$500 Million Pledged at Concert in NYC’s Central Park

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October 1, 2012; Source: Forbes

This past summer, NPQ noted that a charity concert in New York’s Central Park would feature Neil Young, Foo Fighters, the Black Keys, Band of Horses and K’naan—and would ask its attendees to earn their tickets through donations or taking some other form of action. We reported that the Global Citizen Festival wouldn’t be the first charity concert to ask its attendees to get involved in this way, but that it would be “likely one of the largest to do so.” The concert happened this past Saturday, as 60,000 or so music fans can attest, and the pledge totals are in. As Forbes reports, the concert “became the largest syndicated charity concert in online and broadcast television history, generating over $500 million in pledges to combat poverty around the world.”

The concert was supported by the nonprofit Capital for Good and several foundations, including the Pratt Foundation, the Sumner M. Redstone Foundation, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and it was presented by the Global Poverty Project, which seeks to address extreme poverty by advocating for these five goals:

  • “Better Aid: We want to ensure that foreign aid is targeted towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
  • More Aid: We believe every nation we operate in should work towards investing 0.7% Gross National Income in foreign aid.
  • Better Trade: We believe fair and balanced trade relations are important to tackling poverty, and want to see improvements in the multilateral trading position of developing countries.
  • More Ethical Trade: We’re working to dramatically increase the market share of ethical traded consumer goods to provide fair wage access to millions.
  • Enabling environment: We want to see investment in education, infrastructure and governance because we know this provides an enabling environment for developing countries to work their way out of poverty.”

A $500 million charity concert is not a bad start. Australian philanthropist and festival founder Hugh Evans says that the sum raised is “so close” to “see[ing] that polio is wiped off the face of this planet, and that’s what we’re committed to.” The festival was designed not just to raise money, however, but also to engage its audience in some form of activism. Attendees earned points that translated into a spot in a ticket lottery by doing good deeds or by volunteering. We would love to hear from those who attended. What did you do to get your ticket? Was it a one-shot deal or has it encouraged you to pursue some ongoing action? –Mike Keefe-Feldman

  • Tracy

    I got tickets to the show by learning about and sharing the information about extreme poverty. I have donated to 3 organizations so far and will continue to do so, probably for the rest of my life.

  • Ria Burghardt

    Always good to raise awareness about global poverty and applaud the enthusiasm generated, but — and this is a very big “but” — important to disclose to public just how much will actually go to help alleviate poverty, after the producers and promoters et al cover their expenses (take a profit?) and then there needs to be transparency about what the money will actually be used for. Having been part of the remnants of the original world-wide series of concerts to alleviate global poverty in 1999 with many of the same participants, these are important issues to disclose.

  • Ed Pilkington

    How much actually goes to the needy?