The Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity Foundation is a public benefit organisation registered under Polish law.
In 30 years of our charitable endeavours, we raised nearly PLN 2 billion
We donated over 70 000 pieces of medical equipment
Our objective is to support public healthcare in Poland. We achieve this goal by purchasing state-of-the-art equipment for Polish hospitals and clinics. We have also initiated and helped to run eight nationwide medical programmes, which aim to transform medicine in the country systematically. The purpose of our educational programme is to introduce CPR lessons to primary schools nationwide. We work to raise awareness and improve health prevention in the entire country. Our Foundation's work is focused on supporting children's medicine and enhancing the level of care offered to senior patients in geriatric and long-term care units.
The financial means to purchase the equipment and finance the running of medical and educational programmes are raised during a one-day public fundraiser. The fundraiser, known as The Grand Finale, is traditionally held on a Sunday in January. The drive is organised locally, and the entire country joins in to 'play' - as in to raise funds - in support of a particular branch of medicine. The objective of each Grand Finale fundraiser is consulted experts in the field.
Some of the objectives of the Grand Finales so far include, among others:
- Children's cardiac surgery
- Traumatology & saving lives of children hurt in accidents
- Saving the lives of newborns and very young children
- Children's Nephrology
- Saving the lives of children with congenital disabilities
- Introducing modern methods of diagnosis and treatment in neonatology and paediatrics
- Children's oncology
- Providing equipment for adequate and dignified care of elderly patients
Apart from purchasing equipment for Polish hospitals, we have initiated and financed eight medical programmes.
We also aim to introduce CPR and first aid lessons for children in primary schools across the country.
Come summer, we organise the largest, non-commercial, open-air festival in Europe - Pol'and'Rock Festival, formerly known as Woodstock Festival Poland.
24th Pol'and'Rock Festival 2018
24. Pol'and'Rock Festival odbył się w Kostrzynie nad Odrą.
Koło Allegro, fot. Anna Migda
Festiwalowicz, fot. Anna Migda
Koncert, fot. Anna Migda
Duża Scena, fot. Anna Migda
Scena, fot. Anna Migda
24 Pol'and'Rock, fot. Anna Migda
Duża Scena, fot. Lucyna Lewandowska
What makes us proud?
- Out of all organisations, which receive support via 1% tax transfer, we are the first to submit a full report of the donations made in our name.
- We used the funds from 1% charitable tax transfer to purchase 220 AEDs, which are now available in various public spaces in the country.
- We submit an extensive financial report after each fundraiser.
- We have raised over one billion for equipment for Polish public hospitals.
- Up to now, we have bought over 67 thousand pieces of modern medical equipment. To put this amount in perspective - it means that, statistically speaking, every day, there is a hospital somewhere in Poland, which receives 13 devices purchased with the funds raised during the Grand Finale.
- We have initiated and helped run eight medical initiatives and one educational programme, which are in action every day throughout the year. The programmes are active in hospitals and schools nationwide.
- Nearly all children born in Poland have their hearing screened within the framework of the Nationwide Programme for Newborn Hearing Screening. We have recently reached the mark of 5 million tests!
- Two hundred nineteen neonatology units across Poland have been equipped with 'Infant Flow' devices, which offer breathing support without harming the lungs of very young babies. It's the best result in Europe!
- We have helped to create 19 centres for treating retinopathy caused by premature birth.
- We have purchased 2978 personal insulin pumps for children, bringing Poland into the lead of countries where personal insulin treatment for diabetes is so readily available.
- We have purchased 1776 personal insulin pumps so that pregnant women with diabetes can enjoy a healthy pregnancy.
- We have been organising CPR courses since 2005, and over 5 300 people have learned first aid with us.
- There are almost 10 000 people who have joined the ranks of the Peace Patrol - the trainees have learned first aid and event management during the two-day course.
- 2004 marks the beginning of work of our Voluntary Services Centre in Szadowo-Młyn, where the future volunteers learn first aid, have team-building sessions and learn about mass-event security and organisation.
- The yearly Grand Finale fundraiser is organised by over 1700 local Collection Centres, which manage the public fundraiser and hold various cultural and sporting events locally. There are 120 thousand volunteers involved in the one-day charity event. Our volunteers are fundraising everywhere, where there is an active Polish community - from the USA to Japan!
- In 2003 we were honoured by two commemorative coins issued by the National Bank of Poland. The Polish National Post has issued commemorative stamps to celebrate the 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 17th, 20th, 21st, 23rd, and 24th Grand Finale. The commemorative stamps can be viewed on the website of the Polish National Post.
- To thank everyone who has been helping during the winter fundraiser, we organise the most massive free open-air festival in Europe - Pol'and'Rock Festival- which has been inspired by the ideals of peace, love, freedom, and friendship.
We aim to go far beyond supporting medicine in Poland, engaging in activities in different initiatives and platforms:
- In 1997 we organised 156 aid convoys, which brought supplies to flood-stricken regions of southern Poland.
- In 1999 we organised a medical convoy for Albanian refugees.
- In 2005 we purchased medical equipment for tsunami-stricken hospitals in Sri Lanka. We have supplied five hospitals with much-needed devices.
- In 2006 we supported Polish Firefighting Services.
- In 2010 we organised a 'Small Finale' themed 'Stop Floods!'. The funds were raised in aid of Polish Voluntary Firefighting Services enabling us to equip 564 units.
- In 2012 we donated 100 'Braille typewriters' for blind pupils from Kibeho school in Rwanda.
- In 2013 we organised the first Now! Go Online conference on implementation of new technologies and how online presence can shape the work of the third sector. In 2014 we invited Polish NGOs to attend meetings and seminars on NGOs and the digital world.
- In 2017 we have bought equipment for volunteer firefighters. We donated devices to 178 volunteer firefighting crews.
- In 2019 we launched our anti-hate and anti-bullying campaign with the nation’s Ombudsman.
- In 2020 we began our emergency initiative to support fight against COVID-19 pandemic. We donated equipment for nearly PLN 70,000,000.
- In 2021 we created an outdoor billboard campaign to announce the result of our fundraising initiative and to thank all medics for their work and commitment.
- In November 2021 we extended our support for the activists and medics working to help migrants at the border between Poland and Belarus by opening a Humanitarian Aid Point in Michałowo.
- In March 2022, the GOCC Foundation has teamed up with the Warsaw city council to establish a shelter for Ukrainians arriving at the Warsaw East railway station. We run the second aid point on the border crossing of Shegini, where many Ukrainian refugees were fleeing to Poland.
- In 2022, while announcing the result of the 30. Grand Finale Fundraiser in the spring, we presented a book “Mój pierwszy raz z WOŚP” [Eng. “My first time with the GOCC Foundation”] on the idea of helping created by the GOCC community.
Leadership and governance of the Foundation
The Founders' Assembly governs the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity Foundation. The Charter of the Foundation regulates the duties and responsibilities of the Assembly.
The Board of the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity Foundation is the executive body of the GOCC Foundation:
- Jerzy Owsiak - Chairman of the Board
- Bohdan Maruszewski - Deputy Chairman of the Board
- Lidia Niedźwiedzka-Owsiak - board member
- Piotr Burczyński - board member
The Council is the supervisory body of the Foundation:
- Fr. Arkadiusz Nowak
- doctor Irena Eris
- professor Bogumiła Milewska-Bobula
- professor Andrzej Budaj
- professor Michał Matysiak