By the end of the year, the Millennial generation is projected to outgrow the Baby Boomer generation in the U.S., being predicted to grow to 75.3 million. Their large numbers will become crucial to helping end extreme poverty by 2030.

Since 1980, the world has made the unprecedented progress regarding extreme poverty–cutting extreme poverty in half from 43 percent in 1990 to fewer than 20 percent today.

Even with this upward progression, over 1 billion people worldwide suffer from extreme poverty, living on less than $1.25 per day. To make steps toward ending extreme poverty by 2030, 188 countries agreed to the UN’s goals at the World Bank Meetings in 2013.

If Millennials around the world connect themselves through social media and other events, this goal will become possible. As the first generation to have full access to technology at a young age, Millennials can spark a conversation and voice their concerns via social media.

While social media is beneficial in the fight to eradicate extreme poverty, events and festivals are taking place around the country to get the generation involved in the project.

On April 10, 2014, Global Citizen partnered with the World Bank Youth Network to host End Poverty 2030: Millennials take on the challenge in Washington, D.C. The event focused on the important role Millennials play in the fight to stop extreme poverty, even featuring a short film created by award-winning film writer and director Richard Curtis.

Over 1,000 people, including Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon, attended the event while thousands more watched the event online. During the event, Ki-moon had a few encouraging words for the generation.

“I know that your generation can break this vicious cycle of extreme poverty, and I count on your strong engagement,” Ki-moon said.

More awareness for extreme poverty can be found at the Global Citizens Festival on Sept. 26 in Central Park. The music festival will include superstars Pearl Jam, Beyoncé, Coldplay and Ed Sheeran, with more to be announced on the festival’s website.

This year in order to buy a ticket, potential buyers are encouraged to complete the Eight Global Steps before entering their name into a raffle system. Some of these steps include tweeting the UN’s Global Goals or signing a petition to bring awareness to the Global Food Security Act.

Since the festival’s inception in 2011, $1.3 billion has been raised to support extreme poverty.

As festivals and events continue to be organized and geared towards Millennials, there is hope to end extreme poverty by 2030.

Alexandra Korman

Sources: Forbes, Global Citizen, Pew Research
Photo: Huffington Post

music festival
Hugh Evans, CEO of the Global Poverty Project, organized a music festival late last month in an effort to inspire youth to become invested in eliminating global poverty.

Renowned electronic dance music (EDM) artists performed at the “Thank You Festival,” which was meant to be both a celebration of past successes in the poverty reduction field as well as an opportunity to get young people excited about the cause. It was organized by Global Citizen, an offshoot of the Global Poverty Project.

The number of people living below the international poverty line and the number of global child deaths have dropped significantly in the past decade. “The American public, charities and governments have played a vital role in helping to make this happen. In recognition of the American public’s efforts, and to call for further action on behalf of the world’s children, Global Citizen and World Childhood Foundation held the Thank You Festival,” said Evans.

The festival organizers wanted the event to be stimulating, but didn’t want to lose track of the bigger picture. To help accomplish this, a massive, 15-foot-tall inflatable toilet was installed near the center of the event as a symbol of the dire state of global sanitation, which made it hard for festival-goers to forget what the music was celebrating.

Why target the music festival crowd as potential supporters of poverty reduction? “If you look at who listens to EDM, it’s young people,” said Evans. “If you want to be speaking to millennials, you’ve got to be speaking to [the artists] millennials are listening to… I think that the people behind the music care deeply about these issues, and the question is: How do you create the right platform for them to express that?”

One of his methods to achieve this involved changing how people could access tickets. Tickets to the event could only be earned by performing certain tasks online through Global Citizen. For example, potential festival-goers could write a letter to Congress, volunteer or sign a poverty-related petition to gain points that would make them more likely to receive tickets.

Even if some portion of the target audience is performing these activities just as a means to get tickets, they are still becoming more informed citizens and are learning first-hand how to make a difference in the world.

The Thank You Festival celebrated the contributions that the United States has made thus far in the fight against global poverty and the efforts that have been made in improving the lives of children across the globe. “Our foreign aid and our charitable contributions,” Evans said, “are saving and transforming lives, enabling parents and children in the poorest communities in the world to achieve their dreams.”

There is, however, much progress to be made. The end of global poverty will only be possible with support and dedication from the rising generation of youth — a goal that Hugh Evans and Global Citizen are one step closer to achieving through their work melding EDM festivals with poverty reduction projects.

