Global Citizen’s sole focus is to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030. But in 2020, with the growing spread of COVID-19, Global Citizen immediately realized that this virus would have a massive impact on the ability to reach that goal. Estimates have stated that the economic impact of COVID-19 could force an additional 71 million people into extreme poverty, and push those who are already struggling into a deeper hole. Global Citizen immediately pivoted their work to lead the global response. Within the first weeks of U.S. quarantine, Global Citizen worked around the clock to create “One World: Together at Home” to raise resources for frontline healthcare workers and the World Health Organization, and encourage American audiences to stay home.
In three weeks in April, at the beginning of the COVID-19 spread in the U.S., Global Citizen put together the “One World: Together at Home” television and digital broadcast special. Together the television and digital programs totaled eight hours of entertainment, all geared to the purpose of encouraging audiences to abide by social distancing precautions.
The special was hosted by Jimmy Fallon, Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel, and curated by Lady Gaga. It featured performances and appearances by the world’s biggest artists and celebrities including Alicia Keys, Amy Poehler, Andrea Bocelli, Awkwafina, Azza Karam, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, Billie Eilish, Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day, Burna Boy, Camila Cabello, Celine Dion, Chris Martin, David & Victoria Beckham, Eddie Vedder, Ellen DeGeneres, Elton John, FINNEAS, Idris and Sabrina Elba, J Balvin, Jennifer Lopez, John Legend, Kacey Musgraves, Keith Urban, Kerry Washington, Lang Lang, Lizzo, LL COOL J, Lupita Nyong'o, Maluma, Matthew McConaughey, Oprah Winfrey, Paul McCartney, Pharrell Williams, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Rabbi Dan Ain, Reverend A.R. Bernard, Sam Smith, Satpal Singh, Shah Rukh Khan, Shawn Mendes, Stevie Wonder, Taylor Swift, The Rolling Stones, and Usher.
As the first television special created during quarantine that featured artists performing in their homes, Global Citizen led the way for COVID-19 programming. The format of the “One World: Together at Home” special was quickly copied by others looking to reach the same audience, though few were able to garner the same global viewership. The special broke the Guinness Book of World Records for the highest number of musical acts to perform in a remote music festival - at 72 acts.
Given the economic hardship that so many communities were facing, Global Citizen chose not to frame the concert as a fundraiser. Even so, the “One World: Together at Home” special raised $127.9 million for frontline healthcare workers and the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 relief efforts from corporate and philanthropic partners. It even broke the record previously held by the iconic Live Aid concert in 1985 for most money raised by a remote music festival.
The “One World: Together at Home” special raised $127.9 million - $55.1 million of these funds went directly to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund and $72.8 million went to local and regional responders. World leaders, corporate partners and philanthropists announced their support for the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for WHO, powered by the UN Foundation, during the “One World: Together At Home” global broadcast event. Donations to the fund also supported the vaccine development alliance Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and UNICEF. The “Together At Home” effort also aided over 100 additional local and regional charities that received funds, including Education Cannot Wait, Direct Relief, Feeding America and United Way, among others. Changemakers, investors, and foundation leaders came together to contribute quickly to related efforts, like strengthening health care systems and investing in vaccine development.
“One World: Together at Home” attracted more than 300 million viewers globally, reached 180 countries, on 3 US broadcast networks, 20 cable networks, 56 international networks, and on over a dozen streaming platforms. The special resulted in 1 million new registrants on the Global Citizen website, and inspired 500,000 actions from Global Citizens around the world. The special also resulted in an increase of 900,000 new social media followers for Global Citizen, and created 4.9 million engagements online.