In our series “5 Questions With,” we meet leaders from across the Global Citizen movement to learn more about them, their departments, and what inspires them to come to work each day. 

This week, we’re speaking to Eduard Taube, vice president of finance and shared services at Global Citizen, who oversees finance, IT, office administration, and relative reporting to all stakeholders. 

Since joining the organization in 2014, Eduard has played a key role in implementing the processes necessary to ensure Global Citizen is in compliance with legal requirements as well as innovative best business practices. Previously, he managed the accounting department for a microfinance-focused nonprofit called Women's World Banking.

We spoke to Eduard about transparency in financial processes, who funds the Global Citizen movement and where the money goes, and why diligently managing everything from corporate pledges and commitments to salaries is key in the fight to end extreme poverty. 

Thanks, Eduard, for your time today! Are you ready for your five questions? 


1. Global Citizen is obviously not a traditional non-profit organization. We don’t actively ask our community or the general public for monthly donations, but instead to lend their voice and their energy, and take action toward our mission to end extreme poverty. So, since the org isn’t funded by individuals donating money, who funds Global Citizen?

The vast majority of our funding comes from corporate partners and charitable foundations. Our global partners include Accenture, Cisco, Citi, Delta Airlines, Google, Lebashe, Procter & Gamble, and Verizon. 

2. And as a nonprofit, there are, of course, strict financial reporting protocols in place. What does that look like? Where are those financial records kept?

We have very stringent internal controls. We also get audited annually by BDO, an independent audit firm and one of the top auditing firms in the US. The firm audits all of our financials on a consolidated basis, which includes all of our international offices as well. And they also audit all of our processes and procedures to make sure that there are no material weaknesses. 

We’re glad to remain transparent with all financial reporting. All up-to-date financial reports can be found on our website, as well as channels like Charity Navigator and GuideStar.

Commitments announced as part of our festivals and on our platforms become subject to our accountability and reporting process, and our Impact team carefully tracks where that money goes and how it's used. 

3. And when those big commitments are made on Global Citizen’s platforms, like the Festival, from corporations or governments, or philanthropic organizations — and they are often these huge amounts of money — where does it go? Who decides?

Commitments announced as part of our festivals and on our platforms become subject to our accountability and reporting process, and our Impact team carefully tracks where that money goes and how it's used. 

This is how we hold commitment-makers accountable, ensuring all funding is disbursed and delivered to the beneficiaries directly — meaning our partners and organizations on the front lines of the fight against extreme poverty, and the world’s most vulnerable communities that they serve. We publish regular impact reports and provide regular updates on our website, too.

OK, so it doesn't come through your accounting books?

No, it does not touch us. We never see that money. 

4. But obviously there are operating costs to consider, and of course putting on massive live events like Global Citizen Festival must cost a lot. Wouldn’t it be more effective to just donate that money to people in need?

When you look at the numbers, the costs are minimal in comparison to the amplified impact of our campaigns. Through our events and through the way that we operate, we are able to magnify the investment we make into events like Global Citizen Festival sometimes 100 times over. 

So, on an event where we might spend, I don't know, $10 million, we could raise up to $1 billion worth of funds for organizations on the ground. Looking at it like an investment, the return on investment is astronomical. 

5. And what about staff salaries — how does that work? For example, who decides on Global Citizen’s CEO’s salary?

Like every other nonprofit, we are totally transparent with our salaries. Our key employees and executive team salaries can be found in our 990s [the annual IRS document that makes financial information about a nonprofit public] as well as the mechanism for Global Citizen’s CEO salary approval, so Hugh Evans’ salary, our President Liza Henshaw’s salary, and more.

Salaries are reviewed by our board of directors as well as using comparative surveys and benchmarked across industry standards, so that we are always in line with standard salaries for a nonprofit organization of our size. Executive salaries are also reviewed by an independent compensation consultant.

Thank you, Eduard — enjoy your afternoon! 

Thanks so much. Take care.


Defeat Poverty

5 Questions With: Eduard Taube on Financial Integrity & Transparency in the Fight to End Extreme Poverty