby, Blue Ivy Carter, the couple chose to donate her baby gifts to charity.  Most of the gifts have gone to young mothers and their children.  “Reaching out and touching lives is incredibly empowering,” says Beyoncé, “that’s why I want my fans to experience the joy of making a difference by helping someone else.”

Stephanie Lamm

Sources: Huffington Post, Seventeen, Look to the Stars, Microgiving Blog

Music has always been one of the most provocative and powerful mediums to promote advocacy and change.  From the protest folk of Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan, to the Civil Rights soul of Sam Cooke and Curtis Mayfield, to the politically poignant hip hop of The Roots and Mos Def, music engages us with the issues of our time on an emotional level.

Last week, some of music’s most well known figures joined together to release Songs for the Philippines on iTunes.  Stars both past and present are featured on the album, the proceeds of which will go solely to the Philippine Red Cross to aid in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan.

Packed with 39 songs (many of which are classics) and a price tag of $9.99, the album makes for a wonderful addition to your holiday shopping list.  Some of the artists included on the album are Bob Dylan, Beyonce, Eminem, The Beatles, Lady Gaga, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Earth Wind & Fire. Where else can you find such an eclectic mix?  The variety alone makes it a great purchase.

Benefit albums have become a staple for iTunes following natural disasters.  Songs for Japan was released in 2011 to support the victims of the tsunami in Japan.  Much like Songs for the Philippines, Songs for Japan featured a similar variety of artists ranging from John Lennon to U2 to Foo Fighters.  These benefit albums show how the music industry can stand united to support a greater cause.

Of course, that is not to suggest that the artists are randomly chosen.  “This brilliant collection is united by a message of hope and compassion,” according to the iTunes synopsis of Songs for the Philippines.  With titles such as “Hero,” “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You),” “Carry You Home,” and of course, “Let It Be,” it’s easy to see such themes.

Songs for the Philippines is a great way to show your support and compassion for the people of the Philippines.  Oh, and in the unlikely event that you already own all 39 songs on the collection, iTunes features a link to the American Red Cross’s donation site for Typhoon Haiyan relief right beside the album.  There is no reason not to contribute.

– Taylor Diamond

Sources: Huffington Post, Spin, iTunes
Photo: Straits Times