– Emily Jablonksi

Sources: Global Citizen, MSNBC, Washington Post
Photo: Club Glow

The image of the starving college student or struggling young adult seems to juxtapose the image of a citizen willing to give part of their hard-earned salary to nonprofit organizations. However, the Millennials (roughly described as those born between 1979 and 1994) are actually more willing to give to causes they believe in than you would think. Although only seven percent of adults believe that the younger generation is more generous than the previous ones, statistics have shown that Millennials have been unselfish in donating both their time and money.

In 2011, 75% of young people aged 20-35 donated monetarily, 63% donated their time and 70% raised money for nonprofit organizations. In 2012, this increased to 83% that donated financially to an organization while 52% were interested in monthly donating.

We ask ourselves though, what is the motivation driving the younger generation to give? According to a report composed by Achieve titled “The 2013 Millennial Impact Report,” the top four reasons are:

  • They are passionate about a cause or issue.
  • They feel like they can make a difference.
  •  Getting involved gives them an opportunity to connect and network with like-minded people.
  • They can utilize their professional skills and expertise to help others.

Although it was found that the younger generation give relatively small amounts, this can actually be positive because it means they are more concerned in seeing the efficacy of each dollar donated.

“If they can give, I can too!”

You’re absolutely right! There are so many ways to give back to organizations both in your community and internationally:

  • Make a list of causes you care about and set aside a predetermined amount per year you plan to donate.
  • Give clothes you haven’t worn in years or clothes you don’t need to charity.
  • Sell items you don’t use on EBay or host a yard sale and give the profits to a cause you care about.
  • Find volunteer opportunities near you. ( is a great place to start!)
  • If an organization doesn’t already exist for the cause you care about, create your own nonprofit.

The reasons to give are endless. Even donating a small amount can give you a sense of community when you see the collective efforts of your small donation combined with the donations of others all contributing to a larger cause. Donating any amount makes you more grateful for what you have, and you are given a sense of wealth by being able to share what little you have with others.

When you donate, it inspires those around you to donate, too. Create a movement among your friends to volunteer together, or pool your money for a cause you all care deeply about and see the effects of your efforts working to make the world a better place.

Whether it’s providing people in developing countries with water, donating to breast cancer research or volunteering at a local soup kitchen, get involved and know that even the smallest donation of time or money can help.

– Kimberly Tierney

Sources: Family Share, Huffington Post, Millennial Impact Report, Philanthropy, Stay Classy, USA Today, U.S. News, World Vision

Photo: Chillicothe


Ask any millennial activists between the ages of 26 – 32 about the after school cartoon series Captain Planet and the Planeteers and you will generally hear them enthusiastically remarked, “Wasn’t that the show about the eco-friendly superhero?”

The 30-minute long cartoon produced by well-known philanthropist Ted Turner and Hanna-Barbera was the first environmentally themed children’s show of its time. The plot was centered around 5 precocious adolescents known as the Planeteers who helped an earthy spirit named Gaia fend off environmentally toxic villains from destroying the planet. When confronted with an insurmountable foe, they would combine the powers of their elemental-based (earth, wind, water, fire, heart) rings to summon Captain Planet who would – along with future millennial activists – remark, “By your powers combined, I am Captain Planet!”

Aside from the exciting entertainment value of an elemental-based, pro-sustainability superhero fighting the evils of environmental devastation, Captain Planet also taught important life lessons to children who would become future environmentalists. The following are 3 ways that Captain Planet inspired millennial activists.

1. Success means working together – No matter what situation facing the five Planeteers, the underlying message was that in order to prevent catastrophic damage to the environment; Kwame, Wheeler, Linka, Gi, and Ma-Ti would have to work together. That principle wasn’t lost on children who would later grow up to be politically aware millennial activists dedicated to both environmentally sustainable policies and combating global poverty.

2. Being smart is cool – From Kwame’s interest in plant life to Linka’s knowledge of computer technology, the message to future millennial activists was clear, intelligence is cool and academic interests are a benefit as opposed to a liability. Furthermore, without their collective intellect, super villains such as Hoggish Greedly would have never been brought to justice for their Eco-crimes.

3. Destroying the environment effects everyone – Looking at the varied origins of the Planeteers, the overall theme of the interconnected vulnerability of all nations to environmental damage was not lost on millennial activists. Whether from Ghana, China, the former Soviet Union, Brazil, or the United States; all the Planeteers were committed to the protection of Gaia and the practice of responsible environmental stewardship and sustainability.

– Brian Turner
Source: Wikepedia
Photo: PVPixels