Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity

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The GOCC logo

The Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity (GOCC, Polish Wielka Orkiestra Świątecznej Pomocy, WOŚP) is one of the biggest, non-governmental, non-profit, charity organizations in Poland. The GOCC Foundation has American Heart Association certification for providing courses in CPR and ECC, and for the use of high technology for medical lifesaving.


It was founded in 1993 by Jerzy Owsiak, Lidia Niedźwiedzka-Owsiak, Bohdan Maruszewski, and Piotr Burczyński. The main objective, at that time, was "Protecting Health and Saving Children's Lives by Providing Medical Equipment to Public Hospitals" (as stated in the deed of foundation). During the first Finale (for the benefit of pediatric cardio-surgery) in the same year, the Foundation collected a total of USD 1,535,440.68.

Every year, millions of Poles donate to the Foundation and through 24 Grand Finales, the Foundation collected over $130 million for cardio-surgery, neonatology, paediatric oncology, kidney diseases, congenital defects, newborns and children under 5 years of age in public hospitals.[1]

Apart from The Grand Finale, the Foundation also organizes one of the biggest rock concerts in Poland, the Woodstock Festival Poland, and it started the Peace Patrol, a group of young volunteers trained in first aid by the GOCC, the Polish Red Cross and the Szadowo town police. In 2010, the Charity paid to be the sponsor of Ruch Chorzów, one of Poland's top football teams.

The Grand Finale[edit]

As of 2002, The Grand Finale takes place on the second Sunday of every new year. Sponsored by many Polish and worldwide companies, it is a one-day long, nationwide, money-raising event. Volunteers from all around Poland go out on the street and collect money in special cans which are labeled with a red heart and text: "Wielka Orkiestra Świątecznej Pomocy" (Polish for The Grand Orchestra of Christmas Charity). They also have identification cards, thanks to which anyone can report suspicious-looking people collecting money to the police without any such proof of authorization. Everyone who gives the volunteers any amount of money, gets a red heart sticker in return.

On the day, huge parties are thrown around the country (and at other places where Polish people live). These are organized by volunteers, except for the biggest event which takes place at the Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw, and is managed by the GOCC itself. At 8 p.m. a firework show takes place in every city as the so-called 'light to heaven'.

Finale Date Project objectives Funds raised
(in USD) (in 2016 USD)
I January 3, 1993 Children's cardio-surgery 1,535,440.68 2,515,208.17
II January 2, 1994 Neonatology 1,930,726.93 3,082,487.47
III January 8, 1995 Pediatric oncology 2,816,465.36 4,373,855.68
IV January 7, 1996 Rescue of accident victims 2,543,413.59 3,837,516.24
V January 5, 1997 Children's cardio-surgery 3,062,067.29 4,513,756.32
VI January 4, 1998 Rescue of accident victims 3,543,276.74 5,144,189.65
VII January 10, 1999 Neonatology 4,515,020.82 6,413,566.33
VIII January 9, 2000 Children's kidney diseases 6,089,390.91 8,367,470.29
IX January 7, 2001 Newborns and children under 5 6,112,642.74 8,168,953.68
X January 13, 2002 Congenital defects 6,848,998.85 9,010,773.51
XI January 12, 2003 Newborns and children under 5 7,695,614.16 9,899,332.9
XII January 11, 2004 Newborns and children under 5 6,923,443.22 8,673,820.43
XIII January 9, 2005 Progressive methods of diagnostics and treatment in neonatology and pediatrics 9,864,292.87 11,951,778.26
XIV January 8, 2006 Saving lives of children injured in accidents / teaching CPR and first aid 9,660,691.63 11,339,910.56
XV January 14, 2007 Saving lives of children injured in accidents / CPR education 10,276,156.07 11,727,450.78
XVI January 13, 2008 Children with otolaryngological conditions 13,883,627.13 15,259,114.76
XVII January 11, 2009 Prevention and early diagnosis of cancer in children 13,404,441.27 14,785,013.47
XVIII January 10, 2010 Prevention and early diagnosis of cancer in children 14,413,466.03 15,640,799.17
n/a July 4, 2010 Special Finale: "Prevent Flooding!" 805,662.73 874,266.39
XIX January 9, 2011 Urological and nephrological diseases 16,499,157.81 17,355,844.85
XX January 8, 2012 The purchase of life-saving equipment for premature and insulin pumps 16,219,987.60 16,718,413.08
XXI January 13, 2013 Saving the lives of children and providing adequate healthcare for the elderly 16,432,382.15 16,692,952.78
XXII January 12, 2014 Saving the lives of children and providing adequate healthcare for the elderly 17,224,553.53 17,217,289.87
XXIII January 11, 2015 Treatment of children in pediatric and oncology wards and treatment of the elderly 14,011,311.90[2] 14,011,311.9
XXIV January 10, 2016 Treatment of children in pediatric and oncology wards and treatment of the elderly 18,397,947.76[3] 18,397,947.76
TOTAL: 139,224,941.54 USD
255,973,024.3 in 2016 USD


  1. ^ "'Orchestra' collects millions for kids". Radio Poland (Warsaw: Radio Poland). 2014-01-13. Retrieved 2015-01-10. This year, the main goals were to raise money for equipment on emergency wards for children, as well as to continue last year's bid to create better geriatric care in Poland. 
  2. ^ "Record donations for WOŚP charity drive". Radio Poland (Warsaw: Radio Poland). 2015-03-09. Retrieved 2015-03-09. Speaking to Polish Radio on Monday morning, WOŚP founder Jurek Owsiak thanked Poles for their generosity, announcing that the exact figure raised amounted to PLN 53,109,172.83. 
  3. ^ "Podczas 24. Finału WOŚP zebraliśmy 72 696 501,53 PLN!" [24. During the Final WOŚP collected 72 696 501.53 PLN!] (Press release). Poland: Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity. 2016-03-07. Retrieved 2016-03-08. The amount declared at the end of 24. Final WOŚP: 44 047 594 PLN during the 24th Final WOŚP collected: 72 696 501.53 PLN including orchestral auctions collected: 4 449 705.66 PLN 

External links[edit]