Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity
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 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 "Health Protection and Saving of Children's Lives Saving through Providing Medical Equipment to Public Hospitals" (from 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 their money to the Foundation and, between 1993 and 2005, they collected more than USD 60 million for public hospitals in Poland.
Apart from The Great Finale, the Foundation also organizes one of the biggest rock concerts in Poland, The Woodstock Stop, and it started the Peace Patrol, a group of young volunteers trained in first aid by the GOCC, the Polish Red Cross and the local police from the town of Szadowo.
The Great Finale
The Great 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 Great 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.
During this one 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 Pałac Kultury i Nauki (Palace of Culture and Science) in Warsaw, and is managed by the GOCC itself.
Throughout seventeen Great Finales, the Foundation collected over $100 million for cardio-surgery, neonatology, pediatric oncology, kidney diseases, congenital defects, newborns and children under 5 years of age.
|Finale||Date||Project objectives||Raised funds|
|I||January 3, 1993||Children's cardio-surgery||1,535,440.68|
|II||January 2, 1994||Neonatology||1,930,726.93|
|III||January 8, 1995||Pediatric oncology||2,816,465.36|
|IV||January 7, 1996||Rescue of accident victims||2,543,413.59|
|V||January 5, 1997||Children's cardio-surgery||3,062,067.29|
|VI||January 4, 1998||Rescue of accident victims||3,543,276.74|
|VII||January 10, 1999||Neonatology||4,515,020.82|
|VIII||January 9, 2000||Children's kidney diseases||6,089,390.91|
|IX||January 7, 2001||Newborns and children under 5||6,112,642.74|
|X||January 13, 2002||Congenital defects||6,848,998.85|
|XI||January 12, 2003||Newborns and children under 5||7,695,614.16|
|XII||January 11, 2004||Newborns and children under 5||6,923,443.22|
|XIII||January 9, 2005||Progressive methods of diagnostics and treatment in neonatology and pediatrics||9,864,292.87|
|XIV||January 8, 2006||Saving lives of children injured in accidents / teaching CPR and first aid||9,660,691.63|
|XV||January 14, 2007||Saving lives of children injured in accidents / CPR education||10,276,156.07|
|XVI||January 13, 2008||Children with otolaryngological conditions||13,521,862.40|
|XVII||January 11, 2009||Prevention and early diagnosis of cancer in children||13,404,441.27|
|XVIII||January 10, 2010||Prevention and early diagnosis of cancer in children||12 592 222.57*|
|(none)||July 4, 2010||Special Finale: "Flood Stop!"||TBA|