Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity
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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 $100 million for cardio-surgery, neonatology, paediatric oncology, kidney diseases, congenital defects, newborns and children under 5 years of age in public hospitals.
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
The Grand Finale takes place on the first or 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||14,011,311.9|
|XXIV||January 10, 2016||Treatment of children in pediatric and oncology wards and treatment of the elderly||TBA||TBA|
172,935,108.91 in 2016 USD
- "'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.
- "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.
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