Today we have received amazing news from the European Parliament. The Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity Foundation has been awarded the esteemed European Citizen's Prize, which honours exceptional achievements of European citizens and organization.
The Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity Foundation is a public benefit organisation registered under the Polish law.
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 help run five nationwide medical programmes, which aim to systematically transform medicine in the country. The purpose of our educational programme is to introduce CPR lessons into primary schools nationwide. We work to raise awareness and improve health prevention in the entire country. The GOCC foundation's work is focused on supporting children's medicine and improving 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 concrete branch of medicine. The objective of each Grand Finale fundraiser is consulted with 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 lives of newborns and very young children
- Children's Nephrology
- Saving lives of children with birth defects
- Introducing modern methods of diagnosis and treatment in neonatology and paediatrics
- Children's oncology
- Providing equipment for an adequate and dignified care of the elderly patients
Apart from purchasing equipment for Polish hospitals we have initiated and finance five medical programmes. They are:
- Nationwide Programme for Early Cancer Diagnosis in Children
- Nationwide Programme for Newborn Hearing Screening
- Nationwide Programme for Prevention and Treatment of Retinopathy of Prematurity
- Nationwide Programme for Noninvasive Respiratory Support of Newborns - 'Infant Flow'
- Nationwide Programme for Personal Insulin Pump Treatment of Pregnant Women with Diabetes
- Nationwide Programme for Personal Insulin Pump Treatment of Children with Diabetes (not active anymore)
We also aim to introduce CPR and first aid lessons for children in primary schools across the country.
- CPR for schools Programme - We Teach to Save Lives
Come summer, we organise the largest, free open-air festival in Europe: Woodstock Festival Poland.
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 825 million PLN for equipment for Polish public hospitals.
- Up to now, we have bought 44 thousand pieces of modern medical equipment. To put this amount in a 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 6 medical initiatives and 1 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!
- 219 neonatology units across Poland have been equipped with 464 'Infant Flow' devices, which offer breathing support without harming 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 saved the eyesight of 8 187 prematurely born children!
- We have purchased 2978 personal insulin pumps for children, bringing Poland into the lead of countries where personal insulin treatment of diabetes is so readily available.
- We have purchased 890 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 have been honoured by two commemorative coins issued by the National Bank of Poland. The Polish National Post has issued commemorative stamps in order 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.
- In order to thank everyone who has been helping during the winter fundraiser, we organise the largest free open-air festival in Europe - Woodstock Festival Poland - 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 have organised 156 aid convoys, which brought supplies to flood-stricken regions of southern Poland.
- In 1999 we have organised a medical convoy for Albanian refugees.
- In 2005 we have purchased medical equipment for tsunami-stricken hospitals in Sri Lanka. We have supplied 5 hospitals with much-needed devices.
- In 2006 we have supported Polish Firefighting Services.
- In 2010 we have organised '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 have donated 100 'Braille typewriters' for blind pupils from Kibeho school in Rwanda.
- In 2013 we have organised 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 have invited Polish NGOs to attend meetings and seminars on NGOs and digital world.
Leadership and governance of the Foundation
The Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity Foundation is governed by the Founders' Assembly. Duties and responsibilities of the Assembly are regulated by the Charter of the Foundation.
The Board of Trustees is the executive body of the GOCC Foundation:
Jerzy Owsiak - Chairman of the Board of Trustees
Piotr Burczyński - Deputy Chairman of the Board of Trustees
Lidia Niedźwiedzka-Owsiak - Trustee
Bohdan Maruszewski - Trustee
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